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What's this stuff doing in our "trade" agreements?

DLC think tank confirms key facts on Deathstar/trade policy

Our very own Lori Wallach was on the "Your Call" show on KALW 91.7 FM (San Francisco's NPR affiliate) with host and guest Ed Gresser of the Democratic Leadership Council's Progressive Policy Institute.

I won't go into too much detail about what Lori said, because you can find most of it on our main site, but I think it was useful to hear from Ed on the Deathstar Deal. Listen to the whole show, but these facts that Ed made were particularly cogent:

  • That there's no reason to trust the Bush administration on labor and environmental enforcement actions.
  • That NAFTA and other NAFTA expansion agreements over the last 12 years have not had meaningful or enforceable labor and environmental standards.
  • That trade unionists in Colombia are regularly targeted for assassination, so the country is not ready for a trade deal with the United States.
  • That the South Korea FTA is bad for U.S. manufacturing.
  • That trade policy is sharply dividing Democrats.
  • That the Democrats' recent losing presidential nominees have not campaigned on fair trade policies.
  • That the U.S. unemployment rate is low.
  • That child labor is pervasive in many developing countries - and even in parts of the United States.

In regards to these facts, Ed also expressed some interesting opinions - some which were fairly curious for a Democratic Party-aligned think tank:

  • That child labor is defensible.
  • That the U.S. economic future relies heavily on government intervention in free markets around the globe to protect the patent and copyright claims of rich, protectionist pharmaceutical and technology companies.
  • That, notwithstanding the murder of unionists in Colombia, we should sign an FTA with the country.
  • That he considers himself (and Ruy Teixeira?) only an amateur political analyst.
  • That he thinks there should be no changes to U.S. trade policy. This is an especially interesting opinion, since Ed started the show by praising the Deathstar Deal Dems, whose whole argument is that they believe that U.S. trade policy DOES need to be changed. (We've argued that their agreement contributes little to that goal, but there's no getting around that they are arguing that their policies will change U.S. trade policy.) So it's not very helpful for the Deathstar Dems that the only pundits coming out in support of the "deal" were the people that believe U.S. trade policy doesn't need to be changed.
  • That, even though Democratic presidential candidates (and presumably GOP too) have not campaigned on fair trade, that people should support the Deathstar Deal on the basis that Bush will not be in office long... and that who will replace him will be better on trade/labor enforcement.?? I'm confused.
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