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Free Trade

June 30, 2011
During the Bush administration, congressional Democrats never tired of finding reasons to oppose important free-trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama: The deals were too unfriendly to U.S. automakers, they complained, or they didn't protect against human rights abuses, or they failed to guarantee that foreign companies wouldn't undercut American competitors by underpaying their workers. Under President Obama, the agreements have been renegotiated to erase nearly all those objections, and they finally seemed poised for approval.
February 5, 2010
It has taken the loss of 4 million jobs in one year and a nationwide unemployment rate of 10% for President Obama to finally take a firm stand on the economic benefits of free trade. Oh, all right, he didn't exactly throw down a gauntlet in his State of the Union address and declare that expanding trade and increasing exports are essential to the country's economic recovery and the creation of jobs. It was more of a lukewarm, milquetoast, noncommittal sentence or two in which the president mentioned something about "strengthening" trade.
April 15, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
CARTAGENA, Colombia -- The Obama administration says Colombian officials have taken sufficient steps to protect the rights of workers to allow a free trade agreement with the U.S. to move forward. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Sunday morning that the trade pact will go into operation in May, opening the way for a new level of trade and travel between the two countries. The decision that Colombia has met that mark puts President Obama at odds with some U.S. labor leaders.
November 22, 2004
Re "Trading Up," editorial, Nov. 18: In principle, and for about 1% of all Americans, free trade works marvelously. Historically, however, "free" trade has created a large-scale cultural, economic and environmental disaster for every single country, including our own, that has bought into the American free trade doctrine. Could the opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement in Congress actually be driven by historical facts and not by political self-interest? James West Los Osos, Calif.
March 20, 2009 | Jeffrey Fleishman
As whispers of protectionism began to unsettle the export-import business, Oriental Weavers, one of the world's largest carpet makers, reset its looms and recast its prices to compete in an increasingly bargain-conscious U.S. market. The Cairo-based company fared relatively well over an 18-month period as the U.S. housing crisis spread and oil prices soared. But its sales to America have since slipped, forcing it to look toward emerging markets in Asia and former Soviet republics.
March 24, 1992
Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week to try to reconcile differences over the proposed North American free-trade agreement in time for a top-level meeting next month. U.S. trade negotiator Carla Anderson Hills is scheduled to meet with the Mexican and Canadian commerce ministers in early April to go over a final draft of the agreement.
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