U.S. free trade agreement sparks shipping debate

By Freddie Pierce
Huge news came out of the international shipping market today, as it was announced that the U.S. Congress approved free-trade agreements with South Kor...

Huge news came out of the international shipping market today, as it was announced that the U.S. Congress approved free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The agreement is expected to be a huge boon for exporters and logistics companies.

Global supply chain management companies like FedEx and UPS, who are expected to see an increase on sales all over the world stemming from the free-trade agreement. While the long-term benefits of the agreement are positive, some people doubt the short-term benefits, namely unemployment targets.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects 250,000 new jobs to be created, and 380,000 more saved in the United States. About 13.5 million people are currently unemployed in the U.S.

“It’s not a huge deal,” economist Donald Ratajczak told CommercialAppeal.com. “It’s much smaller than (the North American Free Trade Agreement) was. But the South Korea relations in particular are the biggest of the three and important to FedEx.”

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South Korea is the largest economy among the three nations involved, and had previously signed a similar deal with the European Union. The U.S. agreement would reduce taxes on both imports and exports from South Korea to keep the U.S. in position to compete with the European market.

Those opposed to the deal worry about the effects local manufacturers will suffer.

“In the last 10 years alone we have lost 50,000 factories, and it is harder and harder to buy products manufactured in the United States,” I-Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders said.

“These new trade agreements are nothing more than a continuation of a failed trade policy and should be rejected. Our demand must be that corporations reinvest in this country, create jobs here and not in China or other low-wage countries.”

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