Commentary

Rob Portman

He’s our new trade rep. Daniel Drezner has the extended scoop. Here are some encouraging words from Portman:

As you and I have discussed, open markets and better trade relations are key components to a more peaceful, a more stable and a more prosperous world. Through expanded trade, the roots of democracy and freedom are deepened. [For more on this theme, see this paper.]And here at home, trade policy opens markets to create jobs, a higher standard of living and greater economic growth.

Drezner mentions this recent Cato paper which analyzes how members of Congress vote on trade:

An analysis of voting on 23 key issues in the 108th Congress finds that few members vote consistently for free trade. In the House, 22 Republicans and 3 Democrats opposed barriers and subsidies in more than two-thirds of the votes they cast. The most consistent free traders were Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Michael Castle (R-DE), Susan Davis (D-CA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Christopher Shays (R-CT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) … In the Senate, 15 Republicans and 9 Democrats voted as free traders. The most consistent were John Sununu (R-NH), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.