- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hillary Rodham Clinton, secretary of state, in November’s Foreign Policy magazine:

“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology. Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia. Strategically, maintaining peace and security across the Asia-Pacific is increasingly crucial to global progress, whether through defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, or ensuring transparency in the military activities of the region’s key players. … Our alliance with South Korea has become stronger and more operationally integrated, and we continue to develop our combined capabilities to deter and respond to North Korean provocations. We have agreed on a plan to ensure successful transition of operational control during wartime and anticipate successful passage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. And our alliance has gone global, through our work together in the G-20 and the Nuclear Security Summit and through our common efforts in Haiti and Afghanistan.”

William R. Rhodes, chairman of the U.S.-Korea Business Council, in the Hill:

“Though passage of KORUS is critical, the current momentum on trade must not be misconstrued as the finish line for trade in Asia. Let’s make this agreement the dawn of a new era for U.S. engagement in the region. Next month the United States will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to host the [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] Summit in Honolulu, bringing together the leaders of 21 Asia Pacific economies. While there, the United States and eight other APEC members will also seek to make meaningful progress in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru and Brunei, promises to be a 21st century standard accord that has the potential to cement U.S. economic ties with Asia, and write the rules for trade investment across the region for decades to come.”

Ericka Andersen, blogger, at Heritage.org:

“The U.S. isn’t exactly a model of economic prosperity at the moment - and the world audience is keenly aware. Unfortunately, the president needlessly waited to move on these important bills while instead prioritizing a failed $787 billion stimulus, which caused the U.S. economy to plummet even deeper into severe debt. President Obama should understand that the best way for America to stay competitive and benefit within the world market is to remain committed to advancing free trade at every opportunity. We need to take every step we can to begin running that debt clock in the other direction. The [free trade agreements] have recently been held up by disagreements over the expansion of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, a policy created to provide benefits and services to workers who supposedly become displaced by free trade. The best way to help workers is by embracing policies like free trade that encourage private-sector growth and create new jobs, not by increasing government spending.”

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, in the Christian Science Monitor:

“For those of us who speak for hundreds of U.S. companies with thousands of workers and worldwide operations, these free trade agreements (or FTAs) are urgently needed. Despite a popular view that open trade kills American jobs, the particulars of these agreements show their benefits. … The South Korea agreement represents the most economically significant trade deal that the U.S. has embarked on since the North American Free Trade Agreement. All told, the South Korea FTA is expected to increase US exports by $11 billion, spur economic growth by nearly $12 billion, and support at least 70,000 American jobs. At a time when the world economy has been stagnant, South Korea’s economic growth exceeded 6 percent last year, making it the world’s 15th largest economy.”

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