Executive Briefings

Obama Administration Has Disappointing Record on Trade

For two decades U.S. presidents have consistently shared views on the need for a "level playing field." President Bill Clinton in 1992, President George W. Bush in 2008, and, most recently, President Obama in this year's State of the Union: "Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you"”America will always win." Despite that shared rhetoric, the weakness of the U.S. economy over the past few years has helped obscure the Obama administration's disappointing record on trade.

The administration has failed to propose any new free-trade agreements (the Trans-Pacific Partnership began in the Bush administration), and other measures, such as the World Trade Organization's Doha round of global trade liberalization, remain stalled. President Obama takes credit for signing trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, but each of those agreements was initiated and negotiated by the Bush administration.

Worse than inaction, President Obama has proposed protectionist regulations against important U.S. trading partners, a practice that encourages retaliation in the form of barriers targeting U.S. companies. Recent moves by the Environmental Protection Agency reflect the current administration's misguided trade policy.

Scott Miller is a senior adviser and holds the William M. Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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Keywords international trade, Obama Administration trade policies, Trans-Pacific Partnership, free trade

The administration has failed to propose any new free-trade agreements (the Trans-Pacific Partnership began in the Bush administration), and other measures, such as the World Trade Organization's Doha round of global trade liberalization, remain stalled. President Obama takes credit for signing trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, but each of those agreements was initiated and negotiated by the Bush administration.

Worse than inaction, President Obama has proposed protectionist regulations against important U.S. trading partners, a practice that encourages retaliation in the form of barriers targeting U.S. companies. Recent moves by the Environmental Protection Agency reflect the current administration's misguided trade policy.

Scott Miller is a senior adviser and holds the William M. Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Read Full Article


Keywords international trade, Obama Administration trade policies, Trans-Pacific Partnership, free trade