Multilateral trade negations are the best way to bring the benefits of trade liberalization to the most people people, but with the current Doha Round of talks stalled, the U.S. has turned to bilateral agreements, that while not perfect, still are helping the American economy. Heritage scholar Daniella Markheim documents their most recent benefits:
As of January 2008, the United States has 11 free trade agreements with 17 countries. Congress has approved FTAs with Israel; Canada and Mexico (NAFTA); Jordan; Singapore; Chile; Australia; Morocco; the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (DR–CAFTA); Bahrain; Oman; and, most recently, Peru.
While the agreements with Oman and Peru have not yet been fully implemented, the U.S. has already seen impressive results from the bilateral trade deals currently in force. In 2007, FTAs accounted for more than $1 trillion in two-way trade—about 34 percent of total U.S. global trade. Along with their economic benefits, the FTAs have strengthened the political relationships the U.S. shares with strategic allies around the world.
In the first year of the U.S.–Singapore FTA, America’s trade surplus with Singapore more than tripled, growing to $4.3 billion. Just four months after the U.S.–Australia FTA was implemented, America’s trade surplus with Australia grew by nearly 32 percent to more than $2 billion. Exports to Chile and Singapore expanded by $4 billion in the first year after these free trade agreements were implemented.