April 14, 1999
Commerce Department s Trade Propaganda Tour Merely Corporate Promotion
Department and Chamber of Commerce Tag Team American Workers and Consumers
WASHINGTON — The Department of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the President s Export Council, the Business Roundtable, and the Virtual Trade Mission teamed up today to kick off their “Trade Education Roadshow.” The goal of the Administration and industry is to convince the public to support international trade measures which are unpopular with the American people.
“Instead of educating the public, Secretary Daley and his CEO pals will be the ones getting an education,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen s Global Trade Watch. “The Commerce cabal will be greeted at each stop on their road show by environmental, labor, family, farm, religious, and consumer activists — the coalition of folks who have already beaten the Administration once on Fast Track and are ready to do it again.”
The tour will visit 11 cities across the country in an attempt to mobilize support for the President s trade agenda, reminiscent of the Citizen s Trade Campaign s successful grassroots opposition to the Administration s trade positions during the 104th and 105th Congress. However, recent polling indicates the public is unwilling to enter into new trade agreements until previous trade agreements, like GATT and NAFTA, have been reviewed and repaired.
“Daley is taking a page out of CTC play book by trying to gin up support outside the beltway, but unlike the grassroots base of CTC all the Commerce Department has is Astroturf,” added Wallach.
The corporate coalitions supporting the Commerce Department and the Administration represent the very largest companies and trade associations. Secretary Daley is being joined by CEOs from Boeing, ATT and Tenneco to promote the Administration s position. The tour will focus on export industries and government partnerships with the private sector, ignoring the potential economic dislocations and environmental impacts of unregulated trade.
“While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” said Wallach of the road show, “the corporate lobby will find its trade message hard to sell to ordinary Americans who see CEOs getting richer as they are working harder than ever just to stay afloat.”