Blog: Take It From Me: Obama's Failed on Trade

Statement

By:  Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Date: Aug. 22, 2011
Location: Unknown

Over the past few weeks, I've noted with interest that once again the President has been advocating free trade agreements as a key pillar of his absent job creation "plan." But this is another example where the President's record fails to match his rhetoric. In fact, after 2.5 years in office the President still hasn't even submitted the free trade agreements to Congress.

From the day of his inauguration, President Obama has unnecessarily delayed America's recovery by stifling critical negotiated trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which his own Administration acknowledges would boost the nation's exports by more than $10 billion and create tens of thousands of American jobs.

The President delivers fantastic speeches on free trade in the abstract, saying in last year's State of the Union address that "we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores" if Washington fails to act. But the fierce urgency of the President's free trade pitch must have been lost, because for the last 2.5 years he has refused to submit the deals for legislative approval unless the measures were coupled with expanded funding for a union-backed entitlement program.

This is unacceptable.

As a twice-former diplomat, U.S. trade official and business executive, I've witnessed firsthand the tremendous economic opportunities of free trade. To say nothing of the nearly 18 million American jobs existing agreements already support, establishing new lines of trade with prospective international partners represents an enormous well of untapped political and economic goodwill.

Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside our borders, and with the United States party to only17 of the more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, opening markets and expanding a customer base for American business should be a commonsense tool to spark immediate growth.

Other nations continue to reap the benefits of America's failure to act. The European Union last month finalized a trade deal with South Korea, and have subsequently seen exports rocket 16 percent. Canada's trade deal with Colombia went into effect just last week. The result is jobs that should be coming to the U.S. going to Canada and Europe.

"Made in America" once meant something, but it now only serves as a reminder of the shuttered factories that litter our nation's landscape. The out-of-business and foreclosure signs that stretch from California to Florida are monuments to President Obama's failed leadership.

America needs an experienced leader with serious solutions; a leader who offers more results above rhetoric. One who has the will to put typical Washington politics aside and find long-term solutions that will turn our economy around.

I'm ready to do that. And you better believe it wouldn't take a President Huntsman 2.5 years to pass a free trade agreement.