Editor:

With public procedures, there are unintended consequences as often as not. Some objectionable effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA-not a treaty) may or may not have been foreseen. A similar agreement is about to be brought before Congress known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

This would be an expansion of an agreement between four countries in the South Pacific. Nine other countries, including the United States are being added including some with whom the United States either has bilateral and/or multilateral agreements such as NAFTA. Completely grand-fathering in protections of previous agreements is complex if not impossible and adds monumental bureaucratic complexities. One simplification to such a deal is to make the rules the same for all the countries involved. The more

exceptions allowed, however, the more bureaucratic implementation becomes.

Theoretically, the TPP should significantly increase import-export business, especially by large corporations which are already engaged in international commerce. The degree to which this would increase jobs (or vice versa) is being disputed. One key is the offset between reductions in labor costs versus increased transportation costs as well as the relative impacts of improved technologies (often computer based.) TPP would somewhat consolidate a complex series of negotiated agreements hammered out over decades. By nature it should be voted up or down in all countries. Every Congress person and Senator will have to determine if what is gained is worth what is lost especially among each applicable constituency, in the long term as well as the short term.

This brings me to some unintended consequences of NAFTA. In general it is regarded as a NET gain for all three countries. (There have been losses.) A major consequence of the Mexican social Revolution during the early part of the 20th Century was land reforms by which the large landed estates mostly haciendas were divided up among the people into very small acreages which became the social basis for Mexico moving into modern times. There is a limit of arable land but for decades peasant farmers were able to support growing numbers of their families with the yields of their tiny farms. Surplus corn could be sold to help feed a growing urban population and purchase extras.

With the removal of tariffs on corn, big U.S. agricultural corporations undercut the prices of local corn production. More and more often these tiny farms have gone out of business adding to the population pressures which were a factor as these people were a large portion of the immigrants to the United States in search of a way to support their families, often as migrant farm workers but not always. During recent decades Mexico has had an harsh family planning program to limit births. Although not as draconian as the one-child program of China, there have been migrants to the United States (and Canada) in order to avoid disincentives on the size of their families. These are among the unforeseen consequences of NAFTA.

I expect more businesses of all sizes will become involved in international commerce with or without TPP.

(TPP details not yet revealed.) Global corporations have divisions with specialists for arranging commerce around the world. (Loopholes?) Most previous U.S. job gains (80-percent) have been with small businesses.

KEN RUSTAD

Farmington