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Will U.S. trade policy stall after midterm elections?

Business Times - 03 Nov 2006


Will US trade policy stall?

Increasing Democrat control may weaken pro-free trade forces

By LEON HADAR
IN WASHINGTON

THAT the US midterm elections could result in the Democrats regaining control of Congress is causing some concern among pro-free trade proponents in Washington. After all, the Republicans on Capitol Hill have been leading the push for trade liberalisation in recent years, while many Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate have been campaigning on platforms that criticise globalisation with some of them favouring higher tariffs for imported goods.

Indeed, pro-free trade Republican Senators from Ohio, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Missouri are now facing strong challenges from Democratic candidates who tend to be more skeptical - of not protectionist - on the issue of free trade.

Hence the expectation in Washington is that the most likely consequence of Democratic control of Capitol Hill will be growing pressure a…