FEBRUARY 22, 1996
Paul Solman looks at the development of the two major free trade agreements.
PAUL SOLMAN: Among the key points in Pat Buchanan's economic platform is the support of protectionism and a rejection of free trade and such recent agreements as the GATT, the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade, and NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Republican President George Bush heavily promoted NAFTA and in the Summer of 1992 announced the completion of negotiations.
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: This historic trade agreement will further open markets in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. And it'll create jobs and generate economic growth in all three countries. Open markets in Mexico and Canada mean more American jobs.
PAUL SOLMAN: Less than a year later, it was a Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who lobbied Congress hard for NAFTA's passage. The Democratic President echoed what had become a post-World War II consensus, emphasizing the bipartisan nature of the support for free trade.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Why are we so willing to say no to partisan politics and yes to NAFTA? I think it is because we know, as all of these have said in different ways, that NAFTA reflects this moment's expression of all the lessons we have learned in the 20th century.
PAUL SOLMAN: Though many rank and file Democrats, especially in the Labor Movement, opposed the free trade push, Clinton persisted and with support from a Republican Congress got America to sign the latest version of the global free trade agreement known as the GATT. Among other things, it created a new world trade organization.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: We have moved one step closer toward gaining broad bipartisan support for GATT. I'm pleased to announce that an understanding has been reached with Sen. Dole to reaffirm our United States sovereignty and to make sure that the reaffirmation will be protected in the GATT process. That means that the WTO will be accountable and fair and will meet our expectations.
PAUL SOLMAN: Meanwhile and ever since, throughout America, economic insecurity has, if anything, grown as trade barriers have shrunk, and that seems to have provided the opening for what's being called Bucanomics, Pat Buchanan's economic program, with its rejection of free trade.
PATRICK BUCHANAN, Republican Presidential Candidate: It's the cause of a brand new bold conservatism in American politics, a conservativism, a conservatism that looks out for the men and women of this country whose jobs have been sacrificed on the altars of trade deals done for the benefit of trans-national corporations who have no loyalty to our country and no loyalty to anybody.