Regarding "The Payoff From Globilization" by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Paul L.E. Grieco [op-ed, June 7]:

Why would anyone trust Mr. Hufbauer's trade calculations about the Central American Free Trade Agreement, given his forecasting failure regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement?

In 1993, Mr. Hufbauer argued that the United States would expand its pre-NAFTA trade surplus with Mexico to $7 billion annually in the years immediately after its adoption, and then to a $12 billion surplus by the turn of the century. Instead, the U.S. balance with Mexico in goods turned negative -- deficits of $14.5 billion in 1997, $23.7 billion in 2000 and $45.1 billion last year.

The real "payoff" from globalization has been to turn the United States into the world's largest debtor, owing more than $3 trillion internationally as the result of expanding trade deficits. The overall U.S. trade deficit hit $617 billion in 2004 and is headed for $725 billion this year. More than 2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.

The problem is no longer just this or that particular industry being gutted by imports. The problem is systemic and threatens the economic core of the country.

What is needed is new thinking. CAFTA is just more of the same failed policy.

WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Washington

The writer is a senior fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council.