Dealing with Labor and Environment Issues in Trade
This November, trade ministers from the United States and more than 100 other countries will gather in Doha, Qatar, with the goal of launching a new multilateral round of trade negotiations. Space permitting, hundreds or thousands of protestors will also gather to condemn the unwillingness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to give more serious attention to the negative consequences of globalization for workers and the environment. As in Seattle in 1999, however, the number of protestors in the streets will be less important in determining the outcome in Doha than whether or not US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has "trade promotion authority" from the US Congress to bolster his position. Without it, any WTO commitment to negotiate is likely to be weak. But getting it will require that the administration and Congress find a way to address the labor and environment concerns of key constituents in this country, while still preserving enough flexibility for Mr. Zoellick to be able to negotiate effectively at the international table.
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