Free trade is on the verge of several victories worldwide. According to the NY Times, the Obama Administration has asked Congress to pass a Bush Administration free trade agreement with South Korea after the midterm elections. The administration has committed to tying the removal of South Korean restrictions on beef and auto imports to the agreement. This is great news for the hard-hit American auto industry, as it will be more competitive in the South Korean market and could help fuel an American economic recovery.
Talks between Taiwan and China also look promising. While the agreement on the table between the two nations has serious flaws (such as a 10-year Taiwanese fund to keep some businesses competitive after trade opens), it is an encouraging sign. It appears to be a forerunner to China allowing Taiwan to seek free trade deals with other nations free of interference, which is good for both Taiwan and the rest of the world. It is likely that this agreement, which heavily favors the Taiwanese, is a move to create sympathy for reunification with China on the island. In spite of this, I still think that Taiwanese nationalists should welcome the easing of trade restrictions.