It won't be long before there are three major economic communities in the world, according to Jon M. Huntsman Jr., senior vice president and general manager of the International Division of Huntsman Chemical Corp.
The European Community is one area, the North America Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico is the second and the eventual combination of Asian countries with Japan at the center will be the third, Huntsman said.Speaking to the Pioneer Partnership in the Alta Club Friday, Huntsman said the world is gradually turning away from arms toward democracy and making an effort at peaceful relations. Economic trade is part of the change.
Outlining four truths he sees for the future, Huntsman said the world is getting smaller so Americans need to think bigger and get involved in interlocking relationships with other countries.
A second truth is that there always will be a Singapore and Taiwan where products are produced less expensively and can be sold for less. Huntsman said the U.S. shouldn't be involved in that process, but should be more creative and efficient in its production methods.
Another truth, Huntsman said, is that the battle for free trade is ongoing. Even in the U.S. there are protections and he used steel quotas and agricultural products as examples. He said Americans shouldn't get bogged down in Japan-bashing because the trade deficit with that country is gradually being reduced.
The final truth he discussed was that the American economy must be strong and right now it isn't. Huntsman said the current recession was man-made because the Federal Reserve Board kept interest rates too high for too long. He also noted there is a "regulatory reign of terror" in the United States caused by the savings and loan crisis and reluctance by money lenders to loan money because of the huge cost of that debacle.
Discussing several projects that Huntsman Chemical has in the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the Soviet Union), Huntsman said it is difficult to do business there because of constant changes in public officials and the worthlessness of the ruble.
Because the ruble is worthless, Americans companies have to rely on bartering and take commodities in exchange.