Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Obama backs away from reforming free trade deal

Obama lies during campaign. Decides to ask responsibly after elected. He made foolish promises to hinder international trade, but his advisors remind him that trade helps our economy, not hurts. And when he promised to reopen NAFTA Canada and Mexico responded "Yes, let's. We want terms more favorable to us." Washington Examiner : Congressional Democrats from economically struggling regions are getting frustrated as President Barack Obama backs away from campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA. “I am greatly disappointed that the administration seems to have backpedaled on trade, specifically on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine., who says his state has lost thousands of jobs because of NAFTA. “President Obama campaigned on this issue, and I’m disappointed that he’s walking away from that commitment.” Just last month, Obama’s trade representative, Ron Kirk, backed off the much tougher stance on the 15-year-old trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada that the president took last year as he vied for votes in some of the most economically depressed areas of the country. “The president has said we will look at all options,” Kirk told reporters in April. “But I think they can be addressed without having to reopen the agreement.” Kirk’s statement dealt a blow to senators such as Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who blame NAFTA for destroying the manufacturing economies in their states. “I’m disappointed,” Brown said. “There is pent-up demand for a new approach that starts with fixing what is not working, including NAFTA.” Kirk’s words also surprised Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who accompanied candidate Obama last year though places like Youngstown and Toledo, which she says have been devastated by cheap Mexican imports. When Obama was trying unsuccessfully to close the gap on Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Ohio Democratic primary, he pushed hard against the trade agreement Clinton’s husband had championed. Obama not only verbally promised voters there a NAFTA re-do, he did it in writing. “Bad Trade Deals Hit Ohio Harder Than Most States and Only Barack Obama Consistently Opposed NAFTA,” declared an Obama campaign leaflet picturing a shuttered factory. “He made those statements in the Youngstown area,” Kaptur recalled. “And when these words are heard, they mean something. Now people are waiting for the results of that.” In December, Obama decided to appoint Kirk to the job of U.S. trade representative. The former mayor of Dallas is a vocal supporter of NAFTA, as trade with Mexico has created jobs in Texas and a steady stream of truck traffic through his city.

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