Ron Kirk tapped as next USTR
Krugman: reduce the trade deficit

What Ron Kirk's boss wants him to do

Today's Obama statement on the appointment of Ron Kirk as his USTR reminds us of all the trade commitments Obama made on the campaign trail. As readers of this blog may remember, not only did trade play a decisive role in the primaries across the country (along with its major role in elections in November), but candidate Obama made very specific and detailed commitments to change our trade policies. Check out the compilation of Obama's campaign statements on trade to various state-based fair-trade organizations that we've put together.

In these statements, Obama highlights the need for not just better labor and environmental standards, but also provisions to ensure imported food and product safety, the curbing of excessive foreign investor rights, efforts to ensure that public interest policymaking authority is not implicated by agreements like the WTO, and a more inclusive and democratic replacement for Fast Track.

Just one example that Mr. Kirk should be thinking about: when Obama was asked by the Texas Fair Trade Coalition this question (PDF):

Will you commit to renegotiating NAFTA and all existing trade agreements to address problems including labor and environmental standards, investor rights, procurement rules, food and product safety, and agricultural provisions BEFORE initiating any new trade agreement negotiations?

Obama's answer was yes and his comments begin with, "I voted against CAFTA and never supported NAFTA. NAFTA’s shortcomings were evident when signed and we must now amend the agreement to fix them. While NAFTA gave broad rights to investors, it paid only lip service to the rights of labor and the importance of environmental protection."

Check out all this good stuff saved on the GTW website.

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Restoring balance to our nation's trade policy must be a top priority for the Obama Administration. Any economic solution that ignores our huge trade deficit is doomed to failure.

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