Jagdish Bhagwati gets it. He really gets it.
If you can't beat 'em, bite 'em

It's it? What is it?

Fair traders have focused a lot on getting the Obama administration change course on the Bush administration's failed trade and investment policy. The message we've gotten consistently is that this new approach is still being thought out, discussions are being had, and the new approach is coming out soon and we'll hear about it.

Is this the "new" policy?

The two sides recognize the importance of open trade and investment to their domestic economies and to the global economy, and are committed to jointly fight protectionism in all its manifestations.  The two sides agreed to work proactively to resolve bilateral trade and investment disputes in a constructive, cooperative, and mutually beneficial manner. Both sides will expedite negotiation on a bilateral investment treaty. The two sides are committed to seeking a positive, ambitious, and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda in 2010.

What about this?

President Obama opened a potentially bruising battle within the Democratic party on Thursday when he pledged to complete a long-stalled trade agreement with South Korea that he inherited from President George W. Bush.

The fair trade response was swift:

“I can’t for the life of me understand why we would want to extend the Bush economic and trade policies,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “It’s unacceptable to say we’ll put in some side agreements. It’s still Bush trade policy, which is as bankrupt as Bush fiscal policy.”

And earlier this week...

Members of the House Trade Working Group called on the Obama administration Wednesday to review current U.S. trade agreements and push for a trade overhaul in the upcoming World Trade Organization ministerial meeting.

“We want to work together to develop a trade agenda that we can all be proud of,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) during a press conference.

Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Slaughter said they want Obama to live up to campaign promises on trade by dismissing the Doha round trade liberalization talks, agreements aimed at lowering trade barriers for developing countries, and start a compete overhaul that focuses on labor rights for American workers.

“As our nation’s representatives prepare to head to Geneva, we want them to know that the trade act not only represents a way here at home, it also mirrors calls from many WTO countries to turn around the WTO,” said Michaud. “This represents exactly what many nations have called for at WTO: a review of the existing views and the will to fix what is broken.”

The adminstration has expressed desire for a way forward on trade, and it sounds like there are a lot of paths towards this goal. But the path can't be backwards to Bush-era policies.

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Virgil Bierschwale

Let me ask you this.

Why are we deliberately putting Americans out of work for a total export of all products that only amounts to 11% of total GDP?




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