House: Key Vote YES on Panama, Columbia and South Korea Free Trade Agreements

Dear FreedomWorks member,

As one of our million-plus FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote YES to ratify the three pending free trade agreements with Columbia (H.R. 3078), Panama (H.R. 3079), and South Korea (H.R. 3080).  Free trade is an indispensible part of free markets, the voluntary exchange of goods and services between consenting parties without government interference. Freer trade will allow Americans to reap the benefits of competition, which include more choices, better products, and lower prices. Moreover, lower trade barriers allow more specialization and a broader division of labor, making the global economy more efficient, productive, and prosperous. And most importantly, lower trade barriers decrease the amount of say the government has over who we interact with in the market place and decrease the amount they tax us for doing so.

Protectionist rhetoric has unfortunately increased during our current economic downturn, as it does during every downturn as politicians look for someone to blame. Make no mistake: free trade has always benefited the American economy. Protectionism only robs Americans of their income and their freedom of choice. The cost of trade tariffs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Rent-seeking companies are notorious for lobbying for protectionist measures such as tariffs, quotas and subsidies to limit their exposure to competition. The U.S. International Trade Commission has estimated that passing these long-delayed trade agreements would “increase U.S. exports by at least $13 billion” per year, and this increase in trade will create thousands of jobs at no cost to the American taxpayer. To help spur economic growth, we need to free the market by decreasing trade restrictions. 

The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once said “few measures that we could take would do more to promote the cause of freedom at home and abroad than complete free trade.” Free trade limits government interference in our lives and builds important bonds between the people of trading nations. To be certain, all three trade deals have their flaws.  This is an unavoidable result of pursuing freer trade through negotiations and “concessions” talks based on outdated mercantilist theories of economics. But they all move dramatically in the right direction and should be supported by anyone who supports free markets.

I urge you to call your representative and ask him or her to vote YES on these free trade agreements, H.R. 3078, 3079, and 3080. We will count their votes as KEY VOTES when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2011. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.


Matt Kibbe
President and CEO
[Click here to see a PDF version of this key vote notice.]