Soros wrote an essay in the New York Review of Books this month urging improvement in the U.S. relationship with China. And to achieve that goal, he urged Congress to deny President Obama fast-track trade authority.
Obama wants to use this authority to help implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement with Asia that excludes China.
Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, offers a scathing critique
of Soros's "rambling" essay in a Washington Post blog item titled "The dumbest argument against Trade Promotion Authority I’ve seen yet."
"Does Soros have any knowledge of the history of U.S. trade policy?" Drezner asks. The essay was written "as if trade promotion authority is some new and sinister way to 'deprive Congress of its right to introduce amendments."
But some sort of trade promotion authority for presidents has existed for decades, Drezner says. Indeed, "it has been the primary means through which trade deals have been passed by Congress," he explains. "This version of TPA is weaker than previous iterations of it."
In addition, Soros' claim that TPA is being "railroaded" through Congress is "laughable to anyone who has been following the long, slow, tortuous process of congressional-executive negotiations," Drezner maintains.
A Senate vote Tuesday finally cleared the way for congressional approval of the authority.
Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has expressed major objections to Obama's quest for free-trade agreements with both Asia and Europe.
"The fundamental problem [is that] America’s current trade policy makes it nearly impossible to enforce rules that protect hard-working families, but very easy to enforce rules that favor multinational corporations," she writes in
The Boston Globe.
"For example, anyone who wishes to enforce rules that impose labor or environmental standards must plead with our government to bring a claim on their behalf .... The Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations have rarely brought such claims, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of violations."
Strong enforcement is necessary so that "American workers won’t have to compete against 50-cent-an-hour foreign laborers," and so that countries with "terrible environmental records" follow through on promises to raise their standards, Warren says.
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