Reports of President Bush’s speech sound like the sort of thing you wish he’d been not only saying but doing consistently for the past four years … bq. Wednesday’s robustly worded speech was aimed at persuading voters that economic openness had been a source of the country’s growth and prosperity, and that Democratic efforts to restrict the movement of jobs abroad would hurt the economy.(“FT”:http://www.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1078381676467&p=1012571727102) But when you examine his “speech(link to transcript)”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040310–4.html more closely, the only ‘outsourcing’ he mentions is foreign outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to the USA (a Honda plant in Ohio). He criticizes alleged calls for US ‘isolationism’ and endorses the need to reduce trade barriers. But he doesn’t mention imports of services (‘outsourcing’)specifically. The International Herald Tribune “reports(link to IHT story)”:http://www.iht.com/articles/509634.html that on the same day, Bush’s Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, was picking his way much more gingerly through a hostile grilling on the outsourcing ‘controversy’ before the Senate Finance Committee (chiefly responsible for trade issues in the US Senate). The IHT summarized Zoellick’s views as: “Outsourcing was judged neither good nor bad” (my emphasis). Perhaps Zoellick hadn’t been briefed on the new pro-trade policy? Perhaps he feared that he’d be hung out to dry—like the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers was last month—when he said what any economist would say[⇒ related story]: that outsourcing is good for the economy.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher