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Center for Trade Policy Studies

For all that freer trade has benefited North Americans -- and all other nations who have embarked on policies of trade liberalization -- the battle over the subject is so very far from over. Political candidates on both the left and the right continue to attack deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement as a destroyer of national sovereignty, unions attack it for its presumed influence on the number of jobs lost in high paying Canadian and American jobs and social activists consider freer trade nothing more than imperialism at the expense of poorer nations.

Of course, most of the current free trade deals aren't perfect. Some economists argue that the deals are exclusionary and actually set up zones of preferred trade partners, not freer trade in general, defeating the purpose of trade liberalization. Whether that's true or not, the free trade subject as a whole is dealt with marvelously by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, a web site designed to promote "public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism."

And it does the job exceedingly well. Advocates of free trade will be at home at the web site thanks to its huge resources on the subject, past and current. As an example, the center is countering the protectionist sentiments over the so-called steel "crisis" with its side of the story.

Along with that the center offers trade policy analysis, briefing papers on trade issues, speeches and testimony by free trade advocates, articles and audio and video recordings of policy forums on issues like trade relations, steel and trade with China (in Real Audio). The center even offers the opportunity for surfers to submit their own scholarly research on trade issues, links to both sides of the issue and an email list to keep you abreast of goings on at it and the Cato Institute itself.

There are plenty of web sites out there that support liberal trade policies but few have the depth of resources that The Center for Trade Policy Studies has and the backing of a high quality think tank like the Cato Institute, a favourite among many on Capitol Hill. For those interested in exploring the pro-side of the free trade debate, there can't be too many places better than this to start.




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