Trade policy must discourage 'race to bottom' for US workers, says trade rep

US trade representative Michael Froman says Obama's trade policy includes trying to 'level the playing field' for US firms and workers. To that end, currency manipulation by other countries is one concern.

Michael Bonfigli/ The Christian Science Monitor
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman at the St. Regis Hotel on Sept. 26, 2013 in Washington.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman was sworn in as the 11th US trade representative in June. Mr. Froman was the guest at the Sept. 26 Monitor Breakfast. 

The administration's trade philosophy:

"We have [to] ... assure that we are pursuing trade ... in a way that levels the playing field for American workers, American firms, and raises standards and [does] not encourage a race to the bottom."

Dealing with Congress on trade:

"We have enormous engagement with them every step of the way ... to ensure that we can develop and implement trade policy that has the broadest possible bipartisan support...."

How trade deals are done:

"Oftentimes the bulk of the work gets done at the very last minute."

A letter from 60 senators calling for action against currency manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks:

"We share a number of the concerns that have been expressed about currency and its impact on trade and are continuing to be in consultation with Congress and stakeholders...."

The budget sequester's effect on the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR):

"We are not able to fill positions ... and [are] not able to travel to negotiations or to enforcement actions the way that [we] would like to [in order] to fulfill [our] responsibilities."

A survey finding that in 2012 USTR workers had the worst morale of any small government agency:

"A big part of this is resources ... we are engaging with them about how to best achieve our objectives within the limited constraints."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.