NORMAL TRADE STATUS FOR CHINA WILL HURT DEFICIT, EMPLOYMENT

NORMAL TRADE STATUS FOR CHINA WILL HURT DEFICIT, EMPLOYMENT

In response to Carroll A. Campbell Jr.'s article, ''Does Congress want to shut the door to China?'' (May 17, Page 6):

If permanent normal-trade-relations status for China is approved by Congress, a projection of trade trends over the next decade shows that the trade deficit will expand, resulting in sizable job losses in every state and in virtually every sector of the economy. The absolute level of the U.S. trade deficit with China will increase by at least 80 percent between 1999 and 2010, eliminating 872,091 jobs.A full analysis can be found online in Economic Policy Institute economist Robert E. Scott's Briefing Paper, ''China and the States.''

This and other articles, spelling out the truth about China and our PNTR vote coming up can be found at the following Web site: http://www.epinet.org.

I would advise you, and your organization, to get the facts about this devastating trade package before you put out untruths in the media.

Anything our Liar-in-Chief supports has got to be bad for the United States; after all, he's in China's back pocket. Who financially supported his re-election? China. Get the facts, please.

KERRY BAKER

karotop(at)kscable.com

Andover, Kan.

US LEADERSHIP NEEDED FOR TRADE ADVANCES AT REGIONAL, WTO LEVELS

Your May 18 editorial, ''Trade Is Flourishing'' (Page 4), is an excellent summary of the post-Seattle proliferation of regional free-trade agreements in Asia, Latin America and Europe, as well as across both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

I predicted this development in my Dec. 14 article in The Journal of Commerce, ''Trade realities in the aftermath of Seattle'' (Page 6), following the failed World Trade Organization summit there:

''The U.S. three-track trade strategy has a weakened multilateral track. Since the mid-1980s, U.S. trade strategy has consisted of mutually supportive initiatives at the multilateral, regional free-trade, and bilateral levels. As a consequence of Seattle, prompter results from regional free-trade and bilateral initiatives will be more appealing, but this raises basic questions of timing and substance, especially between the WTO multilateral and free-trade tracks.''

In this context, I have four comments about your editorial:

* There is not a single mention of the United States in the lengthy editorial, whereas you name 35 other countries plus the European Union as engaged in such post-Seattle regional free-trade initiatives. What has happened to the longstanding U.S. leadership in global trade liberalization? Why is Mexico pursuing free-trade agreements with the EU, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore while the United States remains on the sidelines?

* The North American Free Trade Agreement is playing the central catalytic role for this building-block approach to free trade and, within Nafta, Mexico is the leader. The EU, Japan and South American countries are negotiating free trade with Mexico in part to offset the current preferential access U.S. exporters have in Mexico as a result of Nafta, and in part to establish a production base within the integrated North American market.

Such free-trade linkages, over time, however, should help induce the United States to take the next and critical steps of negotiating free-trade agreements across the Atlantic and Pacific as well.

* One thing that surprises me is the absence of Canada from this post-Seattle momentum for regional free trade. Free trade with the EU, Mercosur and selected Asian countries would help diversify Canadian trade, a longstanding national objective, and would create further pressures on the United States to follow suit. Evidently, agricultural interests in Canada prefer to put all their negotiating chips on a new WTO round, but there should at least be a public debate over this doubtful strategy in Ottawa.

* There is finally the question I raised about the changed relationship between regional free-trade agreements and the WTO, including the timing and substance of a new round of multilateral negotiations. My own view is that it is time to phase out remaining tariffs on manufactured goods, which account for 60 percent of world trade, albeit with a slower free-trade track for agriculture. This can best be done through parallel initiatives at the regional free-trade and WTO levels. Regional free-trade agreements can be concluded more quickly, as circumstances permit, and then consolidated within a multilateral WTO framework accord once 80 percent to 90 percent of trade is included within regional free-trade agreements. This will not happen, however, unless the United States resumes a leadership role for free trade, including fast-track negotiating authority for the president.

ERNEST H. PREEG

Senior Fellow

in Trade & Productivity

Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI

Arlington, Va.

TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON CEO, NOT ENOUGH ON REST OF COMPANY

Again I hear companies putting too much emphasis on one person. The article that highlights the loss at Circle International Group because of David Beatson's departure (''Beatson resigns as CEO, stock plunges,'' May 16, Page 13) is discouraging.

I am not employed by Circle International, and I am not a shareholder of the company. But I believe what makes a company great and attractive for shareholders is not one CEO, but the people - from senior management to clerical - who make up the company.

Many scholars have written about this same topic, noting that we in the United States put too much emphasis on one person. A company is successful because of its dedicated work force, its products and services and its information technology. It takes a group effort to make this process work, not just one individual.

I understand that Wall Street does not view this in the same light as I and many others do, but then again, what does Wall Street know? How many tech companies are getting great reviews and still can't seem to make a profit?

We, as a society, have put too much emphasis on a stock price.

ROLY PORTAL

Dunedin, Fla.