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Obama Has Negotiated Zero Free Trade Deals

by Keith Koffler on May 10, 2012, 9:48 am

President Obama has not negotiated a single free trade agreement during his term as president, ignoring one of the best engines of job growth even as he claims that jobs are his biggest priority.

Instead, Obama has actually hindered free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea negotiated by George W. Bush but not approved by Congress during Bush’s presidency, acceding to labor’s wishes that he renegotiate the deals before sending them to Capitol Hill. The Colombia and South Korea deals, along with another Bush-negotiated agreement with Panama, were not submitted to Congress until October 2011, when they were finally ratified.

Obama and USTR Ron Kirk (seated) share a laugh over the fact that the United States has no trade policy

The failure to negotiate free trade deals is clearly U.S. policy. Instead of being fired, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk remains close to the president, anointed as the only senior Obama aide allowed to golf regularly with the president – most recently on April 29.

Bush negotiated 11 free trade agreements, including the Colombia, Korea and Panama deals as well as agreements with Chile, Australia, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Singapore, and a joint arrangement with the other Central American countries.

Bill Clinton was far more aggressive on trade than Obama. He negotiated the historic and politically risky North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, as well as a free trade agreement with Jordan. He also opened up the China market by negotiating a Sino-U.S. deal for permanent normal trade relations and spent his final year in office jamming it through Congress.

Free trade agreements generally help boost U.S. employment, particularly in manufacturing, because they knock down high tariffs and other trade barriers in other countries. The United States often has to do less to on its end because our trade barriers are usually already low.

But unions oppose free trade because it opens up the U.S. market to cheaper goods made by lower-wage, often non-union workers overseas who become competitors with higher-priced U.S. union labor.

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Just2old May 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

Pandering to the unions instead of improving the economy. Says one thing and does the opposite. Well, at least he got his golf buddy a job.

DeniseVB May 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

Well there ya go, the unions oppose……….

Susan May 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

Well he’s not too hep on free enterprise so I’m not really surprised. My biggest concern is what a lame duck _resident and Congress will do to enslave us to the UN.

The Senate Republicans need to make a commitment to block ratification of any treaties until the people have spoken about the direction they want this country to take. That little troll Lugar is co-sponsor of the Law of the Sea Treaty that sells out America’s sovereignty to the UN. The treaty is scheduled to come up for ratification in June. I wouldn’t put it past Lugar to stick it to the people for voting him out of office. No laws or treaties they pass will improve our situation within the next 6 months so just cease and desist with the legislation…

Anonna May 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

Put Mexican truck drivers on US Highways, cutting down jobs for American truckers.
Created a program in which US taxpayers pay for Mexican-owned trucks to be brought up to US environmental standards.
Given US businesses a reason to put Spanish on their packaging, thus easing life for the bulk of illegal aliens and the “We don’t care to speak English” LaRaza-OurRace crowd.

Are free trade agreements always beneficial? I’m not praisining Obama for neglecting this issue, but wondering if like a blind pig he might have found a nut in this instance.

Owen Kellogg May 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

Negotiating a free trade deal would require leadership, which is a quality that Obama clearly lacks.

Wigglesworth May 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

I like free trade agreements as long as everyone is playing by the rules and there aren’t any insidious loopholes or give-aways in the agreement.

Lizzy May 10, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hard to squeeze in negotiating when you are far to busy fundraising and having lavish parties and vacations. I mean tonight it’s dinner $40,000 at
George Clooney’s house really people get your priorities straight it’s me first
last and always!

gracepmc May 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

Who knew America could be bought by such a con man and at a fairly cheap price too.

Girly1 May 10, 2012 at 11:47 am

After reading that Ron Kirk is the “only senior Obama aide ALLOWED to play golf regularly with the President”, a little sleuthing produced this timely little tidbit.


I think it’s safe to measure the worth of the man (Obama) by the company he keeps on the golf course! Kirk joins the elite golfing quartet along side Marvin Nicholson, ex-bartender/caddy…and Bobby Titcomb – Obama’s old pal from Hawaii who was recently convicted of soliciting a prostitute.

Susan May 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Good catch Girly1. Guess that promised transparency was just another lie among the numerous other lies the evolver in chief and his fellow travelers have told… What a collection of crooks we have running this country…

Robin H May 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Obama couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. He has no leadership qualities at all. He’s a panderer. Actually, we should call him the Panda president, he is black and white…

Sadie May 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Remember the old joke, what’s black and white and red all over. Today, it’s our very own “red diaper baby” (and sadly, the papers too).

Jack May 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Sadie May 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Why bother with free trade when you can give away the bank.

Yesterday’s Drudge headline: Fed clears China’s first US bank takeover…

“This unprecedented acquisition of a controlling stake in a US commercial bank by a mainland bank is strategically significant,” Xinhua quoted ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing as saying.
In other Fed board decisions, Bank of China, the third-largest bank, won approval for a branch in Chicago. Bank of China operates two insured federal branches in New York City and an uninsured branch in Los Angeles.

Girly1 May 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

How fitting that the Chinese have opened a branch in Chicago – headquarters for the Obama crime syndcate! With assets of $2.4 TRILLION, the Bank of China dwarfs B of A with it’s assets of $2.5 BILLION! The acquisition should make it more convenient for the Obama/Geithner gang to borrow more $$$ to redistribute to the deadbeats. It might also be a good place for Obama to launder his ‘book sale’ $$ loot!

Barry August 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm
Gary Price September 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm