Peterson Institute publications
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
RSS News Feed Search

Policy Brief 07-5

American Trade Politics in 2007: Building Bipartisan Compromise

by I. M. Destler, Peterson Institute for International Economics

May 2007

View full document [pdf]


The May 10, 2007, congressional–executive branch agreement, labeled "A New Trade Policy for America," establishes a bipartisan foundation of confidence and trust and provides new language for pending free trade agreements (FTAs). Most important is the accord on inclusion of core labor standards, a matter of sharp partisan division over the past decade. The new trade policy also includes a range of environmental provisions, a new balance between intellectual property rights and trading partners' health needs, provisions on post security and US investor rights, and a general "strategic worker assistance and training (SWAT) initiative." The agreement was reached after four months of negotiations between key House Democrats—with Representative Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in the lead—and US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C. Schwab, with ranking Ways and Means Republican Jim McCrery engaged throughout. Rangel had decided early that bipartisan accord on trade was possible and staked his reputation on bringing it about, working carefully with colleagues of both parties, persisting when hopes receded. His wisdom in reaching out to McCrery was vindicated as the ranking Republican worked assiduously and effectively to find compromises on the toughest issues. USTR Schwab recognized early that trade policy needed a new bipartisan base and that Rangel offered the only realistic hope of achieving it. She showed flexibility in making necessary concessions early and persistence in concluding the agreement. The base in substantive understanding and trust that the accord builds will be helpful if and when Congress addresses broader issues like renewal of trade promotion authority (TPA), which is necessary for completion of the multilateral Doha Round. But TPA extension is unlikely to be enacted until there is sufficient progress in the Doha talks to make it worth the necessary investment of time and political capital by the administration, Congress, and private interests.
Spanish language version [pdf]


RELATED LINKS

Book: Bridging the Pacific: Toward Free Trade and Investment between China and the United States October 2014

Book: Economic Normalization with Cuba: A Roadmap for US Policymakers April 2014

Book: Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership January 2013

Book: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Asia-Pacific Integration: A Quantitative Assessment November 2012

Policy Brief 12-21: How Can Trade Policy Help America Compete? October 2012

Book: The Long-Term International Economic Position of the United States April 2009

Op-ed: New Imbalances Will Threaten Global Recovery June 10, 2010

Op-ed: How Best to Boost US Exports February 3, 2010

Paper: Submission to the USTR in Support of a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement January 25, 2010

Working Paper 09-2: Policy Liberalization and US Merchandise Trade Growth, 1980–2006 May 2009

Policy Brief 09-2: Buy American: Bad for Jobs, Worse for Reputation February 2009

Paper: Report to the President-Elect and the 111th Congress on A New Trade Policy for the United States December 17, 2008

Op-ed: The Payoff from Globalization June 7, 2005

Book: American Trade Politics, 4th edition June 2005

Op-ed: Trade: An Opportunity About to Be Lost? May 20, 2011