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Clinton s Visit to Harley-Davidson Plant in York, Pa., Rife with Irony, Hypocrisy

Nov. 10, 1999

Clinton s Visit to Harley-Davidson Plant in York, Pa.,
Rife with Irony, Hypocrisy

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen s Global Trade Watch, on the Clinton Administration s Trade PR Day

It is the height of hypocrisy that President Clinton is spending the administration s so-called “Trade Education Day” at the Harley-Davidson factory in York, Pennsylvania. Harley-Davidson exists today because of efforts by the Bush administration to enforce U.S. anti-dumping trade laws in the late 1980s.

Use of the same U.S. trade law by the Clinton administration was what American steelworkers and the steel industry requested when facing below-cost steel dumped from Asia and Russia. President Clinton absolutely refused to use the law. He also announced that this U.S. trade law was in violation of the World Trade Organization rules. These are the very global trade rules that President Clinton pushed through Congress and now seeks to expand at the WTO Ministerial in Seattle later this month.

The so-called Trade Education Day is one stop on Commerce Secretary Daley s “Trade Education Tour.” That tour has clearly demonstrated the disconnect between the administration and the American people. On each of Daley s past stops he has been hounded by demonstrators from the labor, environmental and consumer movements. The Commerce Department tour, sponsored in part by large business lobbies, has failed to energize the public behind the administration s corporate-managed trade agenda.

On Thursday, Secretary Daley will return to the “Education Tour,” and without the security cordon that surrounds the president, will have to face an American public more skeptical of the administration s trade policies than ever. Witness yesterday s Zogby International poll performed for Reuters News that found that two-thirds of Americans don t want increased trade with China unless it is linked to human and religious rights. The administration needs to change these policies, not hitch a ride on Harley’s successes, which were no thanks to the Clinton administration.