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Free Trade

July 9, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau
As White House aides search for ways to show progress on the economy, they are banking that a set of small-scale proposals may be able to win congressional approval and dent a chronically high unemployment rate considered the main threat to President Obama's reelection chances. Obama has turned to the modest measures in the absence of more ambitious tools, such as stimulus spending, which are not an option for the White House in the climate of austerity and fiscal discipline dominating Washington.
July 3, 2011
Free-trade battles Re "GOP balks over job provision in trade proposals," Business, June 29 The Times' headline insinuates that Republicans are to blame for the trade pact with South Korea not going through. In fact, Republicans have been pushing free-trade agreements for years, especially with South Korea and Colombia, and the Democrats and the union lobby have been stonewalling them. Now that the Democrats have inserted a piece of pork into the bill — a very expensive, ineffective worker retraining rider, which the Republicans rightly oppose — The Times seems to blame the Republicans.
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.
June 21, 2011 | By Peter Navarro
The American economy has been in trouble for more than a decade, and no amount of right-wing tax cuts or left-wing fiscal stimuli will solve the primary structural problem underpinning our slow growth and high unemployment. That problem is a massive, persistent trade deficit — most of it with China — that cuts the number of jobs created by nearly the number we need to keep America fully employed. To understand why huge U.S. trade deficits represent the taproot of the nation's economic woes, it's crucial to understand that four factors drive our gross domestic product: consumption, business investment, government spending and net exports.
February 9, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli and Michael Muskal, Washington Bureau
The top Republicans in the House of Representatives dined with President Obama on Wednesday, and the menu was dominated by talk on the economy, budget deficits, regulatory reform and trade. Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California, had lunch with the president, Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Bill Daley. There were no concrete agreements, but both sides said the session was agreeable.  “It was a very good lunch, and we were able to find enough common ground, I think, to assure the American people that we are willing to work on their behalf and willing to do it together,” Boehner, of Ohio,  told reporters after the luncheon.
January 24, 2011 | By Alana Semuels and Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times
On the eve of President Obama's expected push for American competitiveness in his State of the Union speech, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a lobbying campaign in Los Angeles to push the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Its most unusual feature: close cooperation between the business group and the White House. The trade deal, which would be the largest since NAFTA took effect in 1994, has provided the first notes of harmony between the Obama administration and the chamber, whose relationship has been strained almost since the moment Obama took office.
November 11, 2010 | By Christi Parsons and Ethan Kim, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
Despite a furious round of negotiations the last few days, the U.S. failed Thursday to work out a free-trade agreement with South Korea, denying President Obama a deal he had hoped would be a strong kickoff to a key economic summit of world leaders. Obama said he still hopes for a pact within weeks, and believes that representatives of the top 20 industrialized and developing economies will reach "a broad-based consensus" on reconciling trade imbalances while they are meeting here this week.
November 6, 2010
The wide differences between Republicans and Democrats on economic policy don't leave much room for compromise over the next two years. But Tuesday's takeover of the House of Representatives by the GOP raises hopes for progress on at least one important initiative: It might help President Obama win approval of a U.S.- South Korea free-trade pact. President George W. Bush was a big proponent of the bilateral agreement with South Korea, which both governments signed in 2007, but he couldn't persuade Congress to approve it. Obama seems an unlikely champion, especially since he criticized the deal during his 2008 presidential campaign.
August 12, 2010
Even in the gloom of an international economic crisis, there is a bright spot of hope: free trade. Successful trade pacts with Panama and Colombia and a pending agreement with South Korea will serve to accelerate investment opportunities across a broad spectrum of business and industry, including agriculture, communications technology and natural resources — for Canada, that is. As for the United States, the best that can be said is that farmers,...
April 16, 2010 | By Julian E. Barnes
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates voiced support Thursday for a U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia, a treaty considered a critical reward for one of Washington's strongest allies in the region. The proposed agreement, first signed during the George W. Bush administration, has long been supported by U.S. businesses but opposed by labor and human rights groups because of Bogota's history of harsh intolerance of labor activism. Defense Department officials have favored the pact as a way to reward Colombia for its successful effort at beating back drug trafficking and the country's insurgency.
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