Foreign Trade In 90s
The advances of the technological revolution have molded the evolution of the

United Statesí foreign trade in the 1990ís and into the new millennium.

Globalization has become the credo for the Clinton administration, and the
booming American economy has done nothing but strongly bolster this approach.

Globalizationís foothold in American policy really began in the much-debated

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was finally passed in 1994.

NAFTA specifically said one of its goals was to "contribute to the harmonious
development and expansion of world trade and provide a catalyst to broader
international cooperation". However at the time that was hardly the case. But
harmonious was the last word used to describe the conflict that followed, with
labor unions fiercely opposed to losing American jobs to a borderless North

American economy and right wing Republicans equally opposed to the
anti-isolationism this bill offered. The Democratic Clinton administration had
to buck its own Democratic stronghold in Labor, to support this agreement.

However, it would be one of the chief foreign trade accomplishments of the last
decade. Itís undoubtedly boosted the economy. Allowing expansion of trade, and
decrease of trading and labor costs have made production invariably more
profitable. Following the arguable success of the NAFTA the Clinton
administration has continued an increase globalization of trade. Somewhat post
facto adopting globalization as the chief tool for expanding Democratic ideals
and American values worldwide, normalized trade relations have been sought
throughout Asia and Africa as well. China specifically has been a focus of the
administrationís efforts. Blatantly ignoring pernicious Chinese human rights
abuses in both Tibet and at home, as well as legitimate threats to national
security, when American companies were permitted to sell advanced missile and
satellite technology to China, the last decade has grown to become expansion of
trade with China at all costs. Yearly Congress debates offering China Most

Favored Nation trading status. And yearly Congress, with the strong support from

Clinton, has passed it. In very recent years, the Clinton administration has
attempted to include China into the World Trade Organization. The World Trade

Organization is a recently created body, which serves as an economic parallel to

NATO. It is the prime example of the multinational efforts to globalize trade by
forming mutualistic alliances that make it easier for members to trade between
themselves. The hope is, that eventually, all nations who meet minimum standards
will be able to join the W.T.O., and at that time we truly will have a
globalized economy. A recently passed bill also extended the global trading hand
to Africa. We now allow African nations to trade with us without tariffs, in the
hope that increased trade will boost Africa out of its desperate poverty. Africa
has long been the last frontier in the globalized trade quest. So to give

Africa, a continent rife with war, famine, AIDs, corruption and poverty a door
into the global economy was truly a milestone. Obviously, working standards and
conditions in Africa cannot keep pace with more developed nations, however
giving them the opportunity to compete in the same field as Western nations
gives them the decided advantage that this continent so desperately needs. Of
course globalization has had its detractors. Chief of which concern human &
labor rights and environmental abuses in the countries in which America has
expanded its trade. Many complain that giving access to products made by abused
workers or by companies that pollute the environment only propagate these
terrible international problems. For instance NAFTA specifically stated that
expanding free trade throughout North America was only applicable to companies
that met acceptable working standards. However, defining "acceptable" is
tougher job then just writing it in some legislation. Presently, one American
employee for a steering-wheel plant makes approximately $10.46 per hour,
compared to his Mexican counterpart, who makes about $0.75 per hour. Working
conditions, health and safety standards are also drastically below American
standards. And, as labor unions portended approximately 400,000 manufacturing
jobs have been lost in the United States, and have been subsequently gained in

Mexico. So far, companies like Thompson Consumer Electronics, Jay Garment, Magne

Tek, Uniroyal, Goodrich and Breed Technologies have moved at least 107 plants in

Indiana alone to Mexican plants. So if we know that labor and environmental
rights are being abused in Mexico, is it still in our best interest to expand
trade to them? The questions surrounding MFN for China or inclusion into the

W.T.O. are even more confusing. Because in Mexico, where the results are quite
debatable, and while standards might be below our par, we may be able to admit
the whole world does not need to operate on