The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation has issued a bold challenge for World Trade Organization member nations to seriously examine the idea of locking in their tariffs at current applied levels. Bob Stallman says that action would deliver a real reduction in global trade barriers and serve as an incentive for global economic activity. Stallman emphasized, the times of the United States leading the world trade talks by concession are over.
While speaking to an international trade workshop in Richmond, Va., Stallman addressed the domestic economic downturn. Stallman said it is time to liberalize trade policy to avoid the mistakes made with the protectionist policies that were in effect during the depression-era.
"My most important take-home message for you today is the message we are emphasizing to President Obama and his administration: Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past," Stallman said.
Immediate steps are needed Stallman said and in these tough economic times trade can not be forgotten.
In fact, we must be more aggressive than ever in seeking markets for our products. It is not time to set up roadblocks," Stallman said. "Today, trade is contracting around the world as the global economy fails deeper into recession. Baby steps to reduce tariff barriers are of no use when nations are looking to erect new schemes to block market access."