By Alan Verne Deardorff, Robert Mitchell Stern
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He notes that journalists are inherently oversimplifiers of complex issues in an effort to make the issues understandable to their readers. Stroud characterizes himself as favoring a relatively open trading system, but this has not always been easy to defend in cities like Detroit where it has been widely believed that trade is a danger rather than a boon to its residents. He cites some particular issues that journalists must confront in their reporting on trade matters in the popular press: (1) how to evaluate supposed expert opinion and make sure it is reflected accurately in reporting, opinion writing, and op-ed pages; (2) given the increasing fragmentation of the means of communication, how to provide serious continuity of coverage of trade issues; and (3) how to draw especially on the academic community for help in informing the press and the public on trade issues.
At the present time, the political contributions approach of Grossman and Helpman is the state of the art in the political economy of trade policy, and it has indeed proven to be a useful and versatile analytical framework. Its authors have succeeded in applying the approach not only to the original problem of explaining tariffs, but also to explaining competition and cooperation in tariff setting, the politics of free trade areas, and other issues. These political economy models have moved us well beyond the limited understanding of international trade policies that we had before they were developed.
However, the Clinton Administration experienced difficulty in getting the Congress to go along, so that Chile's entry has been put on hold. For this now to go forward in the second Clinton Administration, it will most likely require fast-track negotiating authority, which is something that the Congress may not be in the mood to grant, particularly if it includes such things as labor and environmental standards. The Asian issues concern the United States trying to expand its access to Japan's market and how to deal with China on such matters as support for human rights, insufficient intellectual property protection, and discriminatory barriers involving imports and foreign direct investment.