San Francisco Op-Ed Warns Against Fuzzy Math

Tim Robertson, Director of the California Fair Trade Coalition, had an op-ed in today’s San Francisco Chronicle pointing out the folly of looking at export projections while ignoring the import side of the equation:

The Obama administration’s trade policy has a huge flaw. It promotes exports but fails to address imports, which is a big mistake. This flaw is highlighted by Undersecretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez’s image of “trucks traveling down the (Highway) 101 loaded with everything from produce to electronics,” as it neglects the job-killing side on trade….

Efforts to increase exports create net job growth only if they are accompanied by decreases in imports. Sanchez mentions that the South Korea free trade agreement will increase exports, but fails to mention that, according the U.S. International Trade Commission, imports will grow faster, increasing our nearly $500 billion trade deficit. The president and administration officials have often claimed export increases from the South Korea pact will support 70,000 jobs, which is true. Unfortunately, when including imports, the Economic Policy Institute predicts a net loss of 159,000 U.S. jobs.

Read the complete piece here.