Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Would Be Funny, If It Weren't So Sad

BNA (subscription) reports on the Obama administration's latest public speech on trade, and the article would be pretty darn funny if it weren't so unsurprisingly depressing (emphasis mine):
Reforming health care is a big part of the U.S. trade strategy because businesses and workers cannot be crippled by the rising costs of the U.S. health care system, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Nov. 4.

If the administration can lower health care costs, it can give every business in America and U.S. exporters a shot in the arm, Kirk said. Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the 2009 District Export Council Conference held in Washington, D.C.

President Obama is focused on building the U.S. economy, and he recognizes that a fundamental part of growing the U.S. economy is a robust trade policy, Kirk said....

Kirk said that USTR was focused on educating U.S. small businesses on export opportunities, and that the United States needed to open foreign markets to its goods.

However, Kirk did not reference pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations, or prospective negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership, all elements of the trade policy of the previous Bush administration.
To recap: in a major speech before the District Export Council, the United States Trade Representative - America's chief trade advocate and negotiator - spent his entire allotted time cheerleading the President's health care legislation.  He did not, on the other hand, spend a single second discussing pending FTAs, the WTO's Doha Round or new free trade negotiations.

Just about sums it all up, doesn't it?

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