Sunday, December 24, 2006

Free Trade with America Hurts Europe?

Imagine that this was written in the early 1800s, when Europeans might have seen globalization, and trade with America as a threat to their standard of living, in the same way that Americans today view China and India:

"How Free Trade with America Hurts Europe"

"That is what's at stake when we talk about trade policy: Europe's middle class and the European Dream.

The new mobility of goods with advances in global shipping, makes production of goods possible throughout much of the New World. Workers in the Americas are grossly underpaid, exploited and abused, and they have virtually no rights. Many, including children, work 10, 12, 14 hours a day in the New World, six or seven days a week, for only a few pence a day.

The result has been a global race to the bottom as British and French corporations troll the world for the cheapest labor, the fewest health, safety and environmental regulations, and the governments most unfriendly to labor rights. European trade agreements paved the way for this race: While rejecting protections for American workers or the environment, they protected European investors and corporate interests.

The results of such trade agreements are skyrocketing trade deficits with the USA as we import its cheap goods, and downward pressure on income and benefits for European workers. Why? Because these agreements enable countries to ship what their low-wage workers produce to the UK and France, while blocking many European products from entering their countries.

Millions of Europeans have lost their jobs as European corporations moved production overseas to build the same products with cheap foreign labor in the Americas. We must insist that all trade agreements have labor, environmental and other protections so that European workers can compete on a level playing field."

Paraphrased from this article in the
Washington Post.


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