President Obama publicly deplores growing economic inequality in the United States. At the same time, he is pushing for a new Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement on top of the trade agreements he won in 2011. Evidently, he sees no inconsistency here, but a growing body of economic research points to the adverse effects of lowered tariff barriers on manufacturing workers and their communities. Whether or not the losers are beginning to outnumber the winners, free trade is increasing the economic distance between the two.
Analyst Insight: Over the last three years the retail industry has seen a great many changes, helping to streamline retail supply chains and create more cost savings for retailers. This efficiency-driven approach was in large part a response to the "great recession," and it has sustained the industry through these challenging times, putting them in a greater position for success as we look ahead to the future. So where do we go from here? - Casey Chroust, executive vice president, Retail Industry Leaders Association
Analyst Insight: The Congressional bills to implement the U.S. free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and to renew the Generalized System of Preferences and Andean Trade Preferences Act have gained congressional approval and President Obama's signature, thus paving the way for the long awaited realization of the agreements and their inherent trade benefits and opportunities. Simultaneous approval highlights the challenges of managing global supply chains to take advantage of the benefits provided. - William M. Methenitis, partner, global director, and Kristine L. Price, partner, both of Ernst & Young LLP, Customs and International Trade