Tag: TPP

Trump Puts Final Nail in TPP’s Coffin, Will Anything Replace It?

Trump Puts Final Nail in TPP’s Coffin, Will Anything Replace It?

Well, President Donald Trump certainly hit the ground running this week.
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On his first day in the Oval office he signed 3 executive orders, the most significant of which is probably the one withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — TPP. The TPP is a giant free trade agreement forged by the Obama administration with the aim to cut taxes and develop trade with 11 other Pacific Rim nations from emerging markets to mature economies like Australia. Trump has been consistent throughout his campaign and since that TPP was bad for American jobs so his statement on signing the executive order as “a great thing to the American worker,” comes as no surprise.

What Does No Deal Mean for the US?

Critics have argued that backing out of TPP would reduce America’s strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region and leave the door open for China to take the lead as the champion of free-trade. According to Fox News, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the withdrawal a “serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.”
He added that it would “create an opening for China to rewrite the economic rules of the road at the expense of American workers.” In reality, such fears are probably overblown and while the debate will rage as to the benefits and disadvantages of free-trade, few can seriously argue that unfettered access for low-wage emerging economies to high-wage mature economies like the U.S. has not and will not continue to mean the loss of U.S. jobs to lower-cost locations.
That President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from TPP, therefore, comes as no surprise but what may be of more interest is what it tells us about the new administration’s attitude toward trade and International engagement.

The US and the World

The two are the same thing, of course. The U.S. could, and almost certainly will, take a broadly protectionist view on matters of trade, of which TPP is just the first example. Trump’s self-promoted skills as a dealmaker may yet play a part both in the nature of new trade deals and America’s dealings with the rest of the world. For example, while Trump has been dismissive of NATO and not unreasonably made it clear his dissatisfaction with the level of contribution some NATO members make to their own defense, it could yet be that this is part of his dealmaking approach.
We could arrive at a situation where the Europeans up their game, contribute a full 2% of GDP to their own defense, and in the process the U.S. and Europe rejuvenate NATO and make it a force to be reckoned with. We can but hope.
While the new administration clearly has workers’ jobs as a central tenet of its trade policy, it does not preclude the U.S. from concluding trade deals if it deems them in its best interests. There is speculation, fueled in part by Trump’s own team, that the forthcoming visit of Great Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, at the end of this week could herald some form of U.S.-U.K. trade deal to take effect after Brexit. Trade deals between economies with similar wage costs are however very unlikely to result in job losses or the relocation of whole industries such has been the case between the U.S. and Europe to Southeast Asia.
What, if anything will replace TPP? Without access to the U.S. market the rationale for the agreement is less compelling. Critics of the new president’s decision say it will leave China to increase its influence in the region and, indeed, Bloomberg reports that China is making renewed efforts to promote the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which takes in Southeast Asian countries, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
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For me, though, the key issue is TPP gave access to the vast and wealthy net importing U.S. market. RCEP may facilitate free trade but the largest member is a vast and not so wealthy net exporting economy: China. Countries like Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, etc. may want to think twice about that. They could find they are opening their markets to China only to achieve little in return.

Trump Officially Ends TPP, Courts Unions for Infrastructure Help

Trump Officially Ends TPP, Courts Unions for Infrastructure Help

In his first full workday as President of the United States, Donald Trump didn’t waste any time in implementing his ambitious trade and manufacturing agenda.
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He signed an executive order pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-member free-trade agreement advocated by the Obama administration. TPP aimed to deepen economic ties between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, cut taxes and foster trade to, hopefully, boost economic growth in the process.
Trump’s action makes the deal — at least with the U.S. involved — essentially over. It’s really been essentially dead since last summer when Trump’s republican party began to tack more populist — which it has been doing since Trump started winning primaries by appealing to working class voters — and the GOP abandoning its traditional belief in free trade doomed the partnership which never really enjoyed that much support among democrats beyond former President Barack Obama and his administration. Senator Bernie Sanders (I.- Vt.), who is in the democratic leadership despite not identifying as one, was a particularly vocal critic of TPP during his run for the democratic nomination last year.

