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| 7/23/2009 12:00:00 AM

Obama should shift away from free trade deals-report

Jul 23--President Barack Obama should move U.S. trade policy away from the Bush administration's focus on bilateral free trade agreements to a new approach more in line with his economic and foreign policy goals, a report recommended Wednesday.

The Bush administration negotiated trade deals with Australia, Chile, Singapore, Morocco and other small and medium-sized countries that caused divisive debates in Congress without yielding much economic benefit for the United States, the report by the Democratic Leadership Council think tank said.
 
bama should target new trade talks toward bigger economies like Japan, the European Union, Brazil, India and China and focus on removing barriers in high-wage growth sectors such as health, clean energy, and environmental technology, rather than seeking comprehensive free trade deals, it said.

The White House should "shift the trade agenda to one that directly supports its top objectives: recovery from crisis, improved relations with the world generally and Muslim states in particular, and developing new, high-tech sources for America's future growth, innovation and high-wage employment," the DLC said.

But first the Obama administration needs to "clear the decks" over the next year by working with Congress to win its approval of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama left over from the administration of former President George W. Bush, the report said.
 
Read more here.
 
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