ILRIC330BhagwatiFoes - Foes of free trade get a foot in the...

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Foes of free trade get a foot in the door Author: Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Senior Fellow for International Economics May 21, 2007, The Financial Times The agreement on trade between the Bush administration and the Democrats in Congress, announced on May 10, takes the demand for the integration of labour standards in trade treaties up a notch. The display of bipartisanship, with Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker, appearing with Hank Paulson, Treasury secretary, and Susan Schwab, US trade representative, has caused celebration. Yet the compromise to insert stronger protection of labour rights into US trade deals has dangerous implications for world trade. Bipartisanship is no guarantor of virtue. The proponents of the compromise also make a serious mistake when they assume that domestic consensus on trade policy is a sufficient condition for further trade liberalisation. Unless your trading partners agree with what you propose, your own consensus is well nigh useless. The problem is that, except for bilateral agreements with small countries (or groups of countries) with little political power or with over-riding security interests, the developing-country trading partners of the US are generally opposed to the inclusion of
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ILRIC330BhagwatiFoes - Foes of free trade get a foot in the...

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