Business Week: Obama Warms to Global Trade

By May 1, 2009Trade

Yes, indeed, and very welcome.

In moving away from its harshest campaign rhetoric, the Administration is winning a cautious vote of approval from the business community. “I think President Obama and his key economic advisers, people like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, understand that trade is very important to our country and that the international economy is very important,” said Caterpillar (CAT) Chairman and CEO James W. Owens in an Apr. 24 briefing, just hours after he and other members of the Business Roundtable met with Kirk for the first time since he took office. “As Nixon went to China and President Clinton reached across party lines to pursue trade liberalization. I think President Obama may be positioned to do the same.

There are still some issues to work through, but I thought [Kirk] spoke quite positively about developing a trade agenda that we can move forward with this morning.”

Frank Vargo, vice-president for international economics at the National Association of Manufacturers, said: “A lot of people prognosticated that nothing would happen on trade. That has turned out not to be true. We feel we can work with this Administration.”

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