Investors Business Daily writes that free trade is making a comeback,
Last July, the outlook was absolutely bleak for free trade. As a recession hit in 2008 and imports posted the steepest drop since 1942, the American public looked as if it were hibernating from world engagement. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll then showed 51% of Americans saw foreign trade as an economic "threat." Radical activists and big labor unions, both foes of free trade, couldn't stop crowing.
Things have changed. A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted April 14-21 found that free-trade deals between the U.S. and other countries are now seen as "a good thing," by a margin of 44-35.
It follows a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted April 1-5 showing a 66% approval of trade with other countries as good for the U.S., rising eight percentage points in just one month. The CNN April polls used a large sample of 3,013 adults.
The highest rise in pro-free-trade sentiment was among blacks, whose opinion of free trade rose an astounding 17 points over 2008, from 30% favorable to 47% favorable.
The administration began its shift in March. At the time, IBD reported a subtle but significant shift in Obama administration sentiment at an Inter-American Development Bank conference in Medellin, Colombia. It became more obvious at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad in April, where Obama ordered his staff to find a way to get the pending treaty with Colombia through.
It's clear Obama now recognizes that free trade is a major way to push an economy out of recession.
But to get there, experts warn Obama will have to confront special interest groups, like labor, to get the pact through.
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