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Council Book Charts Strategic Course for U.S. Trade into 21st Century

January 29, 1998
Council on Foreign Relations

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January 29, 1998 - A new Council on Foreign Relations book proposes concrete ways to cut the U.S. trade deficit, to deal with commercial problems arising from Asia's economic woes, and to bring back on track the recently derailed U.S. presidential fast-track authority. The book, Trade Strategies for a New Era, offers a strategy to build the necessary bipartisan support inside the United States for trade policy and to help U.S. companies gain access to foreign markets.

Released today, Trade Strategies for a New Era: Ensuring U.S. Leadership in a Global Economy, is a collection of short chapters written by key members of Congress, former top officials of the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, expert analysts, and senior business executives. It is the result of two years of research.

The book goes beyond traditional trade concerns to address problems of global corruption, regulatory reform, environmental and labor objections to trade, and the public's growing distrust of economic globalization. The book also sheds new light on how the United States has acquired a strong competitive position in the high value-added segments of most industries-from steel to computers to textiles-even as it has yielded its dominant position for those products requiring little input from technology or skilled workers.

Unlike the political struggle that blocked passage of the measure in November, Trade Strategies deals directly with the underlying economic and policy dilemmas. Although the book's authors agree on most issues in the debate, they air their disagreements as well. On the issue of rights for labor, for example, some believe that labor concerns need to be kept out of trade negotiations altogether. Others want labor standards embodied in all trade pacts and argue that such an initiative would boost political support for trade among now-protectionist groups in the United States.

The book is edited by Geza Feketekuty, director of the Center for Trade and Commercial Diplomacy, Monterey Institute of International Studies, with Bruce Stokes, senior fellow and director of trade programs at the Council on Foreign Relations.

To order Trade Strategies for a New Era: Ensuring U.S. Leadership in a Global Economy, call the Brookings Institution Press at 1-800-275-1447 or for more information on the Council, see the website at www.foreignrelations.org.

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