Saturday, December 08, 2007

If you don't like Doha...

You'll love Hillary.
HC: Well what I have called for is a time-out which is really a review of existing trade agreements and where they are benefiting our workers and our economy and where the provision should be strengthened to benefit the rising standards of living across the world and I also want to have a more comprehensive and thoughtful trade policy for the 21st century. There is nothing protectionist about this. It is a responsible course. The alternative is simply to pick up where President Bush left off and that’s not an option. Now I’m trying to take the trade agreements that he has negotiated each one on its merits and I will support the Peru agreements because it has the kind of strong labour and environmental provisions that I’ve long called for. And it helps to level the playing field for American workers because as things stand most Peruvian goods already enter America tariff-free but the tariff that are attached to most American goods entering Peru make them less competitive. I have said I will oppose the agreement with South Korea because the auto provisions don’t go far enough and we have prior experience.

My husband’s administration tried to enforce a memorandum of agreement that they entered into with the south Koreans about opening up their market to American autos and it just didn’t happen. So it’s not that we’re starting on some totally different approach to trade it’s that we have to take stock of where we are today. And specifically with Doha and with these large global agreements, again we have to see what works and what doesn’t work. We have benefited through most of the 20th century from trade. It has helped to raise American standards of living, it has helped to create jobs. And I agree with Paul Samuelson, the very famous economist, who has recently spoken and written about how comparative advantage as it is classically understood may not be descriptive of the 21st century economy in which we find ourselves. [More]

For that matter, you'll have a hard time finding any candidate who will stand up in support of freer trade. Economic populism is all the rage, and agriculture has forgotten how important it is to them, methinks.

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