The Institute hosted a luncheon meeting June 15, 2005 to release the fourth edition of I. M. (Mac) Destler’s classic book American Trade Politics. Mac presented the findings of his new edition, with a focus on its implications for Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the other current trade debates in the Congress. Since the launch of the first edition in 1986, American Trade Politics has become recognized as the standard work in its field and a “must read” for government officials and scholars and students of international economic policy.
The new edition extends Mac’s analysis to cover the 10 tumultuous years since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round and the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Over this period, the author argues that US trade politics has changed in fundamental ways. These changes have combined to greatly complicate the prospects for Congressional approval of the CAFTA-DR agreement. At the same time, the new circumstances make it conceivable to envision a grand trade-political bargain in which across-the-board trade liberalization is combined, in a new social compact, with comprehensive measures to address the needs of Americans whose lives are disrupted by trade and broader economic change. We hope the volume will contribute to a constructive outcome of these current debates.