GOP Shift

Trump shows no signs of warming up to free trade deals and now leads a political party that looks like it’s following in lock step behind him (with some notable exceptions, of course). Trump took another step that flies in the face of traditional republican orthodoxy and met with building trades and manufacturing unions on his first working day. Watch the leaders applaud Trump as he describes “terminating” TPP. According to the White House, participants included North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey, Laborers’ International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan, SMART sheet metal workers’ union President Joseph Sellers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters President Doug McCarron and Mark McManus, president of the United Association that represents plumbers, pipefitters, welders and others.
The union meeting also included several local union officials and was a continuation of the discussion with the chief executives about how to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing economy. This follows earlier meetings Trump held with Teamsters President Jim Hoffa and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in New York.

Manufacturing Still Front and Center

As I wrote last summer, Trump is not changing a thing from his campaign which focused like a laser on trade and American manufacturing before any pundits or pollsters even had a clue that states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were seriously in play. This is a break from at least 20 years of party orthodoxy on both sides. If Trump can deliver more jobs, despite the ongoing threat of automation, then both parties are going to see traditional funding streams altered. Republicans getting even a split of union donations? Democrats like Obama getting support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other free trade groups? It could seriously happen.
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Of course, Trump needs more than meetings. He will need a much more detailed and funded infrastructure plan and buy in from both executives and union leaders. If he wants to go farther than ending TPP, he’ll need leaders in Mexico and Canada to come to the table to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. It’s still early, but just the mere idea that a republican president is meeting with union leaders in the White House shows how much politics has changed because of Trump. Who would have ever predicted union leaders and a republican president talking about manufacturing in the White House even one year ago?

Trump on Trade: 2017 Won’t Be Boring For International Trade

Trump on Trade: 2017 Won’t Be Boring For International Trade

If there is one area in which 2017 is going to be a momentous year, it is in trade.
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The incoming Trump administration campaigned on and has, since winning the election, robustly promoted an anti-free trade platform saying the North American Free Trade Agreement is “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere,” bullying GM, Ford Motor Company and various other multinationals into rethinking strategic investments planned for Mexico and forcing them to be shelved or amended.
Trump also announced shortly after the election that his first action in office would be to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The rhetoric is part of an America First policy that takes an aggressive stance against countries running trade surpluses with the U.S., particularly China, and seeks to encourage job repatriation, particularly of positions that might have been lost in the process of globalization. The Trump view eschews free trade deals, it would appear, almost as a matter of principal.

Free Trade? Or Fair Trade?

The team president-elect Trump is building around him has many ardent campaigners against globalization with a core triumvirate of: Robert Lighthizer, the man Trump picked for U.S. trade representative; Peter Navarro, an outspoken China hawk set to lead a new National Trade Council; and Wilbur Ross, the president-elect’s pick for commerce secretary.
Hopes last year that campaign rhetoric would be softened in office have been squashed as the team has come together so businesses with a global reach had better buckle down for a rough ride in 2017 as policies are developed and applied by the new administration.

Trans-Pacific Bucket of Nope

First up, TPP is dead in the water. It is possible, in the absence of any alternative, the region may adopt a China-sponsored Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It excludes the U.S. but includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan and 12 other Asian countries. Fears that it passes global trade leadership to China are overblown, but it certainly signals clearly that America is adopting a more inward-looking, less engaging, trade policy at least for the duration of the incoming administration. Many see America’s withdrawal from TPP as a backward step, more because it was a rules-based system with the rules written to an American standard that many would have welcomed, RCEP will not seek the same level of accountability and standards.

Do Canada, Mexico Want to Renegotiate?

Next up, could be renegotiation of NAFTA. The new president has already backtracked on suggestions NAFTA would be ripped up. As the New York Times observes, after two decades the NAFTA economies are too tightly braided together for that to happen without profound consequences for all parties.
Goods manufactured by companies operating in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada — whether speakers, cars or airplanes — cross the border multiple times during production. That’s a shared manufacturing process that, if destroyed, would mean shared job losses. Interestingly, Canada and Mexico have said they would be willing to discuss updating Nafta. All three countries have things they would like to change, but all attempts to negotiate those have failed in the past probably reflecting the things they would like to change are rarely the same things across all three countries.
But, possibly in recognition that the threat to withdraw from NAFTA would present a huge blow to the U.S. economy, Trump has switched to publicly bullying corporations via Twitter to change investment decisions and eventually corporate priorities toward investment and jobs.

