U.S. Trade Policy: Same As It Ever Was

Late last month, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Mike Froman, trusted White House advisor, as Ron Kirk’s replacement to lead the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Though he’s new and vows to take the office into new directions, Froman’s rhetoric is far from original, according to at least one trade policy observer.

During his swearing-in ceremony, Froman, a former Citigroup managing director, promised to employ “every tool to increase exports of Made-in-America goods and services, level the playing field for our people to compete and win in the global economy and fully enforce our trade rights, while also working to foster development through trade,” according to Economic Strategy Institute’s Clyde Prestowitz, who also served as a trade official under President Reagan.

Sounds impressive, right? Well, as AJA board member Prestowitz observes in his Foreign Policy magazine blog, Froman is likely full of it. Ever since the first USTR was appointed back in 1962, the same hot air has emanated from the office. If Froman and his predecessors actually put actions behind their rhetoric, there would be no need for the USTR office.

“I have heard every new USTR since Christian Herter (the first USTR in 1962) say virtually the same thing upon being appointed and confirmed. I mean it's a mantra. They have all repeated it almost word for word. If they had all acted upon their statements, there would be no barriers today and really no need for Froman, as worthy as he may be. But they didn't mean it and neither does Froman,” Prestowitz writes.

Read the rest of the blog: http://atfp.co/11ZludT.