¿Acuerdo o golpe de Estado?

EUGENE – En 2010 participé de una reunión con la representante comercial adjunta de los Estados Unidos, Barbara Weisel, a cargo de las negociaciones para el Acuerdo Transpacífico (ATP), un amplio tratado regional de libre comercio entre Vietnam, Malasia y otros diez países de la cuenca del Pacífico, que el gobierno del presidente Barack Obama espera dejar cerrado en las próximas semanas. Entonces yo era asesor superior de la Comisión de Educación y Trabajo de la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos en materia de políticas; en ese cargo, era el principal responsable de velar en nombre de los congresistas por el cumplimiento de las normas laborales en los tratados de comercio internacionales.

La reunión se había convocado con el fin de explicar al Congreso las medidas que pensaba tomar el gobierno de Obama para evitar que países con bajos salarios que firmaran el acuerdo opusieran una competencia desleal a los trabajadores estadounidenses. Le hice a Weisel lo que me pareció una pregunta sencilla: “¿Qué postura tiene la Casa Blanca respecto del tema democracia?”. Weisel dijo que no entendía mi pregunta, de modo que le expliqué que la mayoría de los congresistas demócratas defienden el principio según el cual Estados Unidos debe abstenerse de firmar tratados de comercio con países que no sean democracias.

Principio que otras democracias comparten; por ejemplo, una cláusula similar rige para los acuerdos comerciales negociados por miembros de la Mancomunidad de Naciones (la antes llamada Mancomunidad Británica o Commonwealth). La razón es obvia: si nosotros en las democracias desarrolladas no hubiéramos tenido el derecho a protestar, manifestarnos, organizar sindicatos y votar para elegir a nuestros representantes, nunca hubiéramos puesto fin al trabajo infantil ni establecido la jornada laboral de ocho horas. Tras haber usado esos derechos para elevar nuestros niveles de vida, no deberíamos ahora poner a los trabajadores de los países desarrollados a competir directamente con trabajadores desprovistos de las libertades básicas necesarias para mejorar sus propias condiciones.

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