Bush's Views On Obama's Presidency

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While there are areas of Bush’s Presidency that have been subject to criticism, an aspect which remains respected to this day is his free trade record. Throughout his tenure Bush was a staunch advocate of free market policies, often justifying his approach with American productivity. For instance in his 2006 State of the Union address Bush asserted that “with open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker” (Bush, State of Union, 2006). This unmistakeably shows Bush’s favouring of free trade policies over protectionism. This belief is, to an extent, reflected in his practice as Bush did enact a series of new trade agreements with foreign nations, something which he considered to be one of…show more content…
This is because various domestic pressures successfully pressed his government into erecting defensive protectionist trade barriers, meaning his free trade record is far from unblemished. Such defensive protectionism included the 2002 Steel Tariff ranging from 8-30% (The Economist, 2002), as well as the comprehensive textile quotas imposed on from China in order to give the US textile industry ‘breathing room’ following a surge of Chinese imports (NBC News, 2005). As was the case with his predecessor Reagan, despite Bush pioneering a free trade absolutist rhetoric, his administration were clearly willing to use defensive protectionism for domestic industries when they felt necessary. This invoking of defensive protectionism clearly aligns Bush’s trade policy with that of Obama, an alignment which is strengthened further by the common constraints that both administrations were subject to.
Unsurprisingly the US Steel industry was influential in Bush’s decision to erect trade barriers on steel imports, with their uncompetitive and politically sensitive nature proving to be a constraint on the Bush’s government’s free trade ambitions. Following a surge in foreign imports, the industry had been filing various anti-dumping cases – over one hundred in between 1999 and 2002 (Ho, 2003, pp12-13). Such pressures were solidified when the International Trade Commission ruled that imports has caused ‘serious injury’ to US steel producers (USITC, 2001). Adding further
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