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Hal S. Shapiro (2003), "A New Liberal Trade Policy Foundation", ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, vol. 9 (printemps) ; 431-41

18 mai 2003

This article examines the liberal position on trade and globalization in the United States. It argues that this position must be retooled to promote growth both at home and abroad in developing countries. First, the author describes both liberal and conservative U.S. approaches to trade, noting the central role that linkage — tying trade benefits to improved labor and environmental standards — has played for liberals. Next, the author argues that the liberal trade position is a policy at war with itself, since the quotas and tariffs used to enforce such policies have decidedly illiberal effects, hurting those whom liberals intend to help. At best, United States trade partners, and developing countries in particular, view linkage as a legitimate policy that incidentally minimizes aspects of their comparative advantage in certain sectors. At worst, linkage is viewed as a naked attempt to impose discriminatory and protectionist measures by developed countries against the goods and services of developing countries. Finally, the author argues that trade should be delinked from labor and environmental standards and that affirmative measures, such as reduced corporate taxes in exchange for improved corporate behavior, and the targeted use of subsidies, should be used to advance liberal ideas while enhancing the welfare of the average consumer and the poor.

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