Pushing Back on Anti-Trade Rhetoric: Facts, Not Myths, Should Inform Policy Positions

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NAFTANEXT's “Telling Both Sides of the Trade Story” Point/Counterpoint Helps Rebalance Conversation on America’s Trade Policies

As the Presidential campaign season enters its final days, the NAFTANEXT initiative today issued a point-counterpoint, offering fact-based research to highlight and checkmate inaccurate trade-related assertions made by the candidates. According to Pew Research, trade is a top 10 issue facing voters as they decide the next commander in chief. Both parties have failed a “common sense” test by allowing anti-trade myths and inventions to dictate their policy positions. As part of an on-going Twitter information campaign by NAFTANEXT, “Telling Both Sides of the Trade Story” (url: http://www.naftanext.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Point-Counterpoint.pdf?f1f49c) illustrates the importance of elevating the facts about impacts of trade agreements and the need to rebalance the national conversation on trade.

“Average people have trouble appreciating the many positive ways trade impacts their lives. Trade’s important to the economy, but the public’s concern for loss of jobs, globalization and technology advancements makes free trade an easy, if inaccurate, target for their anxieties,” stated Dan Glickman, former Representative (D-KS), U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and current Executive Director at the Aspen Institute. “It’s essential to get average people to understand how trade is important to them. The political class needs to address that much more directly than we’ve done in the past.”

While America’s trade policies merit scrutiny to ensure domestic economic success, NAFTA – and free trade in general – have become scapegoats in race to the bottom arguments advanced by protectionist advocates and politicians. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. accounts for only 5 percent of the global population, while 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our border and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses who are responsible for two-thirds of all private sector jobs created, yet only 5 percent of U.S. businesses currently export goods. This leaves vast untapped potential for small businesses to increase revenues and support jobs by exporting the goods and services that U.S. workers create.

“Over the last twenty years, new technologies have replaced human production in many industry sectors, from manufacturing to agriculture and beyond, yet many people are ready to believe that trade is responsible for all the jobs that have disappeared during this time,” said Tiffany Melvin, president of the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO). “Also, when politicians attack trade agreements, they fail to recognize the security and stability we gain from trade deals, which, like NAFTA, allow our trading partners to become loyal, stable allies. In a troubled world, our leaders should not under-value this important foreign policy asset.”

“Telling Both Sides of the Trade Story” was produced by NAFTANEXT with support from the Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC) and the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO).

“Free trade needs clear voices to serve as an alternative to the negative diatribes and misinformation that has saturated much of the trade agreement debate in the 20 years since the passage of NAFTA,” said Leslie Blakey, a Founding Director of NAFTANEXT. “NAFTANEXT aspires to be a fact checker and source of truth, promoting articles and organizations dedicated to telling the full story behind trade.”

To join our conversation on Twitter, follow us (@NAFTANEXT) and use the hashtag #TradeTruth2016. For general inquiries regarding NAFTANEXT, please contact Jeff Agnew at jagnew(at)blakey-agnew.com or (202) 828-9100.

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The mission of NAFTANEXT is to raise public awareness of the benefits of trade in North America while mitigating the spurious claims that have proliferated unchecked since the implementation of NAFTA. NAFTANEXT aims to synthesize various sources of insight and support for trade agreements and publicize those sources to bring attention to the past, present and future value of both our tri-national North American relationship and trade generally. For more information on NAFTANEXT, please visit http://www.naftanext.com

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Jeff Agnew