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November 07, 2007 

Washington Think Tank Issues Trade Report Entitled "Why Lou Dobbs is Winning"

Coinciding with the U.S. House of Representatives debate on the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement, The Third Way, a Washington, DC-based non-partisan think tank, today released a report entitled "Why Lou Dobbs is Winning". In the paper, the Third Way analyzes the origins of the growing anti-trade sentiment in the United States, examines the growth of neopopulism and protectionism in progressive politics and it lays out three main reasons why advocates of free trade are failing:

• A failure of vision. Free trade has succeeded when it has been linked to compelling causes, such as winning the Cold War. Today, the overall goal of U.S. engagement in the world is far less clear.

• Values trump data. Opponents of free trade appeal to values like “fairness” and “justice,” while proponents rely on data and opaque economic theory.

• An anxious middle-class. Trade proponents have not offered policies that help restore confidence to a middle-class that has been profoundly shaken by the negative impacts of globalization.

The report urges fee trade advocates to change both what they argue and how they argue on trade to communicate more effectively with the American public on the benefits of trade.

The PDF version of the report can be found here.

This evening the House began debate on H.R. 3668, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act. The House is expected to vote on the measure tomorrow. While U.S. trade with Peru is very small, this vote is being closely watched since it is the first free trade agreement to be considered since the Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives.

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