Trade is essential to modern life, whether we exchange money for products, services, talents or skills. Every impediment to trade damages everyone's pursuit of happiness..
The biggest impediment to trade is excessive taxes and government expenditures. Every excess dollar extracted from the earnings of private citizens and spent on the basis of political interest or influence is a loss of value to society.
For decades, the policy of most national governments has been to manage trade for the benefit of those with political power, rather than to enhance and protect free exchange among all individuals. As this policy spreads to international trade, the damages extend beyond national borders, threatening the future prosperity of billions of people around the world.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the most recent example of managed trade, as opposed to free trade. This multi-lateral treaty is a litany of special privileges, exemptions, benefits and rewards based solely on political power. Aside from bypassing the Constitutional requirements for adoption, it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by granting political favors to named corporations, products and services.
Undoubtedly, many well-connected businesses benefited from the Agreement, but the "giant sucking sound" following this treaty wasn't jobs going abroad, it was the dying breath of the Mexican middle class. Caught in the hype of the agreement, the Mexican government grossly inflated it's currency, causing the value of the peso plummet and the income of average Mexicans to fall drastically. The financial bailout that followed was just another managed trade response that put American citizens in further jeopardy.
A host of other government-managed "agreements" have ceded American sovereignty to international bodies and rewarded the financial mismanagement of dozens of nations around the world. Any General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) should implement America virtues of individual liberty and economy. We should stand firm for reduced national and international barriers to trade, not new world courts governed by an elite class of international bureaucrats. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts American taxpayers' money at high risk in order to prop up the failed fiscal policies of dozens of foreign governments, including many which constantly violate basic human rights.
American trade policy should never encourage, reward or subsidize any transaction with foreign businesses, government monopolies, or nationalized industries. The objective of our trade policy ought to be free and open trade across all national and international borders with strong defenses against fraud, coercion and theft. Most critically, our Constitution requires an unwavering defense of intellectual property. The rights of inventors and authors must be protected around the world.