MetalMiner on Pigs and Lipstick

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Global Trade

After a couple of benign articles on Sarah Palin earlier this week which we penned here and here, we wanted to get down to the more meaningful task of analyzing each ticket’s platform on the issues most relevant to those in the manufacturing industry. Now you and I both know that we are going to vote with our pocketbooks so why not take a fun look at the issues from a business perspective?

I’ll simplify this analysis because nobody can be bothered with a 1000 word essay. So let’s start by looking at a few macro issues relevant to many or all of you:

1. Trade policy

2. Manufacturing sector policies

3. Tax policy

We’ll cover one issue per day over the course of this week. Here is what each have to say on trade policy:

Trade Policy

Obama: According to Obama’s website Obama’s website the major tenets of his trade policy include the following: fight for free trade meaning pressure the WTO to stop foreign governments from subsidizing exports, do not support CAFTA, amend NAFTA (no indication of what would be amended), improve transition assistance (e.g. job training), end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas (editor’s note: I’m not clear if the existing tax breaks are provided as an incentive to move jobs offshore. I’m sure they are not) and reward companies that support American workers. There are few specifics on each of these though there are some criteria laid out on Obama’s website in terms of what US companies would need to be doing to capture the tax breaks.

McCain: According to McCain’s website the major tenets of his trade policy include the following: increase multi-lateral, bi-lateral and regional trade deals to reduce trade barriers and create a more level global playing field, improve education by creating more parental choice, overhaul unemployment insurance system and improve job training. There are also few specifics on McCain’s position.

This is a gross over-simplification of each candidate’s position on global trade. But from everything that I have read, McCain appears to support free trade more than Obama. The stakes could not be higher. Consider this comment from
World Trade Magazine regarding the ability of any new president to revive the latest Doha round of trade talks, “But drift in the multilateral negotiating process may free countries to go their own way andparticularly in the context of a potential worldwide economic slowdownunleash creeping trade restrictions that close markets to U.S. exports.” As a fervent free trader and someone who likes to see significant supply market competition in all sourcing initiatives, I’m going to have to call Senator McCain on trade policy. We’ll cover the other issues later this week.

–Lisa Reisman

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