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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Thursday, February 26, 2004

    Toeing the line on trade 

    To trade or not to trade? That is the question voters are asking the Democratic candidates. A tricky question, too, for candidates visiting busy exporting states in the morning and Rust Belt states that same afternoon.

    California, the nation's second-largest exporting state, depends on trade to keep its economy humming. Offshoring, the trend toward moving skilled jobs to places like India, may be stoking the fears of some. But analysts say California voters also know the benefits of free trade. So do political donors, particularly in Silicon Valley, where many owe their fortunes to open borders.

    In Ohio, on the other hand, many workers have seen plants close in the face of foreign competition. Workers at a small aluminum factory outside Youngstown asked John Kerry about his support of current U.S. free trade policies.

    "We need trade in the U.S. We can't just shut the door and not trade,'' said Kerry, who has taken heat from other Democratic candidates for his 1993 vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    "But you don't abandon common sense," continued Kerry, who said that as president he would set up an exhaustive review of all trade agreements and "level the playing field'' where there are inequities. "We would look for where there is unfairness and for where the playing field is tilted."

    - Ellen Dunkel, Knight Ridder Digital

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:29 AM



    This blog is compiled and edited by:

  • Ellen Dunkel, producer for Knight Ridder Digital's National Desk.
  • John Murrell, minister of information for SiliconValley.com.

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