Support for free trade long has transcended party. Open international markets offer enormous economic benefits. However, four free trade agreements are now stuck before Congress, awaiting its approval, and the president's "fast track" negotiating authority expired on June 30. The Bush administration and Congress must work together to maintain America's leadership role in promoting the freedom of Americans
The U.S. currently dominates the globe, but many Americans are uneasy about future competition from China. Much depends on getting U.S.-China policy "right." But Washington is operating from a position of strength and should engage China without fear. America should peacefully confront Beijing over economic and security issues. Moreover, the U.S. should push free trade throughout Asia, cooperate on China policy with friendly states, and put the American economy in order.
International trade liberalization has stalled, so the U.S. must press ahead with bilateral and regional arrangements. Ratifying the newly negotiated Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea would benefit both nations. Moreover, a Korean FTA would help match growing Chinese regional influence. The U.S. can best respond by using its enduring economic strength to engage friendly nations throughout Asia.
Proposals for energy independence are decidedly unserious. If officials believe America faces a crisis, they should propose the equivalent of a new Manhattan Project. In any case, the best energy policy is leaving the marketplace free to adapt to changing conditions.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome has receded since the epidemic of 2003, but it could one day come back with a vengeance. The world is relying on the pharmaceutical industry to develop a vaccine and effective treatment against SARS and other diseases. Yet drugmakers are being vilified and facing increasing difficulty doing business, hampering their efforts to find a cure for such diseases.
The reimportation of prescription drugs is being pushed not only by big government regulators but also by misguided free market advocates. The result: the effective imposition of foreign price controls on U.S. drug markets and the further erosion of genuine competition. But the cost could be worse than money. Governments that control drug prices routinely sacrifice their people's health in order to save money.
Proponents claim that legalizing prescription drug reimportation from overseas countries will lower the cost of drugs to U.S. consumers, and some proponents claim that allowing reimportation is a "free trade" issue. But reimportation is a Trojan Horse for importing the deficient regulatory regimes of foreign countries, rather than importing their prices.
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