America Needs More than Rhetoric and Piecemeal Trade Measures for Economic Growth

daniellamarkheim /

The President’s recognition in last night’s Fox News interview that exports play an important role in bolstering U.S. economic performance was welcome, but missed at least half of the trade story. Imports benefit America, too, through lower prices to consumers and manufacturers that raise incomes and boost productivity and competitiveness.

The President promised a thorough review America’s trade policy over the first half of 2009 and a new road map for U.S. trade relations this summer – a promise that remains unfulfilled as the year comes to a close. The nation’s trade regime is instead being shaped and undermined by a slow and steady creep of protectionism in Congressional legislation and in ad hoc measures designed to cater to special interests.

The President will, presumably, get around to articulating the promised comprehensive trade policy at some point. In the meantime, there are plenty of steps that the government could—and should—take to boost U.S. trade with Asia and the rest of the world that would speed the economic recovery and improve America’s job climate. (more…)