GTW needs to recognize FTAs are part of solution

In a recent op-ed in The Hill (“Facts Are Stubborn Things When It Comes to Trade, May 7) Global Trade Watch (GTW) wrongly accuses the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) of misrepresenting data showing the United States has a manufactured goods trade surplus with our free trade agreement (FTA) partners.

The facts are clear – the Commerce Department’s Export Fact Sheet from April 13 states, “With exports exceeding imports, the U.S. has a trade surplus in manufactured goods with its FTA partners. In just the first two months of 2010, the trade surplus in manufactured goods with our trade partners totaled $3.0 billion.”

As for the Peru agreement that GTW states is not growing? The same fact sheet says, “The U.S. trade surplus in manufactured goods with Peru has grown 173 percent in the first two months of 2010.”

GTW makes a severe miscalculation in their trade deficit calculation by subtracting re-exports from the export side of the trade balance and neglecting to subtract them from the import side. This miscalculation drastically overstates the U.S. manufactured goods trade deficit by $114 billion in 2009. According to the Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division and the International Trade Administration’s trade analysis office this method used by GTW is not a legitimate way to calculate the trade deficit.

But even GTW’s erroneous trade deficit calculations show that NAFTA and the other U.S. FTAs account for less than 10 percent of the U.S. manufactured goods deficit. It is wrong for GTW to keep saying 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since NAFTA, when more than 90 percent of the trade deficit is neither with NAFTA nor our other FTA partners.

GTW also wrongly dismisses the fact that the U.S. gained manufacturing jobs for almost a decade after NAFTA.  How does GTW explain that in the 15 years before NAFTA over 2 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost, while for nearly a decade after NAFTA 500,000 were gained?

It is time for GTW to recognize that FTAs are part of the trade solution, not part of the problem.

Washington, D.C.

We cannot allow Israel to embark on crime spree

From Carole C. Burnett

Thank you for publishing the op-ed piece written by Iara Lee (“End the blockade in Gaza” May 25) concerning the flotilla of boats carrying humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Gaza. You have done the right thing in publicizing this courageous effort. The more publicity there is, the more difficult it will be for the militarists of the current right-wing Israeli government to attack these boats. Israel’s massacre of 1,400 Gazans was an atrocity, and the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty (in international waters) was appalling. We cannot allow our spoiled child, Israel, to embark upon a crime spree in the Mediterranean.

Silver Spring, Md.