The Obama Administration recently made its strongest statement yet in support of free trade agreements. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the challenges of implementing trade agreements:
It does mean you have to take on entrenched interests and respond to concerns about new competition, while making the case over and over again as to why the people in your country will benefit from expanded trade. I know this is difficult. Although I am out of politics now, I understand how hard it is to tell a longtime supporter something he doesn’t want to hear. But sometimes it is the right and important thing to do.
Secretary Clinton told political leaders that expanding trade “is one of the best ways to promote growth, to put more paychecks into more pockets.”
Unfortunately for Americans, Secretary Clinton was not talking to U.S. leaders about pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea but to African leaders about a proposed Grand Free Trade Area that would cover even more people than the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Secretary Clinton is right: Free trade is one of the best ways to promote growth and put more paychecks in more pockets both in Africa and in the United States. That’s why the Obama Administration should push for fast approval of all three pending trade agreements.