In the coming months, the U.S. Congress will vote up or down on trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and Korea. These elected officials will not examine these agreements solely on their commercial or foreign policy benefits to the American people. They will also weigh whether or not each agreement advances particular human rights abroad. However, these Representatives proceed with little information about how trade agreements, and even trade per se, affect human rights at home or abroad. Although scholars, policymakers, and activists have long debated this relationship, in truth we know very little about it. In the recently published book, Trade Imbalance, authors Susan Ariel Aaronson and Jamie M. Zimmerman shed much needed light on this complex issue. They use stories about frogs, chocolate, culture, tires and other topics to provide readers with new insights into the relationship between trade and human rights. They include the first study of how South Africa, Brazil, the United States, and the European Union struggle to coordinate trade and human rights objectives. They also look at how human rights issues are seeping into the WTO. Finally, Aaronson and Zimmerman also suggest ways in which policymakers can right the balance between their trade and human rights goals.
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