That said, the absence of new F.T.A.s is an opportunity to refocus our trade policy on workers and more balanced trade. Besides the loss of public trust, cramped F.T.A. negotiations have blocked us from taking necessary steps against currency manipulation and have diminished our focus on policies that could rebuild the manufacturing sector.
At this point in the argument, chin-stroking pundits will tell you the “hard truth” that those manufacturing jobs we lost are not coming back. They’re right, but that’s beside the point. The question is not whether we can go backward, but could there be a more vibrant manufacturing future here? Can we, for example, build supply chains such that we don’t just design the new goods the world demands, but instead of outsourcing their production, produce them here?