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Does Historic Trade Pact Stand to Benefit Manufacturers?

Posted by Jeff Moad on Oct 6, 2015

Flags_sm.jpgThis week’s news that the United States and 11 of its trading partners have preliminarily agreed to terms of a long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement set off predictable comparison’s with NAFTA, the still-controversial North-American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that went into effect in 1994.

Critics of the TPP contend that reducing tariffs on trade with 11 additional Pacific Rim countries—including Japan, Australia, Canada, and Chile—will lead to new rounds of manufacturing job losses as well as other problems such as compromised intellectual property and legal protections. Labor unions and other NAFTA critics contend that that trade deal 21 years ago resulted in the loss of 700,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Certainly the impact of NAFTA on the U.S. manufacturing sector is open for debate. Trade of manufactured goods between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada soared in the years after the deal, and as a result of tariff-reductions and other trade-friendly provisions, many manufacturers were able to construct healthy, global supply chains.

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