Is Protectionism On The Rise?
January 6, 1999
The year 1998 was not a good one for free-trade advocates. President Clinton failed to obtain "fast track" authority to facilitate negotiations to lower trade barriers. A plan to curb the use of unilateral trade sanctions stalled. And a bill to liberalize trade with Africa died.
So what's ahead for 1999?
- Congressional Republicans want Clinton to bring up "fast track" again in the spring and put pressure on Democrats to back it.
- Experts are concerned that laws against "dumping" -- by which a country allegedly exports items below costs -- may get strengthened.
- The current dispute over European banana imports may result in the U.S. slapping a 100 percent tariff on a variety of European exports to the U.S. -- and shatter the ability of the World Trade Organization to settle trade disputes.
- Experts will be watching closely the course of the new euro, which -- by encouraging trade between the 11 European Union countries -- might result in a decline in trade between the U.S. and Europe.
Free-trade advocates who appeared to be winning their battle earlier in the 1990s, are apprehensive -- if not pessimistic -- about the prospects for their cause as the world enters 1999.
Source: Aaron Steelman, "What's Next on Trade Agenda?" Investor's Business Daily, January 6, 1999.
Browse more articles on Economic Issues