The tech sector enthusiastically embraces the president-elect’s technology-centric proposals for just about everything that ails America; Barack Obama’s insistence that trade agreements include strong labor, environmental and safety standards, not so much so.
So much not so that tech is urging the now lame duck Congress to get the Columbia Free Trade Agreement to President Bush’s desk, who–with little else to do these days–anxiously waits to sign it as part of his free trader legacy. Having successfully attached a renewal of the research and development tax credit to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, tech now hopes to include the trade deal in any economic stimulus bill that comes out of the lame ducks.
You can understand the rush.
As a U.S. senator, Obama opposed trade deals with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. During his campaign, he called for renegotiating NAFTA. Globalization, he wrote in opposing CAFTA, is “not someone’s political agenda.” That would be Silicon Valley moguls who have never met a trade deal they didn’t like, even if the murder rate among our trading partners’ labor leaders is criminal.
“[Globalization] is a technological revolution that is fundamentally changing the world’s economy, producing winners and losers along the way,” he said. “The question is not whether we can stop it, but how we respond to it. It’s not whether we should protect our workers from competition, but what we can do to fully enable them to compete against workers all over the world.”
Presumably that doesn’t include rushing through a controversial trade deal in a lame duck session of Congress.