Реферат: Foreign Trade In 90s Essay Research Paper

Foreign Trade In 90s Essay, Research Paper

The advances of the technological revolution have molded the evolution of the

United States? foreign trade in the 1990?s and into the new millennium.

Globalization has become the credo for the Clinton administration, and the

booming American economy has done nothing but strongly bolster this approach.

Globalization?s foothold in American policy really began in the much-debated

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was finally passed in 1994.

NAFTA specifically said one of its goals was to ?contribute to the harmonious

development and expansion of world trade and provide a catalyst to broader

international cooperation?.. However at the time that was hardly the case. But

harmonious was the last word used to describe the conflict that followed, with

labor unions fiercely opposed to losing American jobs to a borderless North

American economy and right wing Republicans equally opposed to the

anti-isolationism this bill offered. The Democratic Clinton administration had

to buck its own Democratic stronghold in Labor, to support this agreement.

However, it would be one of the chief foreign trade accomplishments of the last

decade. It?s undoubtedly boosted the economy. Allowing expansion of trade, and

decrease of trading and labor costs have made production invariably more

profitable. Following the arguable success of the NAFTA the Clinton

administration has continued an increase globalization of trade. Somewhat post

facto adopting globalization as the chief tool for expanding Democratic ideals

and American values worldwide, normalized trade relations have been sought

throughout Asia and Africa as well. China specifically has been a focus of the

administration?s efforts. Blatantly ignoring pernicious Chinese human rights

abuses in both Tibet and at home, as well as legitimate threats to national

security, when American companies were permitted to sell advanced missile and

satellite technology to China, the last decade has grown to become expansion of

trade with China at all costs. Yearly Congress debates offering China Most

Favored Nation trading status. And yearly Congress, with the strong support from

Clinton, has passed it. In very recent years, the Clinton administration has

attempted to include China into the World Trade Organization. The World Trade

Organization is a recently created body, which serves as an economic parallel to

NATO. It is the prime example of the multinational efforts to globalize trade by

forming mutualistic alliances that make it easier for members to trade between

themselves. The hope is, that eventually, all nations who meet minimum standards

will be able to join the W.T.O., and at that time we truly will have a

globalized economy. A recently passed bill also extended the global trading hand

to Africa. We now allow African nations to trade with us without tariffs, in the

hope that increased trade will boost Africa out of its desperate poverty. Africa

has long been the last frontier in the globalized trade quest. So to give

Africa, a continent rife with war, famine, AIDs, corruption and poverty a door

into the global economy was truly a milestone. Obviously, working standards and

conditions in Africa cannot keep pace with more developed nations, however

giving them the opportunity to compete in the same field as Western nations

gives them the decided advantage that this continent so desperately needs. Of

course globalization has had its detractors. Chief of which concern human &

labor rights and environmental abuses in the countries in which America has

expanded its trade. Many complain that giving access to products made by abused

workers or by companies that pollute the environment only propagate these

terrible international problems. For instance NAFTA specifically stated that

expanding free trade throughout North America was only applicable to companies

that met acceptable working standards. However, defining ?acceptable? is

tougher job then just writing it in some legislation. Presently, one American

employee for a steering-wheel plant makes approximately $10.46 per hour,

compared to his Mexican counterpart, who makes about $0.75 per hour. Working

conditions, health and safety standards are also drastically below American

standards. And, as labor unions portended approximately 400,000 manufacturing

jobs have been lost in the United States, and have been subsequently gained in

Mexico. So far, companies like Thompson Consumer Electronics, Jay Garment, Magne

Tek, Uniroyal, Goodrich and Breed Technologies have moved at least 107 plants in

Indiana alone to Mexican plants. So if we know that labor and environmental

rights are being abused in Mexico, is it still in our best interest to expand

trade to them? The questions surrounding MFN for China or inclusion into the

W.T.O. are even more confusing. Because in Mexico, where the results are quite

debatable, and while standards might be below our par, we may be able to admit

the whole world does not need to operate on our par. However, in China, such

questions do not exist. China maliciously curbing religion and political

freedom, as seen by the violent suppression of the Falon Gong in the interior,

and the massive abuse and systematic elimination of Tibetan Buddhists. China is

the world?s largest polluter (although, to be fair, they are also the most

populous nation), and have virtually no enforced environmental standards on the

products they produce. Working conditions are known to be criminally unfair and

unsafe for workers. Nevertheless, China is still our most sought after trading

partner. Those with a stronger conscience find it hard giving China advantages

in trading when its abuses are so rampant and obvious. When one notices that the

United States has full-fledged embargoes in place on Cuba and North Korea, two

other communist countries, for lesser human rights violations, the hypocrisy

becomes rather evident. When Bill Clinton took office he too said that expanding

trade would be conditional. That our trading hand would only be extended to

those that met certain minimal expectations. However, he quickly abandoned those

pledges upon taking office, in favor of the philosophy that increased trading

with lesser-standard nations can only serve to increase standard of living

ratings in those countries. It is a trickle-down notion and something somewhat

hard to swallow from a Democratic president. In the end it is a balance of power

between the concerns of the masses and might of the roaring economy that will

hopefully win out. However, avariciousness is an all too common human failing,

and we as a species will be hard-pressed to take both what is good and what is

right into consideration when trekking into the future.

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