Where Will New Jobs Come From?

Not that NAFTA has been great for Mexicans, but since 1994 it has resulted in billions of dollars of inward investment and contributed the most to Mexico’s rise in exports. Still, Mexican wages have stagnated for years and, like their counterparts in the north, jobs are being lost to automation.
U.S. concerns about job losses are not one-sided. Nearly 2 million Mexican jobs in agriculture have been lost since the treaty, which benefited highly subsidized industries in the U.S. such as corn production to the detriment of Mexican farmers. Ultimately, if NAFTA is to be rewritten it will need to be done with the agreement of all three countries and that will take a long time. In the short-term, Trump is probably right to think that public criticism of corporations is likely to be more effective in grabbing the headlines even if the sum total of jobs “saved” will only amount to a tiny fraction of those employed in U.S. manufacturing.

China Looms

The new administration’s relationship with China, though, will likely be even more strained. The adoption of Lighthizer as U.S. trade rep shows they intend to adopt a radically more aggressive stance and raises the prospects of challenges on many fronts but particularly China’s currency policy. Lighthizer believes China is a currency manipulator.
According to the Financial Times, though, while much of the discussion about Trump’s trade plans has focused on his threats to impose punitive tariffs, Republican lawmakers are already considering an alternative.
Under a radical overhaul of the U.S. corporate tax system proposed by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, imports would be taxed while exports would not. The “border-adjusted” tax would come alongside a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20% intended to encourage more U.S. production of goods. It is not clear how this would pass scrutiny at the World Trade Organization but Trump has indicated an about face on U.S. policy regarding the WTO, a body the U.S. has long supported and helped develop its rules. Now, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the trade body and may simply ignore challenges if he were to adopt the House of Representatives’ plan.

Trump on Trade

Many would argue, and half the population voted, that something needs to be done about the U.S. balance of trade, basically that nation imports too much and exports too little. It’s not alone as a mature economy in this respect, of course, much of Europe is the same, but not all.
Germany, like China, runs massive, and for its trade partners, damaging trade surpluses. We tend to say with Germany that it structures its economy and indeed controls the E.U. as a region to facilitate this (for Germany, at least) happy state of affairs, whereas with China we say it manipulates its currency, interest rates and banking system to achieve the same thing. The outcome is pretty much the same, both countries enjoy a strong balance of trade surpluses regardless of the impact it has on their trade partners. Over the next four years, though, Beijing is likely to come in for more criticism than Berlin.
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For companies with overseas suppliers, customers or with a global element to their supply chain 2017 is likely to be a year like no other

What Does CETA Tell Us About The Prospects for World Trade?

What Does CETA Tell Us About The Prospects for World Trade?

While there may be much eye-rolling and tutting, observers of Europe’s prevarications over ratification of the CETA, the European and Canadian Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the reality is the E.U.’s deep divide over the merits of this agreement are but the tip of a much larger iceberg.

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Within any free trade agreement there are always winners and losers. When the government to government FTAs are negotiated and agreed, a balanced judgement is made as to whether the agreement has overall benefits for each party. But, when the right to pick agreements apart and focus on the detail is given to interest groups down to a granular level of interested parties, there are bound to be those that find one or two issues unacceptable.

How One Region is Killing an EU-Wide Deal

In the case of CETA, Wallonia (a German-speaking region of Belgium) has taken exception to the rights of major corporations to take legal action against governments in the event of subsequent legislation which goes against the terms of the agreement.

They also dislike some of the changes to agricultural trade. Both the E.U. and Canada are making last-ditch attempts to secure agreement prior to the intended signing on Thursday, but after all these years of negotiation even if matters cannot be resolved this week no doubt both sides will continue to try and find solutions.

The problem, though, is not really one of minor vested interests, rather it is a rise in anti-globalization among mature economies who see their standard of living, their manufacturing base and their very future threatened by the rise of global competition.

