U.S. Chamber of Commerce Betrays Its Membership



President Obama finally makes one small foreign trade policy move in support of American business and workers, imposing tariffs on Chinese tires in an attempt to prevent the complete collapse of the American tire industry, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is all over him.  As reported in the above-linked Reuters article,the Chamber takes Obama to task not just for the tire tariffs, but for keeping Mexican trucks off our roads and for not rubber-stamping free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. 

In every case, the Chamber has sided with foreign countries eager for access to the American market, all in the belief that we are missing out on huge increases in American exports.  This, in spite of the fact that our trade results for the past three decades have proven that free trade with overpopulated nations only erodes business for American companies by surrendering our domestic market in greater measure than is ever recovered with exports.  It boggles my mind that, when it comes to trade, American economists, business leaders and organizations see no value to our domestic market, eager to give it away, while every other nation on earth salivates at the opportunity to sell their products here.

“A major surge in exports is our best path out of a recession, out of double-digit unemployment and the exploding deficits we’re now experiencing,” Donohue (Chamber President) said.

The emphasis is always on exports, never accounting for imports.  The Chamber would have us believe that only exports create sales opportunities for American businesses, and that no business is lost to imports.  Such inability to perform the most simple math stretches credulity, and one can’t help but believe there’s something more sinister going on here – that perhaps the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become a puppet of foreign countries eager to prey on the American market.  There’s simply no other explanation. 

In fact, the article offers some confirmation that that is exactly what’s going on here, with the Chamber’s position formulated by an international trade consulting firm :

Trade Partnership Worldwide, an economic consulting firm that specializes in estimating the impact of trade policies, prepared the report for the business group.

Throughout the article, the Chamber wrings its hands over the potential for others to cut off imports from America in response to any move by the U.S. to preserve domestic market for our own manufacturers.  Never does it consider that we too could retaliate out of proportion and cut off even more of their imports.  Do they not understand that, in this game of tit-for-tat, the nation with the huge trade deficit – the U.S. – holds all the cards? 

A trade war in manufactured goods is nothing to fear.  We can just as easily manufacture any and every product here as anywhere else.  And, while a trade war in natural resources certainly would be something for the U.S. to fear, it’s no coincidence that we don’t rely on the same nations who prey upon our markets for manufacturing jobs as a source for our natural resources. 

The exclusive use of unfettered free trade is stupid trade policy, as proven by thirty-three years of consecutive trade deficits.  The backing of such policy by a powerful and prestigious organization like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t confer legitimacy upon it.  Rather, it only makes the Chamber look stupid as well.  The hard-earned money spent by member companies for the purported benefits of this organization would be far better spent with other organizations who understand the value of balance  in trade deals and who demand that others buy as much from us as we buy from them.

4 Responses to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Betrays Its Membership

  1. Mark A. Hall says:

    A quote from Forest Gump.

    “Stupid Is As Stupid Does”

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce needs to understand that if we don’t have balanced trade, our resulting deficits could cause a severe recession.


  2. […] original here:  U.S. Chamber of Commerce Betrays Its Membership « “Five Short … By admin | category: consulting firm | tags: 66-4-million, chamber, its-revenue, […]

  3. Mark A. Hall says:

    A recent article published in the September 18, 2009 edition of The New York Times caught my attention.

    The article entitled “Recovery Picks Up in China as U.S. Still Ails”.

    Statements included in this article are as follows:

    1.) “The image of laid-off workers here returning to jobs stands in sharp contrast to the United States”.

    2.) “No one here is talking about a jobless recovery”.

    3.) “Broad government support for exports”.

    4.) “The country’s economy surged at an annualized rate of 14.9 percent in the second quarter. The United States economy shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent in that period”.

    5.) “China needs the United States to buy its goods, and the United States needs China to continue to buy its debt”.

    6.) “Beijing also has given huge tax breaks and other assistance to exporters. They include placing broad restrictions on imports and intervening heavily in currency markets to hold down the value of the renminbi, to keep Chinese exports competitive”.

    Since our federal government is the ultimate purveyor of U.S. trade policy and allowed trade practices, why does it continue to allow countries such as China to engage in unfair trade practices that have resulted in the U.S. losing millions of jobs and going deeper into debt?

    As a “free” nation and as a member of the WTO, we have the “RIGHT” to implement or enforce “fair and balanced” trade policies.


    • Pete Murphy says:

      Mark, it’s being a member of the WTO that’s part of the problem. Many of the unfair trade practices you’ve cited are actually sanctioned by the WTO, an organization that talks a lot about free trade but actually enforces tariffs in favor of two thirds of its member states, including China but not including the U.S.

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