TRADE AGREEMENTS A TOOL FOR PEACE & PROGRESS

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed at the end of last year writes the rules for global trade between 12 nations: Australia; Brunei; Canada; Chile; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Peru; Singapore; United States; Vietnam.

According to the Office of the President (https://ustr.gov/tpp/) The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, supporting more Made-in-America exports and higher-paying American jobs. By eliminating over 18,000 taxes—in the form of tariffs—that various countries put on Made-in-America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses can compete—and win—in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. With more than 80 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made-in-America goods and services and support American jobs.

However, we are in an election year and Politics is shaking the TPP and it seems that there is a crusade against Trade Agreement. It is very wrong.

Mercantilism dominated the trade policies of the major European powers for most of the sixteenth century through to the end of the eighteenth century. The scope was exchanged of products in a peaceful environment. Trade Agreement is our first foremost protection against armed conflicts and still should be seen this way.

Are they perfect? no but they are far better that regional conflicts to acquire products by force!

We all have heard the candidates’ rhetoric on the trade agreements: Mr. Donald Trump, blames free-trade deals for letting American companies ship jobs overseas. This argument created so much traction that forced Democratic rival, Mrs. Hillary Clinton to harden her stance on trade and Mrs. Clinton changed her position. She was used to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, but now says she opposes it.

The economic reality is substantially different. The economic stress many of us are facing today has been created by a new economic revolution triggered by automation, digital technology, speed of communication and the Internet that combined together are creating a vacuum in which traditional jobs have vanished in a very short period of time.

The Education system is ill-equipped to deal with it and has left many workers lacking the skills to operate modern machines or fit into the new Internet economy. Here I could list so many examples but I will ask my new secretary, Cortana* to tell you about it. I am certain that many of you are also employing her!
Robots and Digital Agents already operate many assembly lines, and it’s not just blue-collar jobs that are vulnerable to automation. Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that 45% of all activities people perform in the workplace can already be done by software or machines. It is like going to a store; who has never shopped on line?

It does not mean that everything will get automated but we just have to be ready and adapt to this new economic disruption in which we will see a lot of profession changes. Bank agencies will disappear in less than five years according to analysts like travel agent have been overtaken by the Expedia or Trivago or other Internet Travel services. What about Taxis when cars drive by themselves….

So blaming these changes on Trade Agreement is fundamentally wrong and inaccurate. What is wrong is the fact that we are not ready and our systems are taking longer to adjust.
The Internet revolution and the Digital technology, meanwhile, has brought us plenty of innovation that have improved our way of life: smartphones, the Internet and streaming video—It is progress.

Now it is the responsibility of our Political representatives to speed up the changes in Education and various Social Services to adapt faster to the new moving economy. Instead of fighting they should work together and get everybody to collaborate.

Finally, the concept of entering into Trade Agreement to oppose other sphere of influence is ill-conceived and I am really hopeful that soon China will be invited to the TPP and that China along with other partners will agree to behave so Trade Agreements do not show massive trade unbalanced with winners and losers.

If we do not resolve such unbalances, then we will continue to hear our politics criticized Trade Agreements that for centuries have been instruments of wealth redistribution and peace.

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* Cortana is Microsoft digital agent offered now on Windows operating system.

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