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Will Obama trade agenda fizzle out?

Business Times - 15 Mar 2011


Will Obama trade agenda fizzle out?

The formula that seemed to be a sure win following the 1994 midterm election may not work this time around

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives in last November's midterm elections may have made it more difficult for Congress to reach agreements over how to balance the federal budget. But some free traders in Washington had hoped that the growing power of the pro-business Republicans on Capitol Hill would make it less difficult to get Congress to approve key free trade agreements (FTAs).

Indeed, those Republican and a few Democratic proponents of an energetic US effort to liberalise global trade recalled after last year's Congressional races that the success of former Democratic president Bill Clinton in winning Congressional support for several critical free-trade accords - including the permanent normalisation of US trade relationship with China which was …