An Almost Free Trade Agreement

Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile called it a "historic achievement." U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick described the deal as "very excellent." After four weeks of legal scrubbing, the text of the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement was released to the public last week; its thousand or so pages of trade legalese left readers wishing for the shiny simplicities of the spin doctors and politicians. In a perfect world, Australian Prime Minister John Howard would say to President George W. Bush: "Let's have free trade." Bush would nod, they would shake on it and alert the press. The agreement, with all the...

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