The Implications for TPP and TTIP

Where CETA leads TTIP — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — follows. If Europe does not ratify CETA, TTIP is almost certainly dead in the water. Maybe more significance for U.S. foreign policy is the fortune of TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Andrew Hammond an Associate at the Centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy at the London School of Economics, writing in the Telegraph, says that TPP represents a major plank of U.S. policy to pivot towards Asia and is said to contain elements to counter the economic threat of a rising China not playing by the same rules.

The Obama administration was seeking, with TPP, to set standards of trade for the 21st century. And not just of trade but investment, data flows and intellectual property. TPP has an important rules-setting component, Hammond said, perhaps more so than any other previous trade deal.

The agreement sets rules to limit subsidies to state-owned companies which could become very important should China eventually join TPP. With the bill languishing in the U.S. Congress and a rising tide of populist sentiment against globalization, championed by both Republican and Democratic candidates, serious questions are being asked about whether TPP will see the light of day.

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Other parties such as Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, including Southeast Asian members would collectively account about 40% of world GDP. Yes, there would be winners and losers on both sides, that is the nature of free trade agreements, the job of government is to judge whether any agreement is on balance in their country’s best interests. The US conceived of and largely set the agenda for TPP. It is not in agreement that is being forced on the US by some foreign power, quite the contrary. Failure to enact the agreement will have repercussions for US foreign economic policy for decades to come and the failure of CETA, TTIP and TPP would set the tone for a more introverted, protectionist and isolationist World to come.

McConnell: No TPP Vote This Year; Companies Still Can’t Track Conflict Minerals

McConnell: No TPP Vote This Year; Companies Still Can’t Track Conflict Minerals

The U.S. Senate will not vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year and the General Accounting Office found that most companies still can’t source their conflict minerals.

No TPP Vote This Year

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be the next president’s problem, saying that the Senate will not vote on the treaty this year.

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McConnell’s comment comes despite an Obama administration push to at least attempt a TPP vote during congress’ lame-duck session after the November elections.

GAO Says Conflict Minerals Reporting Still Inaccurate

Less than half of all companies required to track down the source of key minerals potentially central to war-torn parts of Africa have been able to do so, according to a new government study.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on Tuesday that 67% of companies that rely on so-called “conflict minerals” to make products have been unable to determine whether their supply has come from parts of Africa where armed groups profit from their production.

TPP Moves Forward on Administrative Action, Still Little Chance of a Vote

TPP Moves Forward on Administrative Action, Still Little Chance of a Vote

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative recently sent to Congress a draft Statement of Administration Action for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a procedural step necessary before a draft implementing bill is sent to Congress.

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According to the fast-track law, the trade rep must send a draft SAA to Congress at least 30 days before it submits a draft implementing bill, but that does not mean it will be submitted in that timeframe, that’s just merely the minimum before a bill can be sent. The trade rep sent notification August 12th.

The White House is unlikely send such a bill, though, amid the rhetoric of a presidential campaign in which both major party nominees have depicted free trade deals as massive job killers and both, including former TPP supporter Hillary Clinton, have come out against TPP. Most observers agree that this is a procedural move designed to preserve the ability to send a TPP bill for a vote after the election in congress’ lame-duck session.

Clinton Flips on TPP, Might Flip Back

While Clinton’s friend, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D.) has said Clinton will flip again on TPP and support it once the election is over, and most polls do show Clinton ahead of republican rival Donald Trump, Clinton assured primary voters that she is now against TPP, particularly those primary voters that supporter Bernie Sanders (D. Vt.) and not her in the primaries.

If the democrats were to win the Senate and Clinton the presidency it would be a very bitter pill for Sanders supporters to swallow to immediately be treated to a lame-duck vote on TPP so that it could be signed by Obama before Clinton wins. Such a scenario could also play out if Trump wins and republicans lose one or both houses of congress and Obama attempts to ram the legislation through with favors and patronage for the vanquished senators and congressmen, many of whom don’t like Trump, on both sides of the aisle.

Yet another scenario would allow the republicans to keep both houses of congress and those free-trade-loving republicans to vote and pass the bill before staunchly anti-TPPer Trump takes office, likely with a wave of like-minded republicans taking the spots of primary losers.

What Does This Have to do With TPP?

