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Obama's balancing act on US trade policies

Business Times - 17 Mar 2010


Obama's balancing act on US trade policies

His thrust for exports shows he is adopting a more activist stance on global trade issues

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

MOST of the purveyors of the conventional wisdom in Washington concluded a while ago that President Barack Obama would not be able to make any significant move on global trade any time soon.

Against the backdrop of rising populist sentiments around the country and in Congress that reflect the economic distress afflicting much of the country, the current White House occupant is not in a position to start promoting an energetic free trade agenda that would require removing the remaining restrictions on foreign access to American markets.

To put it in very simple terms, the American people who have been at the receiving end of daily reports about the loss of American manufacturing jobs to foreign competitors - dramatised by the expanding US trade deficit - are certainly not in a mood to …