Lori Wallach Joins Economic Liberties as Director of ReThink Trade Program

December 8, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — The American Economic Liberties Project is excited to announce today that Lori Wallach, an internationally recognized expert on trade policy with decades of U.S. and international advocacy experience as the Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, will join Economic Liberties as Director of a new Rethink Trade program effective January 1, 2022. 

“Joining forces with the savvy antimonopoly advocates at the American Economic Liberties Project is the perfect platform to take on the next generation of trade fights,” said Lori Wallach, future Director of the ReThink Trade program at the American Economic Liberties Project. “We face a host of serious challenges caused by the consolidation of economic political power from supply chain disruptions caused by hyperglobalization to trade-pact-enforced monopolies limiting the supply of vaccines needed to end the pandemic to the rise of dangerous digital giants pushing ‘digital trade’ scams to lock in their power. Uniting the trade justice movement and the burgeoning movement against corporate monopolies is how we restore our democracy and fight for policies designed to benefit workers, consumers, and small businesses.”

“A veteran of congressional trade battles, Lori Wallach is a relentless advocate for good trade policies that work for working people, protect the planet, and preserve democratic, accountable policymaking,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “Lori combines a lawyer’s expertise on the terms and outcomes of agreements with strategic insight from the front lines of trade debates and relationships with policymakers, union leaders, civil society leaders and scholars around the world. We are so grateful for her expertise and partnership, particularly at a moment when transformational change is both essential and within reach.”

Economic Liberties launched in February 2020 with one critical goal: to arm policymakers to confront concentrated economic power and to hold them accountable when they do not. With a growing network of allies, Economic Liberties is succeeding, advancing policies at the state, local, and federal levels to reinvigorate competition and combat monopolies and the systems that entrench their power.

Building a healthy, resilient, and just economy requires a global lens. Monopoly power stretches across international borders. And just as the failed “consumer welfare” approach fostered America’s concentration crisis, today’s trade agreement model — and the hyperglobalization it implements — promotes corporate concentration and the supremacy of a few global monopoly players in each economic sector. Indeed, in some critical ways, they are explicitly designed to do just that: they obligate governments to guarantee protections and privileges worldwide for the largest global firms and their lobbying associations, often to the detriment of smaller and mainly domestic businesses and workers.

Replacing corporate-rigged trade pacts and policies has never been more important. Large pharmaceutical firms are exploiting monopoly protections in the WTO to limit the production and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests needed to end the pandemic. The thin, hyperglobalized supply chains resulting from decades of bad trade policies are causing shortages in America and around the world. And Big Tech firms are seeking to push what they have misbranded “digital trade” agreements that in fact have nothing to do with trade but handcuff governments from regulating them. Wallach’s continued leadership will be essential to overturning this status quo. And, after years of stopping more-of-the same deals, the circumstances have never been more auspicious to fight for trade alternatives that promote our goals.

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.