With the 2002 slowdown in the world economy, the expansion of free trade is critically important to economic growth in the US and abroad. The US must move forward on expanding trade now, according to this report of an independent task force, led by Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Reagan White House Chief of Staff Kenneth M. Duberstein. Created to help break America's political deadlock on trade and accepting that trade expansion contributes "to economic growth by promoting investment, encouraging competition and technological innovation and reducing inflation," the task force reaches two broad conclusions. Firstly, that trade expansion, when combined with complementary domestic policies, can help address the problems cited by labour, environmentalists and others concerned with social issues. Secondarily, the US must move ahead on Trade Promotion Authority (formerly "fast track"). The task force specifically supports a formula for this process that is built into the US-Jordan trade agreement, namely that states should not relax or selectively enforce labour or environmental laws to gain trade advantage.
Publisher: Brookings Institution