Capitol Report: CBO on trade deals: ‘Relatively small’ boost, but ‘substantial hardship’ for some workers

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Loading containers on a merchant ship in the port of Cartagena, Colombia.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday said a variety of pacts including the North American Free Trade Agreement have boosted U.S. trade by a relatively small amount — and had devastating consequences for the workers it’s displaced.

The report reviewed so-called preferential trade agreements the U.S. has with 14 of its top 20 trading partners. Nafta is the most well-known of these deals that include agreements with countries such as Australia and South Korea.

The CBO said the benefit from the trade deals has been small, because most of the deals were with countries with smaller economies than the U.S.

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