- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2000

Free trade vs. WTO's version of free trade

Daniel T. Griswold makes some valid points in "Trading truth for trade fictions" (Commentary, Dec. 27), but he also expresses some fiction, too.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;First, organizations and people opposed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) are not necessarily opposed to "free trade." Most opponents of the WTO are trying to promote fair trade.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Second, Mr. Griswold's assertion that only a handful of trade sanctions have been imposed is misleading because many of the "offending" countries end up complying with the WTO because they cannot afford the financial penalties they would be forced to pay.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Third, it is somewhat laughable to claim trade expansion improves workers' conditions and the WTO "demonstrators received zero sympathy from elected governments of poor countries." Are we supposed to believe this is because these governments are more concerned with environmental and labor rights than powerful multinational corporations? This is unlikely. Mr. Griswold fails to mention that the AFL-CIO collected pro-labor endorsements from more than 100 labor organizations around the world, many from the poorest countries.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;It is not fair to use the term protectionist (protectionism is a good policy in some cases) or anti-free traders to describe people and groups who would like a voice in policies that affect them.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;It appears as though Mr. Griswold and many Democrats and Republicans alike prefer to place the interests of multinational corporations and profits above human and environmental rights.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;It is a question of control: We are simply replacing big government with powerful corporations. It seems as though democracy is taking a back seat to the interests of global capitalism.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Let's have free and fair trade.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;PAUL DEFILIPPES
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Washington

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