Paul Gillmor on Free Trade
Former Republican Representative (OH-5, 1989-2007)
After a month of debate the Senate passed a The Andean Free Trade Agreement (H.R. 3009) including language to grant the president trade promotion authority. With the unanimous support of all eight Republican Main Street Partnership Senators, H.R. 3009 passed 66 to 30. Included in the legislation is an expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) providing a tax credit for 70% of the cost of health insurance purchased individually after losing employment as a result of a trade agreement. While the Senate maintained its pro-trade reputation by defeating amendments by Senator Kerry (MA) and Senator Byrd (WV) diluting Trade Promotion Authority, one amendment strongly opposed by Main Street remains in the bill. An amendment offered by Senator Dayton (MN) and Senator Craig (ID) would allow the Senate to remove from fast-track consideration any provision of an agreement that would limit US trade remedy laws. Main Street firmly believes that this negates Trade Promotion Authority entirely, and supports President Bush's veto threat should this language remain intact after a House/Senate conference.
The mission of the Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies is to increase public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism.
The Cato Trade Center focuses not only on U.S. protectionism, but also on trade barriers around the world. Cato scholars examine how the negotiation of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements can reduce trade barriers and provide institutional support for open markets. Not all trade agreements, however, lead to genuine liberalization. In this regard, Trade Center studies scrutinize whether purportedly market-opening accords actually seek to dictate marketplace results, or increase bureaucratic interference in the economy as a condition of market access.
Studies by Cato Trade Center scholars show that the United States is most effective in encouraging open markets abroad when it leads by example. The relative openness and consequent strength of the U.S. economy already lend powerful support to the worldwide trend toward embracing open markets. Consistent adherence by the United States to free trade principles would give this trend even greater momentum. Thus, Cato scholars have found that unilateral liberalization supports rather than undermines productive trade negotiations.
Scholars at the Cato Trade Center aim at nothing less than changing the terms of the trade policy debate: away from the current mercantilist preoccupation with trade balances, and toward a recognition that open markets are their own reward.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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