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Trade policy to be a hot issue

John Dimsdale Jan 1, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The incoming Democratic majority in Congress is promising to change trade policies to better protect American jobs. But Republicans warn the result will block the free flow of trade and harm the economy. From Washington, John Dimsdale reports these competing philosophies will be on vivid display this yeara€¦


JOHN DIMSDALE: Democrats made election gains in regions that have lost manufacturing jobs overseas. Their agenda includes slapping trade barriers on China to punish it for flooding the U.S. with artificially cheap products, and requiring trade partners to bring their labor and environmental standards in line with those in the U.S.

South Carolina Democrat Representative John Spratt says even existing trade agreements will get scrutiny.

JOHN SPRATT: We’ll look back at some of these other free trade agreements which have held the promise of expanded exports for the United States but never seemed to achieve their promise. So I think they’ll get a much more stern review in our Congress.

But Republicans in the White House warn the Democrats’ agenda will threaten trade, which accounts for 10 percent of the U.S. economy and a sixth of all manufacturing jobs. To expand that trade, the President will be asking Congress to renew his fast-track negotiating authority, which expires in July.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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