The President’s strong free trade language in Strasbourg
I would like to compliment and thank President Obama for saying this in Strasbourg, France last Friday:
As we take these steps, we also affirm that we must not erect new barriers to commerce; that trade wars have no victors. We can’t give up on open markets, even as we work to ensure that trade is both free and fair. We cannot forget how many millions that trade has lifted out of poverty and into the middle class. We can’t forget that part of the freedom that our nations stood for throughout the Cold War was the opportunity that comes from free enterprise and individual liberty.
I know it can be tempting to turn inward, and I understand how many people and nations have been left behind by the global economy. And that’s why the United States is leading an effort to reach out to people around the world who are suffering, to provide them immediate assistance and to extend support for food security that will help them lift themselves out of poverty.
All of us must join together in this effort, not just because it is right, but because by providing assistance to those countries most in need, we will provide new markets, we will drive the growth of the future that lifts all of us up. So it’s not just charity; it’s a matter of understanding that our fates are tied together — not just the fate of Europe and America, but the fate of the entire world.
The President’s words have meaning, especially when he is speaking overseas. It is particularly important that he said this in France. French farm subsidies and politics are a key stumbling block on the road to a Doha global free trade agreement.
I wish the President’s negotiators had pushed for language like this in the final G-20 statement.