A friend who favors free trade agreements (such as those now being negotiated by U.S. officials and their European and Pacific Rim counterparts) insists that these “partnerships” pose no threat to our nation’s sovereignty. He likens the proposed agreements to the beneficial free trade arrangement existing among our 50 states. But, without him realizing it, my friend’s argument actually made the case for my real concerns about such agreements.
In 1955, Dow Chemical executive Lewis Lloyd wrote a book calling for protectionism. Formerly a solid cheerleader for free trade, he found through experience that, if free trade among nations is actually conducted — such as what exists among our 50 states — eight conditions must be present. And the final of his eight conditions was the need for “world government” and a loss of sovereignty.
In his Tariffs: The Case For Protection, Dr. Lloyd stated that there must be comparable taxes, a single monetary system, uniform business laws, similar business ethics, freedom of movement by workers from place to place, freedom from the threat of war, and an overseeing world government.
All of what Lloyd saw as necessary can be found in the state-to-state relationships within the United States — except a world government. Here, unencumbered trade is regulated by the federal government under the U.S. Constitution, and there’s no loss of national sovereignty. Should free trade be established nation-to-nation, claimed Dr. Lloyd, there would be a need for an overall governing body with a superior constitution superseding the government structure established in each nation. In other words, there would be a need for a world government superior to each national government and it would function just as our own federal government does vis-à-vis the states. But the national sovereignty of the nations involved in this free trade would have been canceled.
Consider the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two pacts that U.S. leaders are now hammering out with equivalent foreign officials. Approval of the TTIP would tie the U.S. with the EU that was sold to Europe’s mostly unsuspecting national leaders as a pact designed merely to enhance trade. But it has become dominant over its 28 formerly independent nations. Consider: In 2003, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus warned that the EU was leading to “no more sovereign states in Europe.” In 2004, EU leaders proposed an overall constitution which claimed that it “shall have primacy over the law of member states.” In 2004, a leader of Britain’s United Kingdom Independence Party stated that the EU “has turned into a political union which is changing our basic laws and traditions.” And in 2007, former German President Roman Herzog lamented that “84 percent of the legal acts in Germany stemmed from Brussels.” The EU has become a super government dominating Europe’s once-sovereign nations.
Should Senate ratification of the TTIP be accomplished, the U.S. will have duplicated Europe’s catastrophic blunder and essentially joined the EU, losing its national sovereignty in the process. Ratification of the TPP would likewise be a huge mistake, and lead to a corresponding loss of U.S. national sovereignty. But the interesting point here is that the beneficial state-to-state relationships within our nation do not support my friend’s claim that nation-to-nation free trade agreements will be similarly beneficial. They would instead constitute a severe dilution of national sovereignty, as the EU has accomplished in Europe. The relationships generated by so-called “free trade agreements” prove that sovereignty will be lost. Americans should let their representatives and senators know that free trade partnerships must be rejected, along with rejecting Trade Promotion Authority that would facilitate congressional passage of any such free trade partnerships.
(This article was originally published at insideJBS on May 2, 2014.)