Free Trade Opponents Pose Greatest Threat to U.S. Security, Summers Says : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Free Trade Opponents Pose Greatest Threat to U.S. Security, Summers Says

By Michael McKee

Summers Says Free Trade Opponents Are Threat to U.S.

Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Opponents of expanding free trade represent the greatest threat to U.S. economic security, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said.

Summers told business and government leaders attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum that rejecting greater global integration would have ``tragic'' consequences for the country.

``A strongly integrated global economy provides the best, and the most cost-effective forward defense of United States core interests that there is,'' Summers said.

Violent protests in the streets of Seattle last December contributed to the failure of efforts to begin a new round of negotiations aimed at liberalizing trade.

Those protests spread to Davos yesterday, as demonstrators broke windows and fought with police, trying to disrupt the conference during a speech by President Bill Clinton.

Although Clinton and other leaders here have committed to increasing global trade, fear that trade is a losing political issue has been a central theme of the conference here.

Summers said more must be done, by U.S. officials and the business leaders in attendance, to convince opponents that trade can be broadened without threatening labor and environmental standards.

``Making this case more effectively to all our people will be crucial to our capacity to move forward,'' Summers said. ``Our agenda today must be to make the case for imports in all our countries.''

In the U.S., key tests for that proposition will be efforts this year to win congressional approval of normal trading status for China, as well lowering trade barriers for African and Caribbean nations, Summers said.

Supporting Reform

Summers' comments were echoed by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said that the key challenge for the U.S. is to promote not only democracy but also free trade. ``We can do much to meet this challenge by helping more people and more countries to become full participants in the world economy,'' Albright said.

Summers demurred when asked whether he sees a threat to economic security in congressional opposition to normal trade relations with China, or organized labor's opposition to virtually every trade agreement negotiated or proposed by the Clinton administration. ``The reluctance in some quarters to support participation in international organizations, or to support particular trade agreements, were it to become a pervasive pattern, does raise very real questions,'' he said. ``But I think the answer does not lie in vilifying particular groups, but in finding appropriate modes of bringing together ranges of policies that address particular concerns.''

Russia Concerns

The world, meanwhile, must continue to create more stable capital flows from the industrial countries to developing nations, he said.

That means increased transparency in public and private transactions, and more effective ways to resolve financial crises when they occur -- including reform of the International Monetary Fund, Summers said.

At the same time, the developed world must do more to support economic reform in emerging market economies, including Russia. ``Indeed, in a number of respects these countries are probably less far along the road, ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, than many Western European countries were ten years after World War II,'' he said.

While countries shape their own destiny, ``international support can make a powerful difference,'' Summers said.

Albright warned that the unfulfilled economic expectations that came with democracy to Russia could ultimately threaten the survival of that democracy.

``Such frustrations raise the risk there and elsewhere that public confidence in elected government will erode and fuel support for failed remedies from the past, including protectionism and authoritarianism,'' she said.

Debt Relief

Governments can help by increasing efforts to provide debt relief to the world's poorest countries, including the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative being pushed by the Group of Seven industrial nations, he said. That group jointly owe about $27 billion.

The IMF is in the process of revaluing it's gold stock to provide debt write-offs to a number of nations. The Clinton administration has also promised to write off the bilateral debts of HIPC-qualified countries.

``It is good economics and good accounting to write off debts that will never be repaid,'' Summers said. ``What will be critical will be ensuring full implementation so that the poorest will see rapid results.'

Finally, Summers said the world must increase cooperation on trans-border problems, including global warming, money laundering and support for the global growth of electronic commerce. He joined Clinton in calling for support for development of vaccines to eradicate diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. ``The benefits to the United States from international integration with the rest of the world are greater today than they ever have been,'' Summers said. ``With so much to lose, the risks of disengagement are equally larger than they have ever been.''

)2000 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved.

-- Possible Impact (, January 30, 2000


Anti-American rhetoric.

-- Hokie (, January 30, 2000.

Yada,yada,yada. The oligarchs plans are succeding, Want the long term plan? Buy a copy of the Gov't sponsered report,"The Report From Iron Mountain" 1967,Dial Press, and you'll find just how long these sellout shitheels have been planning this NWO coup. Vote REFORM or you can kiss the Constitution farewell.Free trade is not free,Fair trade is.

-- P.Henry (mobilize@redcoatsare, January 30, 2000.

No free lunch and no free trade. FAIR TRADE will keep us free.

-- WTO Sucks (Can't@ believe this, January 30, 2000.

Report from Iron Mountain was a forgery written during the Vietnam war. It was supposed to be the transcript of a meeting of US elites worrying about how peace would be bad for profits.

It was probably true in the sense of how the elite felt, but it was false in the sense it was a bogus: no such meeting ever occurred; the entire book was the work of one individual who came forward a few years ago to confess.

-- Tom, Dick or Harry (, January 30, 2000.

Well, there's free trade and then there is free trade. The Clinton Adm's version is that we are dependent on the rest of the world for our goods and impose no tariffs on it; while the Chinese (for example) impose 40% tariffs on any goods from the U.S. As long as the U.S. is brought down to a third-world nation, then it's free trade. And if we complain about, then we are threat.


-- Y2kObserver (, January 30, 2000.

Poor guy held out for years right ? Must have been new mind control methods , or did "they" only have to sent him a few body parts from the immediate family , before he ' caved ' ? L.J.

-- Little John (, January 30, 2000.

Lawrence Summers is quoted frequently at . He believes that the amount of petroleum left to be recovered is irrelevant...that only the price matters.

-- Sand (, January 30, 2000.

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