Robert Kuttner's commentary ("Is this a China policy--or a bad dream?" Economic Viewpoint, May 26) on the U.S. Trade Representative's office is well-stated. The "revolving door" that is influenced by its predecessors acting as a powerful lobbyist of private corporate clients is destroying both our credibility and long-range strategy.
The politics of achieving trade accords is a unique blend of economic desires fueled by foreign-policy objectives for regional stability, with a dash of social reform. It encompasses a multitude of both collateral and cross agendas that should have input from sophisticated professional elements of the State and Commerce Depts., as well as other interested parties in the public and private sector.
Negotiating a protocol agreement with China has many underlying consequences that go beyond the current Administration and will affect our relationships both in the Far East and the world for generations to come. We must find a way of creating senior trade positions that will transcend the traditional political appointment system.
We must upgrade both the position of head of the U.S. Trade Representative's office and the department itself into a more meaningful institution staffed by teams of career experts.
The message that Americans do not live in a vacuum but are part of a global economy should not be silenced by shortsighted domestic politics. Our future resides in the hands of these individuals.
Let's place the brightest and the best we have to offer on the team and give them a mandate to succeed backed by responsibility and accountability that transcends a four-year-or-less period.
Lawrence A. Beer
Paradise Valley, Ariz.