Letters to the Editor
Financial Times (FT.Com) (c) 2004 The Financial Times Limited. All rights reserved.
Setting record straight over Nafta and the WTO
Sir, While I was flattered that Amity Shlaes named me US trade
representative in a prospective John Kerry administration ("On trade,
it's back to the dark ages", February 23), I would have been more
flattered if she had taken a moment to do some research on my views.
Ms Shlaes argues that I would turn the US into "a protectionist
fortress" by nullifying the North American Free Trade Agreement,
reconsidering US participation in the World Trade Organisation and
cancelling meetings with Pascal Lamy, the European Union trade
commissioner. A Google search would have informed her that my article
"Nafta Why We Hafta" was credited by the White House with being an
important factor in the Senate affirmation of the treaty.
If Ms Shlaes had simply taken the time to read my recent book, Rogue
Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions, she
would have seen that I devote a whole chapter to calling for a
strengthening of the WTO and to criticising the Bush administration's
record agricultural subsidies as well as its imposition of emergency
tariffs on steel imports, which Ms Shlaes apparently thinks are somehow
leading us into a new age of enlightenment. As for cancelling meetings
with Mr Lamy, a further reading of my book would have informed her that
I am among the advocates of a US-EU free trade agreement.
Clyde Prestowitz, President, Economic Strategy Institute