An economic crisis is no time to tie the hands of government in the economy. It is time to rethink the free trade model.
|Changes include mandating long-term exclusive intellectual property protection|
The path to "free trade"—as defined by George Bush and his predecessors—is currently at a crossroads. The Obama presidency, the growing number of developing countries that oppose NAFTA-like trade agreements, and the global economic crisis are interrelated factors that provide an opportunity to rethink this model and demand conditions favoring equitable development.
Through its ideology and practices, the Bush administration depicted free trade as the sine qua non of all modern progress, including economic growth, security, and even personal freedom. When representatives of the U.S. government faced opposition in the WTO and other multilateral institutions, they focused on bilateral free trade agreements and agreements with small groups of countries with less negotiating power. The North American Free Trade Agreement was the model and Latin America the region where they channeled their efforts. Bush has signed agreements with 10 countries in the region and has recently pushed hard for Colombia and Panama to be added to the list.
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