No Trade Deal for Obama at Economic Summit – Updated


Chalk off another failure of President Obama. It looks like all the money spent for this trip was for naught.

The presidents of the U.S. and South Korea were unable to overcome disputes over cars, cattle and domestic politics, potentially killing the biggest bilateral trade deal the U.S. has taken up in more than a decade.

The failure to resolve issues by Barack Obama’s self-imposed deadline was a blow to the president, who has put export growth at the center of his jobs agenda and had invested political capital in getting a deal by the Group of 20 summit in Seoul.

A U.S. trade official said working-level staff from both sides will meet Friday. But chances for a deal look dim given opposition Mr. Obama faces from Ford Motor Co., labor unions and Democratic lawmakers.

Labor leaders and some powerful politicians from both parties praised Mr. Obama for not going ahead with a deal they characterized as bad for U.S. workers. “President Obama is exactly right in holding out for a deal that puts working people’s interests first,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Opening up trade would be the perfect way to shine a light on the current job killing regulations imposed on US businesses. It also may bring some much needed attention to the impending EPA regulations that will make matters even worse.

Others don’t share EPA’s sunny outlook about the consequences of imposing this new standard, which lowers permissible greenhouse gases from the current level of 75 million parts per billion to 60 million parts per billion. Achieving that level of reduction in greenhouse gases won’t be easy or cheap. This immense new burden on the private sector comes at precisely the wrong time for an economy still struggling to create new jobs and reduce near double-digit unemployment. One of the skeptics is University of Mississippi professor William Shughart II, whose op-ed elsewhere in Friday’s Examiner notes that many jurisdictions across the country can’t meet the present greenhouse gas standard, much less reach the lower threshold anytime soon. “If a county or city is not in compliance, its economy won’t be able to grow, so the EPA’s proposal would spell economic stagnation for many communities,” Shughart contends.

Without the proper pollution permits, existing facilities and new construction projects across the country either will grind to a halt or never get started. The cost estimates are indeed staggering, according to an econometric study by the Manufacturers Alliance that projects more than 7.3 million lost jobs by 2020. The hardest-hit states include Texas, which would lose 1.7 million jobs, and Louisiana, with 938,000 positions lost. Others include California (846,000), Illinois (396,000) and Pennsylvania (351,000). Total losses would reduce the nation’s gross domestic product by $1.7 trillion, according to the Manufacturers Alliance. Asked about such estimates, EPA’s Gina McCarthy rejected them, claiming, “This is pretty much business as usual” for EPA. No wonder critics claim EPA really stands for Employment Prevention Agency.

Other countries don’t have an EPA killing off jobs and companies like we do. If you think trade and exporting is tough now, just wait! (Not to mention the unions and labor costs driving up the costs of goods produced in the US.)

Update: Well – isn’t this ironic. South Korea’s cars and trucks are too green for Obama and his friends. LOL!

Here’s the punch line: U.S. automakers, their unions, and their allies in government — including most Democrats and Barack Obama — think Korea’s fuel-economy and environmental standards are too high. They are arguing that these standards act as a non-tariff barrier to cars and trucks made in U.S. factories, because, gosh darn it, we just don’t make cars and trucks that clean and green over here.

Americans who favor free trade abroad and less regulation at home are left to scratch our heads: Should we be angry because Obama is holding up a market-opening agreement over such an obvious red herring? It’s the only excuse he has for wanting an even more one-sided deal for the Detroit automakers, who want the car tariff to be phased out gradually, like the truck tariff. Or should we be popping champagne corks because Obama has finally found an environmental regulation he doesn’t like?

But this part isn’t funny: The US Chamber of Commerce says Obama’s failure to secure a trade deal could cost quite a few American jobs.

The U.S. Chamber said earlier that failure to implement KORUS while trading partners like the E.U. and Canada went forward with their agreements with Seoul “would lead to a decline of $35.1 billion in U.S. exports of goods and services to the world and U.S. national output failing to grow by $40.4 billion.”

“We estimate that the total net negative impact on U.S. employment from these trade and output losses would total 345,017 jobs.”

Donohue said Thursday the organization was ready to explain the benefits of KORUS to the American people and help move it through Congress.

“The sooner we get this deal done, the sooner it will start creating new American jobs.”

Well, if it will create jobs here at home, don’t count on Obama to get it done.

Reaganite Republican linked!