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Fair-Sustainable Trade, not Tariffless Trade

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You're probably used to hearing about "free trade" and "fair trade". I don't like the first term because it has too many positive connotations. What it really means is that companies have an incentive to produce goods and services wherever the cheapest labor and and weakest environmental protections are. This race to the bottom should be called what it is, "tariffless trade", or trade without import taxes. I also have problems with the term "fair trade" because it is too vague.

We need trade that is fair and environmentally sustainable: "fair-sustainable trade". By fair I mean trade that doesn't give an advantage to countries with cheap labor. By environmentally sustainable I mean trade that doesn't give an advantage to countries with weak environmental protections.

We could do this by giving each country a score, like in school: A, B, C, D, or F on both labor standards and environmental protection. The countries that score As on both would be able to trade with us with no tariffs. The countries that scored the lowest would face the highest tariffs when they export to us.

We could start ourselves and then spread this idea around by negotiations and better trade treaties. It's a good approach because it protects American products from imports made in countries with cheaper labor and weak environmental protections while allowing free competition among products that were made under roughly equal conditions.

To sum up, we need fair-sustainable trade, not tariffless trade.

 

My intellectual awakening is ongoing. Lately, politically, I'm most interested in efforts to break down two-party rule in this country. I registered Green after the Democrats won control of Congress. The more I think about it, the happier I am with (more...)
 
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In order to survive America has to start rebuildin... by liberalsrock on Friday, Nov 14, 2008 at 10:14:18 AM
but a damned good idea!... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Nov 14, 2008 at 4:29:02 PM