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TPP's misguided opponents

Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition holds a rally to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership at the Allentown office of Congressman Charlie Dent that features a giant roll of toilet paper bearing the words, "Flush the TPP."  Today is the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (NAFTA)

Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders are both wrong to vehemently condemn the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and both vice presidential candidates (Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine and Republican Gov. Mike Pence) were actually right before they all were wrong in opposing it. President Barack Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan were, and still are, correct to be pro-trade for the good of the nation ("Why global trade is central to Clinton-Trump race," July 26).

The details of any trade pact should be clear before making a judgment, but there are several reasons why TPP should be supported. First, like it or not, globalization is here to stay, and the U.S. should lead in seeing that there are international rules that are fair and reflect our values. We have to play to win. Secondly, most economists agree that jobs, the economy and economic growth are the fruits of this multi-national accord. And, third, national security vis-a-vis China is an important part of the TPP. Additionally, fair trade is very good for millions of poor people around the globe.

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When the Pacific countries that account for 25 percent of the world's gross national product establish mutually beneficial rules and regulations, it will be a big improvement for the U.S., which has been playing by its enlightened rules unilaterally while other countries haven't. U.S. consumers will also enjoy lower prices and better goods and services while U.S. workers will see net job increases and a faster-growing economy. Yes, the U.S. will lose some jobs, and those individuals and companies adversely affected should receive assistance as they transition into the 21st century.

China doesn't want to play by international rules because it prefers to use its size and military threats to extract advantages from smaller Pacific neighbors in one-on-one negotiations. The U.S. can't leave a vacuum for China to fill or encourage its aggressive expansionism in the South China Sea. Therefore, a TPP solution is essential.

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There is a history of politics producing bad economics and bad national security, but killing TPP would be among the worst decisions ever.

Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore

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