…But Pro-Trade Forces are Mustering Against Bush

From the NYTimes:

Greenspan Warns Against ‘Creeping Protectionism’ in Trade

In an apparent criticism of the Bush administration, Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve’s chairman, said today that it was “imperative” that the “creeping protectionism” in the nation’s trade policy be reversed.

Mr. Greenspan “is getting right in the middle of this debate,” said Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, “and he is not mincing words. It’s not normal Greenspan-speak. That was as close as you get to a shot across the administration’s bow.”

And from The Economist:

George Bush’s free-trade rhetoric looks increasingly hollow

A GENERATION ago, bra-burning was a symbol of the womens’ movement. This week, bras found a new political significance—as a symbol of the Bush administration’s retreat from free trade. On November 18th, the Commerce Department announced that safeguard quotas would be imposed on imports of bras, dressing gowns and knitted fabrics from China. Future import growth in these products will be limited to 7.5%.

Until this week, the White House had restricted itself to bellicose rhetoric, usually to do with the value of the Chinese currency. Now it has crossed the Rubicon. “This is only the beginning,” bragged one textile lobby group this week. More anti-Chinese safeguards will hardly induce the Chinese to open their own markets. Indeed, on November 20th China’s commerce ministry announced it would raise tariffs “on some commodities imported from the United States.”