Another factor with "free trade" vs. "fair trade" is the threat it poses to national security. I hear people complain about the Wal-Mart - China connection, trying to blame the company for selling so many goods made in China, vs. U.S. goods. The real problem isn't Wal-Mart, it's U.S. foreign policy. More than 150 million Chinese live on a $1 a day salary, close to 300 million live on $6 a day salary. Since most of the businesses in China are government controlled, the government is usually the one paying these low salaries. So, if China is selling goods in the U.S., making billions of dollars and only paying a pittance to their employees, where is all the profit going?
I recently read a CIA intelligence analysis concerning the rapid economic growth of China that literally scared me, and I don't scare easily. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese government and military did an analysis of what the Soviets did wrong. What they concluded was that the Soviets did not have the "economic engine" to support their "military machine." So as not to make the same mistake, China is rapidly developing their infrastructure to support their burgeoning economy that is growing faster than ours at 5% per year. They are hoarding everything from oil to concrete from the world market, driving the price we pay for them through the roof.
Their plan is simple, during the next 15 years, they will concentrate on building their economy, while simply maintaining "moderate" military growth. Then when the economic engine is in place, they will embark on an aggressive military buildup, which in the words of a top General, Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, "will eliminate the U.S. as the sole military super power."
Right now, China is spending billions on air defense and anti-ship/submarine capabilities.
China has also substantially increased its intelligence gathering in technology for building their military machine on the cheap by stealing technology the U.S. spent billions of dollars developing.
Although China has been a member of the WTO since 2001, it still retains significant trade barriers in violation of its WTO accession commitments. The Clinton administration, which sponsored China into the WTO, thought that doing so would reduce the U.S. trade deficit by forcing China to follow WTO membership rules. Almost five years later U.S. manufacturers complain of substantial trade barriers to U.S. agricultural exporters, rampant piracy of intellectual property, forced technology transfer from firms launching joint ventures in China, and capital markets that are largely insulated from free market pressures. Today the trade deficit is even greater. I don't know about you, but I think this needs to be corrected, and corrected sooner rather than later.