Lincicome: Obama and Free Trade

International trade lawyer and free trade blogger-libertarian, Scott Lincicome, outlines the ups and downs of President Obama’s stance on trade in yesterday’s Daily Caller.

Lincicome applauds the administration’s early free trade stance in spring 2009, but his tone quickly changes as he reviews more recent events. He claims that “[t]he White House abandoned overt free trade actions and speeches in order to secure needed health care votes from anti-trade Democrats.” Lincicome hits the nail on the head. It is clear that over the past year, the Obama administration has prioritized insider politics over the creation of sound trade policy.

Lincicome argues that Congress and the president need to pass pending free trade agreements, resolve current trade disputes with Mexico and Brazil, and pass the three pending free trade agreements, instead of focusing narrowly on the export only initiative (aka National Export Initiative, or NEI) which is currently floating around Capitol Hill. According to Lincicome, the NEI is “a one-sided, non-controversial program which seeks to expand US exports through a timid combination of margin-tweaks that most economists believe will have little effect on US trade flows.”

As noted last week, an export-only approach like the NEI ultimately hurts the U.S. and global economy. Read more about NEI here.