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A recent visit by U.S. trade officials to Singapore plays out like a tale of two trade agreements. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk expresses optimism about the evolving Trans-Pacific Partnership pact that contradicts a sense of uncertainty and lack of enthusiasm felt behind the scenes, according to an American Jobs Alliance board member.
It would make sense that Kirk would give such a speech in Singapore, a nation that has been a driving force behind the TPP in the first place. But the gulf between what is stated publicly and what is going on behind the scenes is something to consider before making any leaps, says Economic Strategy Institute President Clyde Prestowitz.
"Their (Singapore's) views were much less sanguine than those of Kirk. Indeed they sounded somewhat scared," observes Prestowitz in his weekly Foreign Policy magazine blog.
Such is the problem of trying to mix diplomacy and trade. What makes for excellent sound bites and newspaper quotes usually makes for less-than-excellent policy in the end.
Adds Prestowitz: "Eventually at some point, someone has to count the jobs and the balances of trade and financial flows. Typically, deals done primarily for geo-political purposes don't add up, and when they don't, all the "strengthening of commitments " in the world often doesn't save them."
Read the blog: http://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/