NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 12, 2009

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) nominee Ron Kirk mocked the U.S.' expansion of free trade as "deal fever" at his confirmation Monday and vowed to force "social" diktats on trade partners before new pacts can be signed, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

To start, Kirk dismissed existing free trade treaties as mindless chits instead of carefully negotiated pacts done on an equal basis with other countries.  That ignores the fact that free trade has opened vast markets for U.S. companies, whose exports will be key to our economic recovery, says IBD:

  • Free trade with Mexico increased trade fourfold over the last decade, making it our third-largest trading partner and enabling U.S. companies to sell a billion dollars worth of goods to Mexicans each day.
  • It has put an extra $2,000 in every American family's pocket and increased jobs — one out of four jobs here is now linked to global trade.

Kirk also dismissed treaties awaiting passage:

  • South Korea's pact, which would open a market to U.S. exporters as big as Mexico's, was called "simply unfair."
  • Kirk said the United States would "step away from that" if South Korea didn't bow to new terms dictated by the Obama administration (and its Big Labor financiers).

Kirk also said that the Korea and Colombia pacts will be subject to "benchmarks" of unspecified detail if they are ever to be approved, adding new conditions onto done deals.  It's not as if these nations haven't jumped through hoops already, says IBD.  Colombia altered its constitution and revamped its court system on the promise of the deal's passage; now, it's getting new orders.

Wittingly or not, Kirk wants to halt free trade altogether through endless legal delays, and use it as a wedge to foist social engineering agendas onto sovereign states, says IBD.  It's a given that none of these benchmarks will ever meet approval.  Korea already says a deal is a deal and it won't take new diktats.

If the United States foists social projects on friends, rejects new markets and lets China snap away the spoils, it will be the biggest loser, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Dictatorial Trade," Investor's Business Daily, March 11, 2009.


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