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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/22/18

Message to NYT Times: Growth in Our Trading Partners Is Good for the United States

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Dean Baker
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From Beat The Press

New York Times
New York Times
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The NYT ran a piece about a revised trade pact between the European Union and Mexico with the headline, "In a message to Trump, Europe and Mexico announce trade pact." The piece tells readers:

"...it sends a message to Mr. Trump that some of America's closest trading partners are moving ahead with deals of their own -- potentially leaving American exporters on the losing end in foreign markets."

This is not how this treaty would be viewed in standard economics. While some U.S. exporters may lose markets in Mexico's relatively small market, as a result of better treatment for EU exporters, other exporters would gain markets due to expanded growth in both regions. In addition, the U.S. should benefit insofar as increased trade between the EU and Mexico could lead to lower prices for items that we import from these countries.

This is how the same logic by which the United States gained from the formation of the European Common Market and later the EU. By making the region stronger economically, it became a more valuable trading partner. It is striking that the NYT apparently is so unfamiliar with basic economics.

It is also worth pointing out that the paper wrongly referred to the pact as a "free trade" agreement. Politicians like to call their deals "free trade" agreements because intellectual-types then think they have to support them. In reality, this pact includes the imposition of a number of regulatory measures that have nothing directly to do with free trade and enhanced patent, copyright, and related protections, which are explicitly protectionist.

The paper should not see it as its responsibility to help politicians promote their agenda by adopting their language. It would be more accurate -- and save space -- simply to refer to the pact as a "trade agreement."

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Dr. Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. (more...)
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