Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sweden fears their Obama might keep his promises

Sweden discovers: There is a cost to following The One. He might end your prosperity by cutting trade - as he promised. Free trade fears cloud Sweden's embrace of Obama - The Local:
Amid the excitement in Sweden over Barack Obama’s victory, there remains real concern among members of the political and business establishment over how the US president-elect will approach the issue of free trade. Sweden welcomes Obama (5 Nov 08) “Our hope is that he doesn’t follow through on what he’s said about free trade,” Moderate party secretary Per Schlingmann told The Local. In the course of his campaign, Obama made a number of statements which raise questions about his support for free trade. “If we continue to let our trade policy be dictated by special interests, then American workers will continue to be undermined,” he told an audience at a campaign rally in Michigan in June. “Allowing subsidized and unfairly traded products to flood our markets is not free trade.” Among other things, Obama also called for trade agreements with tougher labour and environmental protections, as well as a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) linking the US with Mexico and Canada, the benefits of which he said had been “oversold” to the American public. Obama’s positions worry free trade advocates who fear the president-elect’s less than enthusiastic support of free trade may portend a more protectionist attitude on the part of the United States. “I hope that [Obama] doesn't follow through on his statements about free trade. I can't say for sure what will happen, but I hope his policies are wiser than his past comments,” said Erik Ullenhag, party secretary for the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet). Swedish exports the equivalent of about 50 percent of its GDP annually, whereas the US exports goods and services equivalent to about 8 percent of GDP. As a result of Sweden's much greater reliance on external trade, free trade receives much wider support among most of the country’s major political parties.

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