Free trade deal or no deal

John Dimsdale May 17, 2007
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Free trade deal or no deal

John Dimsdale May 17, 2007
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SCOTT JAGOW: Last week, Republicans and Democrats had a major breakthrough on free trade. Republicans agreed to labor and environmental protections in international trade deals. Democrats said they would support lowering barriers to foreign imports. But both sides seem to having second thoughts about their “breakthrough.” John Dimsdale reports from Washington.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Rank-and-file Democrats have been backing away from the deal ever since it was announced. The director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Lori Wallach says she knows why:

LORI WALLACH: Most of the members of the House Democratic caucus are asking why it’s in the interest of a Democratic majority to facilitate the passage of more Bush NAFTA-style agreements.

Businesses, too, are not happy, now that they’ve seen the details, according to Claude Barfield of the American Enterprise Institute.

CLAUDE BARFIELD: One calls it a compromise, but the compromise was almost entirely on the Republican side.

Gary Hufbauer at the Petersen Institute for International Economics says the leaders on both sides got ahead of their troops.

GARY HUFBAUER: So now the troops are trying to catch up or trying to figure out what happened.

Supporters hope the deal sticks long enough to pass two relatively easy trade agreements with Peru and Panama. Whether the bipartisanship lasts longer than that depends on just how easy those turn out to be.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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