Obama Goes to Korea, Pining for Free Trade Agreements

By: Thursday November 4, 2010 5:15 pm

In addition to education, another area where you can see the President and the Republicans in Congress agreeing is on the issue of trade. One of the first international figures Obama talked to on Election Day was the President of South Korea, and he assured him that the US was working on passing a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Obama and a few Republicans may agree, but I’d be hard-pressed to find any Democrats to join them, including the Blue Dogs. For all his obvious faults, Heath Shuler is a fair trader. So was the majority of the 111th House of Representatives, as evidenced by the vote on the Chinese currency bill, which had the support of 99 Republicans, most of whom remain in the House. A new report from Public Citizen shows that 205 Democratic and Republican candidates used fair trade and anti-outsourcing messaging in their election campaigns. Only 37 candidates campaigned as pro-NAFTA free traders, and half of them lost.

“That Democrats and GOP alike ran against the trade policy status quo highlights the intensity of public ire about our job exporting trade policy – a phenomenon also seen in national polls. It also reveals the trouble that the White House and GOP leaders will face if they try to pass the leftover Bush trade pacts with Korea, Colombia and Panama, to say nothing of the threat such a move would cause to President Obama’s reelection in 2012,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Freshmen GOP congressmen being asked by their leadership to support trade agreements most Americans consider job-killers undoubtedly will have the foreseeable 2012 Democratic attack ads in mind.”

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