I oppose Free Trade, as it is generally practiced. I'm in favor of Fair Trade. Here's one reason why: here in the U.S., and in some other countries, we have come to understand the dangers of pollution. We now have laws in place regulating air and water pollution. These laws increase the cost of manufacturing in the United States. Many other countries do not have laws like this, or do not enforce them, and so have lower production costs. Therefore American manufacturers cannot compete against nations with lower production costs. What American consumers are doing is choosing clean air and water for us, but consigning many members of the third world to lives threatened by manufacturing pollution. This does not seem fair and just.

Much of our manufacturing is now done in China, at great environmental cost. Here is a UPI story, linked on Drudge, on the new Chinese record set in August for days of acid rain. China currently leads the world in sulfur dioxide emissions, which forms acid rain when mixed with water. If things continue, I think we soon will see airborne pollution over the US from China.

Answer: fair trade, not free trade. I think we should not import goods manufactured by plants that would not meet US safety and pollution standards. To do otherwise is to destroy our own manufacturing base, and to help create pollution abroad.