Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Not a day goes by that policymakers don't weigh the human rights impact of their trade decisions. As former President Clinton noted, "our interdependence requires us to find ways to meet the challenges of advancing our values." Congress is about to review a bilateral free trade agreement with Colombia. They should ask whether or not this trade agreement will advance human rights and bring greater policymaker attention as to how that nation can invest in its people, advance its economy and protect its peoples' rights to political participation, freedom of association, and right to work. We found empirical and anecdotal evidence that trade agreements, can, over time, prod policymakers to do a better job of meeting their human rights obligations..... Moreover, trade can be a significant incentive to policymakers to change their behavior. It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out, and perhaps the examples in my new book-cowritten with Jamie Zimmerman, Trade Imbalance, will influence that same debate.