Let`s start with the simple question: what are free trade agreements? A simple question deserves a simple answer or as simple as it can be. Free trade agreements are contractual agreements between countries on their trade relations, which aim to reduce tariffs between participating members while protecting investors and intellectual property rights. Lower tariffs are expected to drive growth, while a recent report from the bipartisan budget office of the U.S. Congress suggests higher tariffs could lead to the opposite. Some believe that the impact of free trade agreements has been too small to play a role; I disagree. It is true that the impact of many trade agreements has been small. This is because many agreements have been concluded between the United States and countries with much smaller economies and because tariffs and other trade barriers were generally low when the agreements came into force. The only role of the trade deal was to force the authors of Obamacare to think twice about how, not if, they structure the policy. Trade agreements force policy makers to ask themselves the rhetorical question: are we prepared to bear the financial and effective burden of policy? The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the largest expansion of the U.S. social safety net in decades, and trade advocates see it as a reduction of a significant barrier to worker mobility.2 Obamacare was a long-awaited policy to support the 21st century economy by making the U.S.
labor market more responsive to all forces of change.  For a discussion on TPP work rules, see Cimino-Isaacs (2016). For a broader debate on the TPP`s mega-regional trade agreements, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations and the WTO, see Bown (shortly). Trade agreements generally stimulate economic growth in member states. With more job opportunities, unemployment rates are falling and more people have a steady income that they can use to strengthen their families. The expansion of markets creates new businesses, allowing different countries to collect more national revenue from the business tax. Finally, trade agreements generally contain investment guarantees, which means that investors – especially investors in industrialized countries – can invest in developing countries protected from political risks.