Corrections or additions?
This article by Melinda Sherwood was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
on December 8, 1999. All rights reserved.
The outcome of the World Trade Organization discussions
could mean a lot to New Jersey’s businesses, which see roughly $22
billion a year in international sales. But the biggest barrier to
international trade in this state, says Congressman Rush Holt,
who represents residents in the 12th District, is not something that
the federal government can regulate at all.
"The biggest obstacle to even more trade is not tariff barriers
or even some of these things that we want to negotiate away —
it’s simply new ideas," he says. "The more we invest in
and development, the more New Jersey is seen as a center of this,
the more we will be seen in a position to export the results of our
good research ideas."
Congressman Holt is the guest speaker at the International Trade
meeting on Thursday, December 9, at the Nassau Club. The International
Trade Network, formed in 1995, is an association of executive level
decision makers from leading regional manufacturing and service
dedicated to furthering the globalization of central New Jersey
A freshman Congressman, Holt abandoned physics for politics. He is
a solar physicist who has taught at Swarthmore and Princeton, and
until last year was assistant director at the Plasma Physics
Despite the violence and disruption in Seattle over the past week,
Holt still believes that it’s possible for labor and other protesters
of the WTO and corporations to find a middle ground in the free trade
issue. "I’m afraid that the bigger picture of international trade
will be overshadowed by the disruptions in Seattle," he says.
"Overall we want policies that are premised on opening markets
and making the most of existing markets — rules that insure
fair play, stability, and domestic policies that help U.S. businesses
Standardization of rules — regarding labor and environment, among
other things — will be key. "What we would like to have is
trade as free as we have among the states of the United States,"
he says. "And we can trade freely because there are standards
of environmental protection that vary only slightly, but there is
not blatant exploitation of the environment, and there are not blatant
variations in working conditions. We would like to have an
regime of accepted standards and I think they are possible."
Finally, says Holt, the success of free trade really hinges on the
ability of New Jersey businesses to stay on the cutting edge of
"New Jersey has been able to come up with good ideas that the
rest of the world wants," he says. "If we have good ideas,
there are plenty of opportunities out there."
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