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Giving America Priority in Trade Policy

Freeing American Trade

As the global-trade establishment becomes more insulated from the growing criticism of people still rooted in their  native soil, it is missing the turn in world events that is frustrating its efforts.  Examples abound.  The latest round of trade-liberalization negotiations has never managed more than a crawl since it was launched by the World Trade Organization in Doha, Qatar, in 2001.  The initial attempt to launch a new round had failed in 1999.  Doha had really broken down at the 2003 ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico.  The 2005 Hong Kong ministerial meeting ended with nothing more than a press release asserting that the session had not failed.  The thousands of bureaucrats, lawyers, politicians, and lobbyists who have enjoyed commercial diplomacy at five-star resorts cannot conceive of trade talks “failing.”  Still, at the end of July, the Doha negotiations were “suspended” indefinitely.

Though economists and political philosophers have incessantly praised “free trade,” it is clear that the WTO talks have little to do with classical liberal thought.  On July 1, European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said the deadlock was over how to cut domestic support to farmers.  He particularly criticized Washington for refusing to revise its October 2005 offer to cut overall domestic support by 53 percent.  Boel wanted the United...

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