[biztech-discussion] Zoellick

  • From: "tkdunyak" <tkdunyak@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 07:06:28 -0500

Good morning, all:  I forced myself to watch US Trade Rep Robert Zoellick 
testifying before a Congressional sub-committee this morning, as I'm trying to 
"educate" myself about off-shoring, trade policies...things I thought I could 
trust my government to handle but now I know better:)
We have NAFTA, (free trade with Canada & Mexico) which accounts for 35% of our 
economy, according to Zoellick.  We do not have free trade agreements with the 
EU (because they will not sign one, because they try to protect their workers), 
Japan, Korea or China - oddly enough, these are the countries with whom we do 
the most trade!  Zoellick acknowledges that he can't force them to sign 
agreements with us (he's a deep fella).  

He reeled off a list of about 45 Asian, African and South American countries 
we've already signed on with.

Now, we're in the midst of negotiating trade agreements with the Caribbean 
countries and the 5 Central American countries (CAFTA), but there's a hitch.  
They won't guarantee to conform to the ILO's "core labor standards".   Zoellick 
calls these "environmental & labor" issues, which I interpret as meaning we 
object when they chain their workforce in a factory and force filthy water down 
their throats, however we won't object if they LOCK them in the factories & 
fill the water coolers w/filthy water.

The AFL-CIO is (obviously) against these agreements and Zoellick is calling 
them "protectionist", while the EU refuses to sign agreements in order to 
promote balanced trade and that's ok because it isn't the US.  (Duh).


Now all this crapola begs the question - except for agricultural exports, what 
are a bunch of Third World countries going to buy from the US?  Refrigerators, 
computers, automobiles when they have no stable currency, no electricity grid 
or even public water supplies?  How does this create jobs and economic growth 
for America?

Well, Zoellick explained that there are "percentages" on textile goods, for 
example.  We can sell them clothing with fabric made locally in their country 
or made in the US.  Except that our textile industry which used to be in South 
Carolina & New England is now in Asia & South America.  Only the corporate 
headquarters remain in the US.  I see a pattern developing.

In spite of the name-calling (protectionist, isolationist whatever), and 
attempts to re-label McBurgers as manufacturing, I think as a union we should 
try and communicate our belief in the preamble to our Constitution (promote the 
general welfare, and they didn't mean Welfare).  

Should we sign online petitions, start email campaigns, have a slew of union 
leaders descend on the White House?  It's time for a "collective action", I 
think - way overdue, in fact, but what?

As always, I welcome any comments or attempts to educate me if I've misstated 
or misinterpreted - I hate this feeling of being on a runaway train:)


All For The Birds

Other related posts:

  • » [biztech-discussion] Zoellick