Progressives’ trade issues

James Galbraith calls for a shift in progressive trade policy focus:

The facts are clear: NAFTA is a done deal, and China is a success story we have to live with. Progressives need a trade narrative that moves past these two issues. Broadly, this means accepting manufactured imports and dropping the idea that we can control–or that it matters much–who assembles television sets or stitches shirts. Standards to guard against flagrant abuses such as child and prison labor are fine, but it’s an illusion to think they will, or should, dent the flow of goods from China. A progressive trade agenda should focus, instead, on building stronger world markets for our exports, and in ways that do not trample on the needs and rights of poor people in poor countries. That should provide plenty of room for future fights with free-trade absolutists.

Is Galbraith advocating that progressives oppose agricultural liberalization and TRIPS implementation by developing countries because he thinks those are poor policy choices or because he is just looking for a fight?

[HT: Mankiw]

1 thought on “Progressives’ trade issues

  1. James Galbraith

    Because they are poor policy choices. But I recognize that some people are looking for fights and I don’t mind accommodating them…


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