Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Well, That Didn't Take Long

On Sunday, your humble correspondent heaped a little praise on USTR for its rhetorical refocusing of the US Trade Policy Agenda from ridiculously-export-oriented in 2010 to only mostly-export-oriented in 2011.  In particular, the new Agenda actually had several passages which made clear and coherent references to the benefits of imports for US businesses and consumers - a welcome change for those of us who have been constantly complaining about the administration's absurd mercantilist positions over the last two-plus years.

Sadly, it appears that USTR's trade epiphany was rather short-lived.

Reviewing USTR Ron Kirk's prepared remarks before the Senate Finance Committee today, Steve Lamar points out over email:
Number of times Ambassador Kirk talks about exports – 7

Number of times Ambassador Kirk talks about imports – 1*

*Use of the word “imports” is in this context: “In December, the WTO upheld our right to take action to stop a harmful surge of Chinese tire imports...”
Aaaaannnnd we're right back to 2010.  I guess all it took was a little public/political scrutiny to put the new "free trader" version of USTR right back in the ol' mercantilist closet.  (Shocking, I know.)

On the bright side, I guess balance has been restored in the trade universe (or something).

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