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Trade is Not to Blame for American Job Loss

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Trade is Not to Blame for American Job Loss

John Hardin
John Hardin

Those opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement say trade deals like this cost jobs in America. But the facts do not back that up. When managing plants in Indiana, Ohio, and other Midwestern states close and relocate their operations to Mexico or China, trade deals like TPP and NAFTA get the blame. But the actual figures do not back up that claim, according to John Hardin, Indiana farmer and member of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “For every three jobs that are lost to foreign trade competition, 7 jobs are lost to automation. I don’t think we are properly analyzing the problem,” he states.

Hardin, who has been an advisor to several Presidents on trade issues and has participated in international trade negotiations, says the anti-trade rhetoric being heard today could actually cost even more American jobs, “The penalties that American agriculture would suffer, along with those high-paying, export-competitive jobs would suffer, if we don’t have these kind of free trade deals are significant.”  TPP gives U.S. exporters, both agriculture and manufacturers, far greater access to Asian markets which would increase job creation here at home.

Hardin feels the only chance for TPP to be passed is if it comes up in the lame duck session of Congress. But, Congressional leaders say they do not intend to bring the trade deal to the floor during the post-election session.

President Obama, upon returning from his trip to China, pledged to push hard for TPP approval. Sen. John Thune, the #3 Republican in the Senate, said, if the President gets serious, TPP could get passed. “If we have that handful of 10 to 12 Democrats that normally vote for trade, and we can deliver most Republicans, it’s not outside the realm of possibility,” he added. “But I’d say the odds aren’t good.”

Both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have called the pact a bad deal and have pledged to kill it if elected president.  But even without these trade deals, American jobs will continue to be lost to automation and technical advancement.