Pro-trade group goes on offensive

DES MOINES: With the twin goals of countering the anti-trade guerrilla PR seen at the political conventions and promoting the benefits of trade and biotechnology, Truth Against Trade (TAT) has upped its efforts to position itself as ’a voice from the Heartland.’

DES MOINES: With the twin goals of countering the anti-trade guerrilla PR seen at the political conventions and promoting the benefits of trade and biotechnology, Truth Against Trade (TAT) has upped its efforts to position itself as ’a voice from the Heartland.’

DES MOINES: With the twin goals of countering the anti-trade

guerrilla PR seen at the political conventions and promoting the

benefits of trade and biotechnology, Truth Against Trade (TAT) has upped

its efforts to position itself as ’a voice from the Heartland.’



Formed earlier this year, TAT is preparing for its upcoming national

launch by stepping up its visibility and activities.



While admitting that anti-trade voices have been extremely effective in

rallying media coverage, TAT executive director Mary Boote disputes that

they reflect majority opinion. ’If you allow someone else to define you,

you end up playing defense,’ she said.



To get back to playing offense, TAT has started to work with Creative

Response Concepts on media relations. Additionally, the group has added

Dean Kleckner, immediate past president of the American Farm Bureau, as

chairman.



Kleckner said the organization is shooting for a budget in the dollars 1

to dollars 1.5 million range and foresees PR outreach to editorial

boards and talk-radio stations. He will also be visiting the top 15

ag-producing states during the coming months.



’We see the election as a unique opportunity to get our views on trade

onto the agenda,’ he said. Though both major-party nominees are

considered to be pro-trade, Kleckner is taking nothing for granted: ’The

question is, how will Congress respond next year?’



Kleckner and Boote noted a series of obstacles for TAT, including

well-organized opposition from organized labor and environmental

groups.



TAT’s appearance on the scene, however, has largely been heralded.



Rex Carney, director of trade policy at Environmental Media Services in

DC, is skeptical about the use of biotechnology. But he admits,’It’s not

surprising to see a group formed about the overlap of trade and

biotechnology.’



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