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Free Trade

March 7, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson
When Mexico and the United States were entering a landmark free trade agreement 16 years ago, one thing was clear: Mexican farmers would initially find it difficult to compete with heavily subsidized U.S. agricultural products. The solution: Mexico created a special fund to dole out cash to the poorest and smallest farmers. Somewhere along the way, something went wrong. Today, the fund -- far from helping the neediest -- is providing large financial subsidies to the families of notorious drug traffickers and several senior government officials, including the agriculture minister.
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.
January 25, 2010 | Times Staff And Wire Reports
Robert Mosbacher, who served as U.S. Commerce secretary under his close friend, President George H.W. Bush, and helped lay the foundation for the North American Free Trade Agreement, has died. He was 82. Mosbacher died Sunday in Houston after a yearlong fight with pancreatic cancer, family spokesman Jim McGrath said. Mosbacher, a Texas oilman, was a powerful Republican fundraiser who served at the top echelons of Bush's presidential campaigns and most recently was a general campaign chairman for Sen. John McCain's 2008 GOP presidential race.
December 14, 2009 | By Dave Samson
The Times' Dec. 3 editorial, "Trading with Ecuador," ignores evidence of Ecuador's hostility to the United States and misleadingly asserted that Chevron is calling for an end to beneficiary status for Ecuador under the Andean Trade Preferences Act. While more than one organization has called for "halting the trade agreement" with Ecuador, Chevron is not. Chevron is arguing that countries should not be unconditionally rewarded with unilateral trade...
November 28, 2009 | By Don Lee
At a time when the United States desperately needs to boost exports and create jobs, America's free-trade pact with South Korea offers the promise of doing both, say many analysts and businesses especially on the West Coast. But the long-stalled agreement isn't likely to get ratified any time soon -- despite renewed hopes from President Obama's trip to Asia this month and the threat that South Korea's pending trade deal with the European Union could soon put U.S. exporters at a competitive disadvantage.
November 19, 2009 | John M. Glionna and Peter Nicholas
President Obama met today with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, calling for North Korea to take "serious steps" to give up its nuclear weapons and committing himself to reviving a free-trade deal between Seoul and Washington that has stalled in the U.S. Congress. In a nationally televised joint news conference, Lee said the two presidents agreed to offer North Korea a "grand bargain" designed to provide the North with security guarantees and economic assistance in exchange for dismantling its core nuclear programs.
September 24, 2009
President Obama is in favor of free trade. Except when he isn't. Free trade creates jobs and lowers prices, as he freely acknowledges. But he also insists that American workers must be shielded from foreign labor practices that threaten job security. During the presidential campaign, Obama indicated that he was open to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, even as an advisor quietly reassured Canadian officials that he wouldn't tamper with free trade on the North American continent.
August 13, 2009 | Don Lee
The World Trade Organization today ruled that China violated free trade practices by restricting imports of movies, music and books, handing the U.S. a victory in a highly contentious issue that has long rankled Hollywood and other purveyors of media products. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in Washington called the WTO panel ruling a significant win for America's creative industries. "This decision promises to level the playing field for American companies working to distribute high-quality entertainment products in China, so that legitimate American products can get to market and beat out the pirates," he said in a statement.
April 10, 2009 | John M. Glionna
South Korea is close to finalizing what officials here call a hard-won free-trade agreement with the European Union that would do away with most tariffs on trade between the two entities. Now Seoul is setting its sights on Washington, trying to rescue an agreement signed two years ago that is giving U.S. officials second thoughts. The Obama administration is hesitant to seek congressional ratification of the agreement negotiated by the Bush administration.
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