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Trade agreements touted as job creators

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 06:26 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011

Cindy ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.comU.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue spoke Wednesday about trade agreements.

The chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave a local business audience a preview Wednesday of how he will be pressing to expand global trade later this week during Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Honolulu.

Thomas J. Donohue, the U.S. Chamber's president and chief executive officer, told about 100 members and guests of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii that reaching a trade agreement with eight Asia-Pacific nations is an objective that would create jobs nationally.

Donohue also suggested that the trade deal being pursued, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, could lead to a "huge influx" of additional Asian tourists coming to Hawaii.

But visa restrictions present a bigger barrier to Hawaii welcoming more visitors from Asian countries, including China, Donohue said.

"We've got to find a better way to welcome people," he said. "We need to put the welcome mat back out."

Erik Soderholm, vice president of Soderholm Sales & Leasing Inc., a Honolulu firm that sells buses to Hawaii tour operators, asked Donohue for his view on the chances and timing for a U.S. visa waiver program, allowing more Chinese to vacation in Hawaii.

Donohue didn't give an estimate, but said at a news conference after his speech that relaxing tourist travel restrictions to the U.S. is a bigger challenge than relaxing trade barriers for goods and investment.

The United States aims to reach outlines of a trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam during APEC meetings running through this weekend on Oahu.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a goal of President Barack Obama, and supporters hope a trade deal can be reached and later expanded to include Japan and China.

An agreement with the eight countries would be the biggest trade deal involving the United States since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and would follow the passage last month of trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

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JPM wrote:
Great plan. They send us their tourists dollars and we send them our manufacturing, programming, tech support, accounting, and all other jobs Americans once relied upon. I guess 9% unemployment and the greatest divide between rich and poor wasn’t enough. We are determined to increase trading with countries abusing the environment and citizens in exchange for "tourist dollars". I thought about becoming a stock trader, but I'm sure they'll outsource that now. I should have studied tourism. Lesson learned.
on November 10,2011 | 03:57AM
bender wrote:
I expect there will also be a big push to sell property to the Chinese. We will probably then see a real estate bubble similar to when the Japanese were making major real estate investments in Hawaii. Some will argue that it is a good thing but we don't need to push the cost of homes any higher than they already are, which is out of reach for many Hawaii residents.
on November 10,2011 | 08:09AM
areyoukidding wrote:
then buy something even if it is cheap and small. why not share in the wealth of something you can't control but you know is inevitable. pisses me off people complaining they can't buy ANYTHING yet they drive SUV'S, send kids to private school, eat out a lot, trips to vegas, mulitple cars in families, etc. 30 years ago families only had 1 car, only the rich sent kids to private school, rarely went vacation and then only neighbor island, and started off in studio to start off. now some won't buy unless it IS A HOUSE FIRST. i bought 3 studios in time and can convert to 1 nice house if i wanted to but none of this could be done if i had all those spoiled toys listed above. i lived very frugally and not like a show off. the car i own now is only worth $2k. it is a matter of PRIORITIES. what people spend thier money on is thier business because they made it but people should put thier money where mouth is. too many want hand out's at someone elses expense. not for you in particular, just a general comment; i certainly didn't mean to offend you. rents are high because costs are high.
on November 10,2011 | 11:44AM
bender wrote:
The question is where will the jobs be created. What we've seen so far is a mass exodus of jobs to foreign shores.
on November 10,2011 | 08:06AM
9ronboz wrote:
This sounds like another Obama promise (create jobs?)
on November 10,2011 | 08:46AM
areyoukidding wrote:
republicans are in the way. they want to raise taxes for people who are struggling but give a tax break for the rich even though the propensity to consume for basic necessity for the poor is higher for the lower wage earners. the republicans call it a "fair tax". they neglect to say that taxes dropped substantially from the 80's for the rich and that thier wealth grew while the middle class and below fell for the same time frame. keep in mind i do realize some poor milk the system, but that is a fault of the state giving out the benefits.
on November 10,2011 | 11:34AM
Kuniarr wrote:
The US expects to have access to more countries for US exports via trade agreements with APEC countries What the US has not learned is that even though US export will reach a bigger market, US imports from those countries signatories to the trade agreement would exceed exports. So far, the only country that the US has a trade agreement whereby the US exports exceed imports is only with Brazil. (SA issue dated 11/10.2011 - http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/Trade_deficit_in_US_narrowed_4_to_431_billion_in_September.html?id=133634233) With China alone US imports from China exceed exports by $217.37 billion accumulated from January thru September 2011 (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html)
on November 10,2011 | 10:44AM
areyoukidding wrote:
what has happened to the u.s.? we seem to get the short hand of the stick in every trade deal for the last 30 years. i (an individual) can't buy property in china but they can buy us up at will except for strategic cos. politicians seem to like the idea of bragging they got a "trade deal accomplished". i would rather have no trade deal than a bad one made. it is highly arrogant of big mulitnationals to think global competitors are unintelligent or incapable of competition. chinese or pushing jobs for thier workers, why can't the u.s. do the same? in particular the republicans are in the way. jobs will be created but in china and elsewhere. we are trading high paying jobs for a lot of cheap ones. wait till the polluting factories come back because we are desperate for jobs.
on November 10,2011 | 11:30AM
HD36 wrote:
If government would just get out of the way and layoff all the rule makers jobs would spring up all over.
on November 10,2011 | 04:35PM