Can Trade Reform Beget Economic Recovery, Environmental Sustainability?

Apropos to the debates dominating the G20 conference in London, former U.S. Trade Rep and Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor argues for trade as the centerpiece of economic and environmental sustainability.

The article features excerpts from a speech made by Kantor at a recent event in Los Angeles, followed by a short interview.

"At the same time, there was great cynicism 15 years ago when we started those discussions about putting environmental consideration in trade agreements. There was not just skepticism; there was cynicism. It was not thought to be part of trade. Trade is subject to tariffs and subsidies-protecting intellectual property and protecting investments. We have information technology agreements, a telecom agreement, and financial services agreement-everything but protecting the environment and labor..."

"We need a new Kyoto. We need it desperately. We need it to have teeth. The World Trade Organization, which many of you look at with some skepticism, has the only mechanism in any international agreement in the world that works. We should have tied Kyoto to the WTO so anyone who violates the obligations and responsibilities under Kyoto would face trade sanctions under the WTO. That would work. Nothing gets the attention of any nation more than when you start to say, 'you can't ship your goods or services into another nation because you violated your obligations and responsibilities.'"

"...what worries me about California is what worries everyone. The infrastructure needs updating; the educational system is a real challenge. We've done well with energy use per capita in California but we need to do better."

Full Story: Former Commerce Secretary Kantor: Trade Critical to Global Warming, Economic Recovery

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