US, Europeans believe free trade cuts jobs: poll
By William Schomberg
A majority of people in the United States and most of Europe's big countries believe free trade cuts local jobs and mainly benefits multinationals and economies such as China and India, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Days before key talks on a new world trade deal originally billed as a way to help poor countries, the survey showed two-thirds of respondents on both sides of the Atlantic had a positive view of international trade in general.
However, in the United States, Germany, Poland and especially in France and Italy -- although not in Britain -- most respondents said free trade reduced employment in their home countries.
Fifty-eight percent of Europeans and Americans would support raising tariffs -- the opposite of what the World Trade Organization (WTO) is trying to do -- to protect jobs.
The poll was conducted between September 16 and October 3 among a random sample of about 1,000 adults in each of the countries.
It was commissioned by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), a transatlantic think tank...
The survey showed 82 percent of respondents believed multinationals and fast-growing developing economies such as China and India benefited most from freer trade.
Seventy-three percent believed people in rich countries would also gain, followed by 62 percent who said people in poor countries stood to benefit and 52 percent agreeing that Africans would be better off with freer trade...
Among the five European countries covered by the survey, France slipped from having a majority who agreed with optimistic statements about trade in 2004 to being 57 percent pessimistic about the issue, the poll showed.
France has been the most vocal defender of protection for its farmers in the WTO round.
Italy, where the emergence of China and other low-cost manufacturers threatens the country's many small companies, was even more downbeat, with 61 percent of respondents falling into the pessimist camp.
Britain was the most positive with 90 percent of respondents classed as trade optimists, followed by Germany with 79 percent, Poland on 77 percent and the United States with 74 percent.