I understand why Global Trade Watch is concerned that some trade rules interfere with domestic policy autonomy and the ability to regulate. I don't agree with everything they say in this regard, but I have some sympathy for some of their views. (As seen in the last post).
But I don't get why that would lead them to avocate protectionism. You can be for the ability to regulate, but against protectionism, as many people are.
I've often wondered if they were protectionist, as sometimes their views have been stated vaguely. But here's a recent tweet of theirs:
Great letter in MN newspaper: #TPP poses a potential threat to American jobs & it's not getting enough attention. bit.ly/12Zl7Ae
And the letter says:
As our economy continues to recover, our elected officials should do everything they can to safeguard American jobs.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations pose a potential threat to hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and this fact is not getting enough attention. Vietnam, which is part of the free-trade negotiations, is pushing to get rid of a long-standing textile rule that generates revenue and jobs for the U.S.; specifically, they are trying to discard the yarn forward rule of origin.
The yarn forward rule states that for a garment to be duty free, it must originate — from the yarn stage forward — in a country that is part of the free trade agreement. If Vietnam is successful in getting this rule dropped from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, they will be able to flood the U.S. market with cheap garments made from textiles they sourced from China. This would endanger over 500,000 American textile jobs.
I hope that our representatives will not support a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement unless it includes the yarn forward rule and preserves American jobs and industry.
That's a pretty clear statement that protectionism, at least this particular instance of it, is good for the economy.
I don't know the Global Trade Watch people very well. I've had some email exchanges with Todd Tucker, who used to work there, but I've never met Lori Wallach, who is the head.
But I have met a number of people who are sympathetic to their regulatory autonomy concerns, and most of them are not protectionists. Furthermore, these people are often very interested in the plight of workers in poor countries, and would favor giving them access to the U.S. market, rather than closing that market.
So why did Global Trade Watch take this approach? Are they strong believers in protectionism? Was it just a marriage of convenience with particular allies in the fight against trade agreements? It surprises me that they have gone this particular route. Would they support any international constraints on domestic protectionism?
I don't mean to antagonize Global Trade Watch. They are free to believe whatever they want. I'm just perplexed.