Basically, reciprocity meant a treaty relation between two independent powers such that the citizens of each are guaranteed certain commercial privileges at the hands of the other. Specifically, such deals meant tariff reductions made by some specified nation or country in compensation for some reductions made in favor of such a nation by a second.
Since the advent of mass media of the 20th century and now carried into the 21st century, Congress and the aristocratic establishment of the United States have gotten ever better at manipulating the masses with their wordsmith games. Claiming reciprocity as "free trade" is one of those games. Who could be against anything free?
These trade deals basically protect the largest commercial interests of each respective country while opening up everything else to the largest interest to poach what isn't acknowledged as protected.
Sadly too many confuse these large commercial interests with free-enterprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. These big commercial interests are owned by those who fear competition. That is why they use law to kill competition and use rhetoric to deceive the many as to their designs.
The goal of course is to protect extant capital structures from pesky upstarts with superior technology who might render a firm worthless overnight by exposing an antiquated capital structure. Protection means protected firms gain unearned profits, excess profits. This is the primary cause of what many believe is "income inequality".
On behalf of major shareholders, the execs of GM, Ford, GE and all of the rest of the big players love these deals. They can set up factories in foreign lands, avoid shipping and hire vastly cheaper labor.
And while it means the random Vietnamese will see his wages rise — good for him — that rise comes from someone else's pocket. Sure the total pie will grow, but the pie doesn't grow in a perfect circle, proportionally.
Run long enough, per capita wage rates should equalize. Americans should get poorer. Australians should get poorer. Japanese should get poorer. Everyone else should get richer, per capita. And regardless of domiciled country, those doing big-scale exporting should get vastly richer.
And since those living in other countries don't pay as many taxes as Americans, in effect, wage-working Americans will end up subsidizing foreigners whose break evens are lower, all things else being equal.
Main Street Americans ought to be calling for 100% free trade combined with an indiscriminate flat tariff, maybe 5%, maybe 10%, on every good imported into the USA. Since foreigners want access to Americans and their wallets, foreigners ought to pay tolls to access ports, roads and bridges like everyone else involved in insular trade. All should expect foreigners to do the same in any true free trade deal with Americans.
Sadly, many 20-somethings who believe they are libertarians, when in fact, they are pseudo-libertarians have been trained to react in knee-jerk reaction to anyone who points out the truth about bogus free trade or supporting illegals who take jobs from Americans because illegals have lower break evens since they don't pay income taxes (see: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. WHY IT'S BAD FOR YOU AND A BOON FOR ANTI-CAPITALISTS).
True, authentic, free-markets capitalism is what lifts everyday people from poverty. True, authentic, free-markets capitalism is what narrows the gap between rich and poor.
The extreme rich don't want that gap narrowed. They will protect their status at all costs. They will even turn to communism if it means they get to keep their power and status.