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Winning ugly.

The term winning ugly is popular in the sports world to describe a performance that wasn't the best, but resulted in victory. I have a strong feeling that this year's presidential campaign is going to redefine what we consider winning ugly.

But I'm hoping that among all the garbage we are going to be subjected to, there will actually be an attempt to define just what the U.S. policy is on trade. This is long overdue.

It seems evident that certain trade practices are not beneficial to everyone, and yet there are no real programs of assistance to those affected, outside of the standard benefits.

Some trade policies are attempts to get targeted voters to vote a certain way. Some are implemented because a certain group didn't vote the right way. Depending on the trading partner, we may either overlook mandates of a treaty or become extremely diligent in enforcement. This shouldn't be.

Each one of us has been affected by the country's trade policy, and most of us have a rudimentary under standing of the goals. It's the means to achieving these goals that has caused the confusion: mostly because our elected officials are confused.

It appears this presidential election is going to bring trade policy to center stage, which brings the opportunity to get your voice heard. Those running for federal positions will not be able to dodge discussions on trade.

Individually, you can make sure your elected officials know your stance on NAFTA, the WTO, favored nation treaties, tariffs, protectionism or the myriad of other trade issues. Like Kevin Ott of the Rubber Manufacturers Association wrote in our January issue, if you own a business, now is the time to buttonhole your office-seeking officials to let them know your stance. Invite them for a photo-op and plant tour: they want the exposure, then talk to them.

Without a doubt, there is going to be a lot of ugly in this election. The task at hand is trying to influence policy before the election so that it isn't ugly afterward.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Smith, Don R.
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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