“Polarizing Trade”

Over at Tom Paine, Harley Shaiken says something that badly needs to be said: much opposition to CAFTA simply isn’t a case of “protectionism” vs. “free trade.” (Although some is.) Indeed, it’s perfectly possible to make a free trade case against CAFTA. But I like these closing paragraphs:

The issue is not free trade versus protectionism, but “smart trade” versus “polarizing trade.” Smart trade creates balanced development, while polarizing trade rewards a small circle of winners at the expense of the many.

Smart trade requires two key provisions: core labor rights, backed up by tough enforcement and a development fund targeting infrastructure and education to boost competitiveness. DR-CAFTA does neither. Instead, it condemns Central America to carry its dismal past far into the future. Rejecting it opens the possibility for freer markets and faster income growth in Central America, as well as healthier democracies.