Holding the President’s beer in Korea

When the Trump administration was seriously moving toward abrogating the excellent trade agreement the Bush administration negotiated with Korea, it was the policy equivalent of that common meme refrain: “hold my beer,” as if he were trying to top past policy blunders. For a president that doesn’t drink, it’s remarkable how few sober ideas come out of his oval office. If now seemed like a good time to cut off our mutually beneficial trade ties with South Korea, imagine how that bad judgment would be made worse with inebriation.

I was critical of Obama here on the pages of the Oregon Catalyst six years ago for delaying the ratification of this treaty. I would be remiss were I to give Trump a pass, especially in these days when so many Republicans have turned their backs on free-market economics.

Oregon has been a huge beneficiary of our open access to Korea’s growing consumption. The Beaver State exports more than $100 million in agricultural products to this fellow barbecue-loving nation. Oregon’s blueberries are a particularly successful hit in Korea.

Our largest growth in new business from this treaty, however, comes from wine sales. Koreans love Oregon Pinot Noir which became an early post-ratification winner. Yet the biggest potential market, that taps into one of Oregon’s greatest comparative advantages, is Korea’s growing taste for premium beer.

Our President’s fundamental and long enduring ignorance of the economics of trade threatened to take all this away, but the Wall Street Journal reports the White House is now telling Congress it has no plans to withdraw the United States from this lucrative trading arrangement. Who knows what other crazy things Trump might do on the Korean Peninsula, but Oregon seems to have gotten a reprieve from losing our advantageous trade with this dynamic market.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change


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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Free Trade | Tagged | 8 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • John Fairplay

    It would be cool if the Oregon Catalyst could get some conservative writers.

    • Eric Shierman

      Have we reached that point where free-market economics is no longer considered a conservative position?

    • William Butterfeld

      Eric has a fair question John. What keeps Eric from being a conservative, and what is a conservative in your estimation. Hopefully it is not blind allegiance to Republicans holding office. As far as I can tell, Eric is very Laissez Faire and small government in his approach.

  • Bob Clark

    Yes, Trump’s trade tirades are insane. But he has other attributes I voted for. He is politically incorrect in a time when political correctness is driving folks to have too “thin a skin.” He offered a more conservative Supreme Court bench, and we’re hoping for more.
    I am still thinking about Eric’s immigration article, and hope to have an article on it within a month or so. I am not so sure Eric’s theory with new labor supply creating it’s own demand holds up empirically; as net immigration may actually follow rather than lead increases in per capita GDP. Of course, the data is probably not this good, especially concerning all immigration, not just that which is “legal.”

    • Eric Shierman

      I look forward to reading that.

      I wish I could say that was my theory, but the theorists were Charles Cobb and William Douglas. The empirical work showing increasing returns to scale from immigrant labor was from David Card and Giovanni Peri. I’m just a humble popularizer of the rather robust literature we now have on the economics immigration.

      And of course, Jean Baptiste Say came up with the idea of supply creating it’s own demand. What has become known as Say’s Law is one the bedrock premises behind free-market economics.

      When you argue against the laissez-faire approach to immigration, the policy the United States had for most of our history, you’re going to have to come up with more than just a repeal of Say’s Law. You’ll need to show the same thing that all advocates of government intervention in the economy need to show: that federal bureaucrats will be able to more accurately choose the optimal amount of immigrants than an open economy would.

  • 这个博客不简单,看了还想接着看。

  • Aishwarya Aishu

    Hope things will become better. Trading is international need for better economy. As a international promoter in MaxCure Hospitals in Hyderabad I came to everything related relations of nations.

  • karthika

    Yes..well doing all things gone through a better way.Hold my Beer caption is very excelent and MaxCure Hospitals in Karimnagar is always support for the nation of country.

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