350,000 indigenous people in Peru say "No FTA"
Every Vote Counts (No, Really!) - Democratic Rank and File Opposing Bush Trade Agreement

Trade On The Trail #7

And now for this week's trade on the campaign trail.

Last Saturday former Sen. John Edwards announced his opposition the Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) - read our previous post.

Former Governor Mitt Romney announced his "new vision" for American trade policy, complete with powerpoint presentation.

What are some of the elements of the plan? According to a press release:

Governor Romney would seek to bring together nations committed to open markets and playing by the rules in the largest ever Free Trade Area, and go beyond traditional trade to promote high standards in areas critical to U.S. competitiveness. The Reagan Zone Of Economic Freedom would act as an alliance working together internationally, in the World Trade Organization and elsewhere to push reforms and work cooperatively in areas like labor and the environment.

And the Democratic National Committee's response says,

"Smooth talking Mitt Romney is in for a big surprise if he thinks the American people are looking to trade on Bush Republican for another next year," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "President Bush's failed trade and economic policies have hurt America's working families and we simply cannot afford four years of more of Bush Republicans exporting good jobs."

Trade also earned some mentions during Monday's MSNBC Democratic debate with Tim Russert and Brian Williams:

Edwards said,

We decided to try to keep the country safer by inspecting containers that come into this country, and who lobbied against it? The biggest company in America -- Wal-Mart. We've had trade deals that have cost us millions of jobs, and what did America get in return? We got millions of dangerous Chinese toys. These things are all evidence of a system that doesn't work.

And from Rep. Dennis Kucinich,

There's got to be people watching this at home saying, "Hey, you haven't talked about me losing my job because of NAFTA." Well, I'll cancel NAFTA and -- and -- and the WTO and have trade that's based on workers' rights, human rights and environmental quality principles.

And Sen. Hillary Clinton according to Reuters is still undecided on what's likely to be this Wednesday's Peru Free Trade Agreement vote:

As her party's front-runner, Clinton's decision could influence how many other Democrats view the Peru pact.

Clinton has called for the South Korean agreement to be renegotiated because of its auto provisions, which many Democrats believe are tilted in favor of Seoul.

She has also called for all U.S. trade agreements to be reviewed every five years.

And the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on the importance of blogs and grassroots in second-tier presidential campaigns,

Inside the Keene Horseshoe Club's covered picnic area one summer Friday night, a hundred or so residents sat on lawn chairs and swatted mosquitoes as Gov. Richardson sweated. What was his position on trade pacts with Peru and Panama? asked one woman. Mr. Richardson looked nonplused. "Are they coming up?" (The House is likely to vote on the Peru agreement this month.)

When the Wall Street Journal says "this month," what they actually mean is this Wednesday.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for more Trade On The Trail.

(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the candidates.)

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