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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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January 05, 2009

Al Franken gives us a final tally of 43 new fair traders!

Al_franken_senate Fair trader Al Franken (D) has just been certified as the winner of the long, drawn-out recount for the Minnesota Senate seat held by incumbent Norm Coleman (R). His victory brings us to seven new fair-trade senators and 43 new fair-trade members of Congress in total, assuming Coleman's likely legal challenges are unsuccessful, as is widely believed to be case.

As we describe in the candidate appendix (PDF) to our election report, Franken ran paid ads on offshoring, and, in a response to a Minnesota Fair Trade Campaign questionnaire, committed to oppose the WTO Doha Round and the Colombia, Panama and Korea FTAs, support the renegotiation of NAFTA and replacement of Fast Track, and oppose any trade agreements that include NAFTA-style investor rights. On his website, Franken had this to say on trade:

I favor a balanced approach to trade that recognizes the importance of opening up markets for our products but protects our farmers as well as our workers, our consumers, and our values. Frankly, the Bush-Coleman approach gives away too much for too little - CAFTA, for example, sold out Minnesota's entire sugar industry for access to six markets with the combined size of Columbus, Ohio. I will support fair trade agreements, but I won't sell out our farmers in a bad deal like CAFTA.

So to sum up, our final election findings look like this:

New Fair-Trade Congresspeople: 43, a net gain of 35

New Senate Fair Traders: 7, a net gain of 7
Senate races where fair traders beat anti-fair trader incumbents: 5
Senate races where fair traders took open seats vacated by retiring anti-fair traders: 2

New House Fair Traders: 36, a net gain of 28
House races where fair traders beat anti-fair trader incumbents: 13, net gain of 12
House races where fair traders took open seats: 20, net gain of 14
House special-election victors earlier in 2008 where fair trader replaced anti-fair trader: 3, net gain of 2

Races we monitored: 131+
Races where GOP ran on fair trade: 18+
Races where both GOP and Dem ran on fair trade: 14+
Paid ads on trade: 137+
House anti-fair traders that won higher office: 0
House fair traders that won higher office: 2

Check out our full election report (PDF) for much more.


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Pete Murphy

We've been talking about "fair" trade for decades to no avail. We don't need government leaders who are committed to fair trade. We need a commitment to restoring a balance of trade, even if tariffs are required to achieve it.

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