Bush's Trade Grade

Dec. 21, 2004
White House gets a B-.

U.S. President George W. Bush and his Administration get an overall grade of B- on their trade policies and practices from Kent A. Jones, professor of economics and chair of the economics division at Babson College in suburban Boston and author of the forthcoming book "Who's Afraid of the WTO?" Jones' grades on individual trade items, however, range from A to F.

  • The professor gives an A to U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick for getting the current Doha Round of world trade negotiations launched. Agreed to at a trade ministers meeting in Doha, Qatar in November 2001, the negotiations over industrial tariffs, agriculture, services and development have a nominal completion deadline of Jan. 1, 2005.
  • The Administration gets a B+ for gaining Congressional approval last year for the renewal of presidential fast-track authority. Now dubbed trade promotion authority, it allows the White House to send trade pacts negotiated with other nations to Congress for approval or rejection but not for amendment.
  • Jones gives the Administration a C+ for its efforts to improve intellectual property protection for American companies.
  • However, the Administration gets an F for 2002's imposition of tariffs of up to 30% on imported steel. "They raised prices for all U.S. businesses purchasing steel, reducing U.S. international competitiveness in many steel-using industries as a result," says Jones.
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