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Sept. 21, 2010

In Advance of Corporate Services Summit, Public Citizen Points to Slower Services Export Growth to Trade Deal Partners

Statement of Todd Tucker, Research Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch*

This week, global services firms will descend on Washington to push former President George W. Bush’s leftover, flawed trade deals.

Financial corporations and other large firms have long told Americans that the service industry is their lunch ticket to the future, and we should pass more NAFTA-style deals to secure America’s place in the new global division of labor. In fact, whether you look at goods or services, U.S. exports to our trade deal partners have grown more slowly than to other countries, as new research from Public Citizen shows. Moreover, the services export performance gap with our trade pact partners is particularly pronounced for the more recent bilateral deals.**

Moreover, concerns are growing that the services provisions of trade deals promote the deregulation behind the financial crisis. For instance, our bilateral trade deals replicate and go beyond some World Trade Organization (WTO) rules that constrain nations’ ability to prevent and respond to financial meltdowns. Bans on dangerous financial instruments, policies to stem destabilizing capital floods and flights, and even size limitations on large banks – all these policy options are on the trade deal chopping block. Absent revisions, bilateral deals like Bush’s Korea trade pact or the WTO Doha Round proposals would only give more room for attacks on financial stability policies.

We would be in a much better place if President Barack Obama would simply begin to implement the trade reforms promised during his campaign, rather than push flawed trade deals that fail even on their own terms.

* Todd Tucker is research director for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and co-author of the new report, “Lies, Damn Lies and Export Statistics: How Corporate Lobbyists Distort Record of Flawed Trade Deals.” He is available throughout the week to discuss the summit and Public Citizen’s new report.

** The U.S. government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes detailed services trade data on only 34 countries, including some FTA and some non-FTA countries. Our findings for goods trade is based on data for all countries.

Public Citizen’s report is available at http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4398.

For more information on deregulation provisions of trade deals, visit http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=783.

For information on the Global Services Summit 2010, see http://www.uscsi.org/ServicesSummit2010.html.
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