Free Trade at Low Tide

by Ramesh Ponnuru

From my new Bloomberg View column:

 In a speech two weeks ago, Senator John McCain delivered a blistering assessment of President Barack Obama’s trade policy.

“The United States has been sitting on the sidelines, and Asia is sprinting forward without us,” he said. “After four years, this administration still has not concluded or ratified a single free-trade agreement of its own making.”

McCain conceded that on Obama’s watch Congress passed three free-trade agreements made under President George W. Bush. But, he said, “Since 2003, China has secured nine FTAs in Asia and Latin America alone. It is negotiating five more, and it has four others under consideration.” Japan and India are seeking trade agreements, as well. “As of last year, one report found that Asian countries had concluded or were negotiating nearly 300 trade agreements — none of which included the United States of America.” He concluded that we, too, should pursue “an ambitious trade strategy in Asia.”

You can read the rest here.