Focus Point - Fast Track

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The house will soon begin a debate that should be a no-brainer: whether or not to give the president fast track authority on trade pacts.

Fast track lets the president expedite trade without deals getting bogged down by political bickering or special interest meddling. Every president from Richard Nixon had it, until it lapsed in 1994. Since then the rest of the world has been opening up to free trade, while we've been sitting on the sidelines.

With the economy lagging, trade becomes even more important. Exports accounted for about a third of all economic growth over the past decade. The economies of countries that are open to trade grow faster than those that aren't. When we get it right, as we did with the North American Free Trade Agreement, everybody prospers. In fact, Mexico has taken the lesson to heart far more than we have, and has turned into more of a free trading country than the U.S., making eight free trade agreements with more than 30 nations.

The house needs to get this right, and do it now.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, historical dopes.