Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Candidate Review - Fair Trade - Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson's stance on Free Trade is hard to find - it's near the end of his detailed economic plan which has some other bits worth commenting on (hopefully we will get back around to them). At any rate he does reference Fair Trade, and he makes a certain amount of sense.
We need to move beyond tired debates of 'free trade' versus 'protectionism,' and instead roll up our sleeves and pursue better trade agreements: agreements which enhance rather than erode U.S. jobs, and which are socially just, environmentally responsible, and politically sustainable.

When trade agreements ignore labor, social, and environmental objectives, they can lead to a 'race to the bottom,' as companies displace production to countries with weak labor and environmental protections. But if trade agreements truly prioritize social and environmental objectives, they can raise living standards and expand opportunities for both American and foreign workers.

Our trade agreements must expand markets for U.S. exports and encourage job-producing investment. But they can and must do more than merely expand markets. They also must improve governance worldwide, so that strong and enforceable rules protect the rights of workers, indigenous communities, and the global commons. Such rules must be central and integral to all future bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements.
That makes a lot of sense, particularly the bit about moving beyond "free-trade" and "protectionism." Frankly they are poles that don't add anything to the discussion; most people are in the middle. We need trade, but we need to negotiate better in how we set it up.

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