I can only explain this as collective congressional delusion leading to self-destruction. Of the three countries, South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, only South Korea has the capacity to be a significant market but, like China, its currency is undervalued so American exports would be very pricey there whereas South Korean imports coming to the U.S. will be very competitive and will put American manufacturers out of business.
The White House has essentially traded these deals for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program of retraining workers whose employers have moved overseas.
As I see it, it works like this. The government opens the country to imports knowing very well that they will displace American workers and then institutes a program to retrain those workers and calls the trade agreements “instruments for growth and job creation.”
This does not make any sense to me, from the point of view of national interest and the interest of the majority of Americans.
The three agreements are expected to generate a meager $13 billion in exports every year. No mention of the volume of imports into this country.
I quote a comment from a reader: “Jobs’ bill for Americans fails in Senate. Jobs’ bill for Koreans, Colombians, and Panamanians passes without difficulty.”
This is bitter.