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  • Eyes on Trade is a blog by the staff of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch (GTW) division. GTW aims to promote democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor "free trade." Eyes on Trade is a space for interested parties to share information about globalization and trade issues, and in particular for us to share our watchdogging insights with you! GTW director Lori Wallach's initial post explains it all.

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April 24, 2008

"Don't call me protectionist"

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), in an op-ed in the most unlikely of places, the Wall Street Journal editorial page:

We take for granted our clean air, pure food and safe drinking water. But these blessings are not by chance: They result from laws and rules about wages, health and the environment. Trade agreements with no rules to protect our health, the environment and labor rights inevitably create a race to the bottom and weaken health and safety rules for our trading partners and for our own communities.

But cheerleaders for current U.S. trade policy, while mostly shrinking from a debate about the issues that matter to middle-class America, insist that those of us who want more trade - but trade under a very different set of rules - are protectionists.

Senator Brown goes on to highlight an argument we've made many times at Eyes on Trade regarding the most damaging provisions of the Colombia FTA:

"Supporters sell [the Colombia FTA] as a free-trade agreement, a great opportunity for American companies because it eliminates tariffs on our products. If that were true, the agreement would be a few lines long. Instead, we have a trade agreement that runs nearly 1,000 pages and is chock full of giveaways and protections for drug companies, oil companies, and financial services companies, and incentives to outsource jobs now held by Americans."

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