« Andrew Appel and New Jersey Support for Kerry | Main | Stromata Rathergate Story: The November Surprise Sprung Too Early »

September 14, 2004

Bush and Kerry on Free Trade

I'd been wondering where Kerry and Bush stood on free trade. Yesterday's WSJ had a couple of useful articles. Bottom line: Bush has been moderately free trade, with big exceptions; Kerry used to be free trade; Kerry is now moderately anti-free-trade; the heavy hitters against free trade are all Democrats. Next-to-bottom line: Kerry only likes multilateralism when it requires us to get the approval of our rivals for military action, not when it requires us to get the approval of our trading partners to help U.S. consumers....

Jagdish Bhagwati says

How does one forgive him his pronouncements on outsourcing, and his strange silences on the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations? Indeed, Sen. Kerry, whose views and voting record were almost impeccable on trade, has allowed himself to be forced into such muddled and maddening positions on trade policy that, if one were an honest intellectual as against a party hack, one could only describe them as the voodoo economics of our time.


Sen. Kerry is also not good news for the critical multilateral trade negotiations in the Doha Round. Where President Bush has articulated strong support for it, Sen. Kerry has ducked the issue. Then again, on top of the strange commitment to have a 120-day review of existing trade agreements (which presumably include the WTO), the Kerry-Edwards demand that labor and environmental requirements be included, with sanctions, in old and new trade agreements, clearly aims a dagger at the heart of Doha.

Daniel Ikenson says

The Byrd Amendment directs the distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties collected by the U.S. Customs into special accounts for disbursement to companies that supported the original petitions in these cases. Before the amendment became law, such duties were commingled with other government revenues in the general treasury.


The World Trade Organization ruled last month that eight U.S. trade partners are entitled to retaliation for U.S. failure to comply with its rulings against the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, also known as the Byrd Amendment. But an issue much larger than the ruling is at stake. How the U.S. responds will have far-reaching implications for the WTO: Failure to comply could mark the beginning of its end as a valid institution.


These efforts are spearheaded primarily by Democrats in Congress, like Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan. In response to the WTO finding against the Byrd Amendment in January 2003, Sen. Baucus said, "In the end, this decision may not matter much, as I suspect there is little support in Congress for implementing it."


In response to last month's ruling, John Kerry declared, "Once again, the Bush administration failed to stand up for American companies and workers at the WTO, and as a result, unfair trade practices are hurting our economy and middle-class families."


Yet despite opposition to the law from President Clinton and advocacy for repeal from President Bush, Congress shows no sign of relenting.

I'm not clear on where Kerry stands on Bush's steel tariffs, but given that West Virginia and Pennsylvania are swing states, both of them are probably equally bad on that issue.

Posted by erasmuse at September 14, 2004 03:20 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Remember Me?