Is It "Free Trade" or Something Else? "Free Trade" Agreements Are Composed of Large Numbers of All-Encompassing Regulations. Do Such Tight Controls Really Make Trade "Free," and Are They in America's Best Interests?

By McManus, John F. | The New American, October 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Is It "Free Trade" or Something Else? "Free Trade" Agreements Are Composed of Large Numbers of All-Encompassing Regulations. Do Such Tight Controls Really Make Trade "Free," and Are They in America's Best Interests?


McManus, John F., The New American


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When appended to trade, the word "free" brings to mind unencumbered transactions. The term has been applied to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), and other so-called free-trade pacts that the United States has signed. Almost completely ignored in commentary about these "free trade" agreements is the revealing fact that, while the measures carry the label "free," they are book-length and chock full of mandates governing the exchange of goods. The NAFTA agreement alone fills over 1,700 pages. If buyers and sellers have to submit to such a massive array of regulations as those found in NAFTA, using the word "free" in the name of this or any similar trade agreement is deliberately misleading.

In fact, NAFTA and other trade agreements like it are polar opposites of genuine free trade. Moreover, free trade is impossible to achieve unless certain conditions are met.

Lewis E. Lloyd's 1955 book, Tariffs: The Case For Protection, contained a chapter entitled "Free Trade and the Real World." He listed eight assumptions that would have to be realized if free trade could exist. The first is that taxes must be similar. If only one country's producers are burdened with heavy taxation, then the element of fairness doesn't exist.

Similarly, because unnatural advantages can be achieved through currency manipulation, there would be a need for a single monetary system. Then, business laws and business ethics would have to be harmonized. Wage rates among the trading partners would also have to be similar. If freedom were to exist in the international marketplace, Lloyd claimed, migration of workers would have to be allowed. And add to all of this the need to be assured that there would be no military action taken by one nation against any others--a virtual impossibility. Though he never used the term, Lloyd was suggesting what has more recently come to be known as a "level playing field."

To create these conditions on a worldwide basis, there would have to be global governance--all nations answering to one ruling body, a body with the military power to back up its will. In simple terms, there would be a need for world government.

It becomes obvious that this kind of "free trade" is not in the best interests of Americans who value our unique American liberties under the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, most business leaders prefer that their transactions involve "fair" trade. Yet in November 1993, though NAFTA did not represent fair trade, the House and Senate approved U.S. entry into this pact, and President Clinton signed the measure into law on December 8, 1993.

NAFTA Never Meant to Keep Promises

NAFTA was sold to Congress and the American people with fervent promises that it would stimulate commerce with our neighbor nations, and also that it would create American jobs, curtail illegal immigration, and have no harmful impact on U.S. independence. But the promises were not kept, as millions lost jobs, factories closed, illegal immigration continued, and NAFTA's judicial panels trumped U.S. court decisions. Yet our political elitists continue to push for new trade agreements similar to NAFTA, and they are doing it for a reason other than helping Americans.

Some internationalist heavyweights did indicate the purpose of the pacts. In the October 1, 1993 edition of the Wall Street Journal, for instance, David Rockefeller (who hardly ever authors a newspaper column) wrote an article wherein he called for "winning the support of the American people, the administration and Congress for NAFTA" because it was needed "to build a true 'new world' in the Western Hemisphere."

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Simply put, globalist-minded elitists like Rockefeller have been hard at work to make fundamental changes in how our country is governed. …

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