Steve Sachs Duke


Monday, December 01, 2003


At Last, Good News on Trade: I've often wondered why the Bush Administration was willing to burn up America's political capital abroad on an issue as trivial as steel tariffs. (It's not like there's a war going on, or anything.) But today the NYT reports that the White House is ready to roll the tariffs back, using the WTO's ruling against them as political cover.

Avoiding a needless trade war with our allies is obviously a good thing--especially when we need their cooperation and good will on so many more important issues. But although I like the result, I don't like the implications of a "WTO made me do it" repeal--by painting our international agreements as the villain, it can only diminish popular support for free trade, along with the credibility of our trade commitments abroad. (Of course, if Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) ends up as the Democratic nominee, we'll soon have two protectionists running for President...)




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