Monday, November 22, 2010

U.S. advised to reject 'free trade.' but not the policy

Ban the label “free trade” from public discourse – that’s the advice that Pollster Bill McInturff gave Wall Street Journal’s CEO council November 16.

Recent polls, including one conducted jointly by the Journal and NBC News in late September, show that people oppose free trade deals by a margin of two to one, according to McInturff, because of a “growing sense that other countries are taking advantage of us” in free trade deals.

He did not explain why changing the label would change the mercantilism of countries like China. But a language change in U.S. legislation -- from Most Favored Nations (MFN) to Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) -- did help pave the way for China to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) ten years ago.

Still, renaming “free trade” makes sense. It is easier to do if the policy behind a new label makes sense, and if it also makes sense to U.S. trading partners.

My own formulation of such a policy is this: that it is work and worker friendly. Present trade policy is investor and investment friendly, and unfriendly to work and workers. Just look at the results: our extreme troubled global economy.

America’s bipartisan OK to China’s entry into the WTO “looks especially imprudent” now, writes Richard A. McCormack, editor of “Manufacturing & Technology News.” The results have not turned out to be what was promised by President Clinton, the country’s most ardent booster of opening trade with the People’s Republic.

In the June 25 issue of his publication, McCormack quotes Clinton ar length. At a March 29, 2000, press conference, for example, he said: “This is a hundred-to-nothing deal for America when it comes to the economic consequences,” among other things by increasing U.S. jobs and reducing our trade deficit.

See for a sampling of promises not kept.

Print Page

No comments: