By Isaac Cohen*
It used to be that the Republican Party was in favor of free trade, with the support of the influential US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organization. By contrast, the Democratic Party was skeptical about the benefits of international free trade, responding to the support of the big union federations.
Now, the President and Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue has written and op-ed in The Washington Post (July 2, 2016) saying both presidential candidates of the major parties are wrong about international trade.
President Donohue criticizes the proposals presented by the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to build tariff walls, to tear up free trade agreements and for wanting to turn the US economy inward. Additionally, the Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is also criticized, by the head of the Chamber of Commerce, for withdrawing her support to the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she promoted as Secretary of State, during President Barack Obama’s first term.
This turn away from international trade by both political parties, the head of the Chamber of Commerce concludes, is a threat for the US economy and for the more than 40 million US jobs tied to international trade.
Therefore he says, it is time “to build bridges, not walls.”
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.