Letter: Free trade not always free for us – Billings Gazette, Aug 4, 2017

All you hear nowadays is that we should have free trade. “Free” trade is often not free trade.

Since the United States has signed all these treaties (NAFTA is just one of them), our country has grown a big money deficit when before we had a good surplus.

Who benefits from signing these treaties? It is not you or I, nor is it our producers, U.S. manufacturers or taxpayers, which are all individuals. Our consumers benefit a little by buying some things cheaper, but they also lose good-paying jobs and eat less of the safest food in the world.

Some of the ones that benefit the most are the U.S. meatpackers. These four companies process 85 percent of the U.S. beef, buy cheaper foreign beef, and sell it with a label of USA meat. These meatpackers fought alongside with Mexico and Canada to get rid of COOL, or country of origin labeling.

These meatpackers are now shipping in beef from countries that are less safe than Mexico and Canada — countries such as Brazil that have hoof and mouth disease.

The big multi-national companies are the winners. They ship stuff, including meat, in and ship stuff out, making a profit each way, while our USA companies lose business and our manufacturing companies go broke. Also, the loss of COOL does not help our cattle producers, either.

Irene Moffett