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Maximize Trade Agreements

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman
Committee on Ways and Means
United States House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Camp:

Good luck with the hearings your committee will hold on February 9 on trade agreements between the U.S. government and other governments.  Any and all reductions of trade barriers are economically beneficial and morally justified.

I ask you and your Congressional colleagues, however, to keep in mind the following fact: successful and productive trade negotiations occur millions of times daily, without any government involvement.  American companies daily negotiate with foreign input-suppliers; they trade whenever the terms are mutually agreeable and don’t trade when the terms aren’t.  American consumers daily negotiate with foreign consumer-goods suppliers; they trade whenever the terms are mutually agreeable and don’t trade when the terms are not.

These trade negotiations are identical to the millions of other trade negotiations that take place daily between American companies and American input suppliers, and between American consumers and American consumer-goods suppliers.  In every instance, every party to these trades is made better off as each person judges for himself or herself at the times each of these countless trade agreements are struck.  The fact that some of these negotiations and agreements are with people living in different political jurisdictions is utterly economically irrelevant.

Each of us is capable of negotiating our own personal trade agreements – we do so successfully every day – and are harmfully obstructed in our negotiations by Uncle Sam’s tariffs and other trade barriers, some of which will be the subject of your Feb. 9 hearings.

Donald J. Boudreaux