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Obama should now work on his trade agenda

Business Times - 05 May 2009


Obama should now work on his trade agenda

The fact that he's avoided to push his protectionist agenda can be considered good news

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

IN most of the commentaries marking US President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office there has been almost no mention of the new president's global trade agenda.

That was not very surprising since Mr Obama has said very little on the issue since entering office; and he certainly has not made any important decision that affected US trade policy. And that is the good news - and the bad news.

Indeed, through his presidential election campaign candidate Obama pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), hinted that he would discard the Colombian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and threatened to punish China for manipulating its currency to increase exports.

Hence the fact that Mr Obama has refrained from coming through on his campaign's protectionist trade…