Head-to-head: Despite flaws, Free Trade Agreements have many benefits
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Head-to-head: Despite flaws, Free Trade Agreements have many benefits

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) increase economic openness between nations by doing things such as removing tariffs. FTAs have received a lot of attention on both sides of the 2016 elections. Candidates from both sides have hammered them because of the harm they’ve done to middle-class jobs or wages.

It would be foolish to say FTAs are without flaws. Most notably, FTAs help facilitate the global “race to the bottom.” However, just because there are problems with FTAs doesn’t mean we should completely abandon them. Instead, we need to create agreements that will maintain the openness of trade and also prevent the race to the bottom.

The race to the bottom could be slowed if the world can increase environmental policy standards and worker standards for nations involved in these agreements.

As long as there are places where corporations can find cheaper labor and more relaxed environmental restrictions, they will choose to do so.
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 Because of this, we need to raise the quality of working conditions and impose stricter environmental regulations worldwide.

If we do this, FTAs will be able to truly show their benefits.

FTAs break down borders and help establish relations between nations, moving us towards a more unified, borderless world. A more unified world is one that can achieve more than a divided world.

No “big” problem can be solved in the world by the United States alone. By forming these initial connections with countries, the United States is laying the foundation for solutions to “big” world-wide issues.

FTAs also create economic-interdependence between nations, which helps keep everyone in line. Nations will hesitate to be aggressive if their economy is dependent on a nation that would oppose the aggression.

As the situation is the South China Sea continues to escalate, don’t be surprised if we’re thankful that involved nations are too economically dependent on each other for things to go too far.

In 2016, FTAs have significant flaws. However, we shouldn’t let them prevent us from accessing the benefits of FTAs like increased openness and interdependence.