Statement by CEI Expert on Why Trade Deals Got a Bad Reputation

In response to President Trump’s plans to sign an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Competitive Enterprise Institute expert Iain Murray offered the following statements on where trade deals went awry and what they should really be focused on, instead.

Statement by Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute vice president for strategy:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an example of why free trade came to have such a bad reputation with the American public. Rather than a simple agreement to lower tariffs for mutual benefit, it morphed into a massive international regulatory regime over 5000 pages long. It was weighed down by numerous non-trade provisions aimed at appeasing non-trade special interests. To be sure, there may be worthy environmental and labor issues worth addressing through international agreements, but these should be considered in separate treaties and have no business being part of trade negotiations.

This way of approaching free trade has to stop. We look forward to the new administration agreeing trade deals with countries as diverse as Australia and Vietnam that encourage employment and enterprise, rather than hindering them. One way they can do this is by mutual recognition agreements rather than regulatory harmonization. In particular, we look forward to very strong agreements between the world’s most free economies and the beginning of a Global Free Trade Association that would be a beacon to other countries to free up their economies in order to join it.

Related: Iain Murray’s speech about TPP before a CPAC audience