Schwab vows to maintain Bush free trade agenda
Susan C. Schwab, President Bush’s pick for the next U.S. trade representative, told senators at her confirmation hearing Tuesday that she would maintain the administration’s aggressive pursuit of bilateral free trade agreements.
Schwab, who is the country’s deputy U.S. trade representative, told the Senate Finance Committee that she’s a “free trade activist and a free trade pragmatist.”
“Why do I believe in free and fair trade?” she said. “Open trade has a long and compelling track record of success.”
Schwab led recent efforts to develop free trade agreements with Peru and Colombia. She was involved in the World Trade Organization Doha Round strategy and participated in the December Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong. She also helped recently resolve the 20-year trade dispute over Canadian softwood lumber.
There are other U.S. free trade agreement negotiations underway with Korea and Malaysia, in addition to ongoing work in the area of agricultural trade in the WTO Doha Round. “The average U.S. tariff in agriculture is 12 percent, compared to a 62 percent global average tariff,” Schwab said.
Schwab warned, however, that “rising public anxiety and polarizing debates about trade-liberalizing agreements” may erode the country’s momentum to secure other free trade deals. “As public officials, we must resist feeding apprehension and fear,” she said.