Three cheers for President Obama's decision, announced quietly on Monday, to repudiate a campaign promise and not press for new labor and environmental regulations in the North American Free Trade Agreement. The last thing the Western Hemisphere needs are more trade barriers that would snarl supply chains and damage commerce.
Perhaps we should call this Austan Goolsbee's revenge. Recall that last year the Obama economic adviser had told a Canadian diplomat to ignore Mr. Obama's Nafta campaign rhetoric; the candidate was merely pandering to Big Labor. When that disclosure became news, Mr. Goolsbee was banished to the campaign's isolation ward for imperfect spinners. Now we know Mr. Goolsbee -- not the candidate -- was the one telling the truth.
Mr. Obama got an earful on trade from his counterparts at the Summit of the Americas over the weekend and that might have something to do with his Nafta walkback. But three other trade issues to watch are the unilateral U.S. ban on Mexican long-haul trucks, which has sparked a trade war with that country, the U.S. failure to ratify a free trade agreement with Colombia, and the 54-cent per gallon U.S. import duty on Brazilian ethanol. Mr. Obama has promised to discuss each one. But the real test will be his willingness to spend political capital to defeat protectionists in Congress.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Obama breaks NAFTA campaign promise
President Obama quietly announces he was not going to try to renegotiate NAFTA Monday. Undoubtedly, he got blasted by his counterparts at the Summit of the Americas over the weekend. This will make some of his base angry if the Main Stram Media ever report the news. Don't hold your breath for that to happen. From online.wsj.com,