The Episcopal Church has joined a broad coalition that joins the usual free-trade proponents with those with an anti-poverty agenda:
In a March 20 letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, a pro-free trade coalition urged the completion of the Doha free trade pact and a “reaffirmation” at the leaders summit of the Group of 20 nations of the “critical importance of rejecting destructive protectionism.”
“U.S. trade and development policies that promote global economic growth, encourage poverty alleviation, increase political stability and promote openness are not only in our economic self-interest, they are in our national interest,” the letter said.
The message wasn’t especially new for free-trade supporters, but the signers were. Along with the usual suspects — groups of exporters like the Business Roundtable and Emergency Committee for American Trade — was a selection of development groups and religious organizations. They include the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bread for the World and One, the Africa development group founded by singer Bono. There were 17 signers in all.
Read it all at the Wall Street Journal blog Real Time Economics. Reuters has more coverage of the coalition and adds more about the likely direction of trade policy in the Obama administration.
From the letter:
During this difficult period for economies around the world, it is necessary to recognize that the economic welfare of Americans is inextricably linked with the well-being of men, women, and children across the globe. It is essential, therefore, that the United States reject those policies that will worsen the impact of the current economic crisis on global economic growth and development, particularly with respect to poor nations, and work instead alongside the people of these nations to further their own sustainable development. By doing so, we ultimately secure our own economic future.
In a survey of 24 as diverse as Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Brazil, France and the US, Americans are the least likely to support increasing international trade and economic globalization.