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[GreenYes] Trade Legislation
According to the 11/11/01 Wall Street Journal ("Clinton Trade Deal Could Restrict Bush"):

    "The Clinton administration is racing the clock to negotiate a labor and environment friendly free-trade agreement with Singapore, an effort to set up a model for -- and perhaps limit the options of -- the Bush economic team."

    The so-called side-agreements have, in the past, been vigorously opposed by Republican leadership in the Congress. Environmentalists have, for their part, considered their reach to be too narrow. 

    I have long been deeply concerned that the criteria used by the WTO to adjudge trade disputes over so-called "non-tarriff barriers" are overwhelmingly biased against sustaining technically sound environmental regulations based upon the precautionary principle, that were never contemplated to deter trade, and which are evenly applied against home state companies and imports alike.  Indeed the WTO has been enlisted by the U.S. under the Clinton administration to work aggressively against, among other things, the precautionary principle that has been largely embraced by the European Union.

    This all would seem to create a predicament for recyclers who harbor an intuitive understanding of the value of international trade unencumbered by nakedly protectionist obstruction.  But, if "free" trade is defined to be something to encourage healthy economic interchange, not a "race to the bottom," then a further deterioration of U.S. trade positions that moves environmental issues from a low priority to a non-existent placement puts us in a predicament.

    For, we are likely to be forced to align ourselves politically with those opposing going-forward trade policies at all costs in order to preserve any opportunity for a fair hearing on our issues. That's not necessarily an ideal place to be.

                                                    Peter

_____________________________________________
Peter Anderson
RECYCLEWORLDS CONSULTING
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 231-1100/Fax (608) 233-0011
email: anderson@recycleworlds.org
web: www.recycleworlds.org




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