Communicating the Benefits of Free Trade

Major unions were quick to criticize the proposed U.S.-South Korea free trade deal, complaining that the deal will drain manufacturing jobs and insisting that Congress nix the deal because it does not include worker protections.

What a shame!

Just a few weeks ago, a number of CEOs gathered to discuss their agenda for dealing with the sluggish economy and other key challenges in a Wall Street Journal CEO Council.  Their view was the need for “jobs, jobs, jobs” to get the economy moving. Doesn’t that sound like business and unions are on the same page?

“If the U.S. wants sustainable job growth, it must strongly embrace global trade” the CEOs concluded.

In the meantime, “free trade” has become a toxic term. Like it or not, the U.S. competes in a global marketplace. Business and government need to join forces to foster broader understanding that there are benefits for the U.S. to engage globally.  At the same time, business needs to do a better job explaining what they are doing well in the international market and how it benefits consumers.

The truth is that there is no turning back to isolation and protectionism. ” Rebuild the consensus around free trade by emphasizing the benefits to the developed world.  Encourage the flow of intellectual capital through immigration and across borders. Business should talk more about the jobs created from trade and the benefits to consumers. ”

Communication can help to open minds to the benefits and opportunities of a global environment .