So, this procedural maneuver has very little to do with TPP and everything to do with its dwindling group of supporters keeping their options open. Clinton has moved away from supporting it because of the success of both Sanders and Trump at the polls and there’s little chance she’ll change that rhetoric before November. Trump would have to go back on more than a year of condemnation to support TPP in anyway but stranger things have happened.

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TPP is a trade deal with 11 other nations but only a fifth of it actually deals with trade. Of TPP’s 30 chapters, six deal with traditional trade issues. If TPP is to eventually pass, a massive shift in public opinion on both sides of the aisle will be necessary and, no matter who wins the election, it’s hard to imagine any lame-duck vote on such a major piece of policy doing anything but angering and electorate that has shown both parties that it’s fed up with such tricks.

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story said that Representative Tim Huelskamp (R. Kansas) supported TPP. He did not. He supported trade promotion authority (TPA). We regret the error.

Trade Ministers Sign TPP But Legislative Fights Still Loom; China Vows to Cut Steel Production

China vowed to cut its steel production over the next five years and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is now officially signed.

TPP Signed, Legislative Fights Ahead

Trade ministers for the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership nations formally signed the massive accord on Wednesday in New Zealand and vowed to throw their weight behind surpassing the various legislative hurdles necessary to actually put the deal into place.

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The 12 nations account for some 40% of the world’s economy. They now have two years to ratify or reject the pact.

China Vows to Cut Steel Production

China will cut crude steel capacity by 100 million to 150 million metric tons within the next five years in a bid to tackle a crippling glut that has dragged prices down to multiyear lows and saddled firms with huge debts, the nation’s cabinet said recently.

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The State Council also said it would ban new steel projects and work to eliminate so-called stricken “zombie” mills, which have stopped producing steel but have not formally shut down.

US, 11 Far East Nations Agree to TPP, Congressional Approval Necessary

The US and 11 trading partners, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region came to final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which still faces a skeptical congress.

TPP Agreed To

The US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations on Monday reached final agreement on the largest regional trade accord in history, although an approval fight still looms in congress.

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The conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after years of negotiations was “an important first step,” said Michael B. Froman, the United States Trade Representative, as he and other officials announced their accord.

The deal faces months of scrutiny in Congress, where some bipartisan opposition was immediate.

Steel Imports Down in August

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the US imported a total of 3,016,000 net tons (nt) of steel in August 2015, including 2,439,000 nt of finished steel. That is down 8.2% and 6.7%, respectively, vs. July final data.

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On the year-to-date, through the first 8 months of 2015, total and finished steel imports were 28,023,000 and 22,915,000 nt, respectively. That was down 2% and up 7%, respectively, vs. the same period in 2014.

No Clear Way Forward for Trade Promotion Authority Bill, Copper Hits a Comex Low

No Clear Way Forward for Trade Promotion Authority Bill, Copper Hits a Comex Low

Today in MetalCrawler, lawmakers try to find a way forward for President Obama’s trade bill and copper hit a significant low.

Trade Bill in the Balance

144 Democrats abandoned President Obama last week on the Trade Promotion Authority. What’s holding up the President’s massive free trade initiative is a job training and aid program known as trade adjustment assistance (TAA).

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Party leaders in both houses of Congress are in touch with the White House in an attempt to figure out how to advance TAA but both parties seem to have dug in with democrats opposing TAA and republicans insisting that the opposition must vote on the existing bill again.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, speaking to reporters Monday, said, “The best option right now” is for “the Democrats [to] come to their senses” and back TAA.

Democrats responded that it’s up to Republicans to figure out how to proceed.

“The point is, Republicans have to decide how they can go [forward], then we’ll have to make some response to that. Right now, they haven’t done that,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Politico.

Democrats have suggested adding TAA to a vote on a non-controversial customs bill that the GOP-led House passed last week, but McCarthy and Speaker John Boehner have resisted re-opening the customs bill or adding TAA to another bill.

Copper Falls as Confidence in Metals Erodes

Copper fell to a three-month low on concern that a cooling economy in China and Greece’s debt turmoil will stymie global growth, cutting demand for raw materials.

Investors this month pulled $37.6 million from U.S. exchange-traded funds backed by industrial metals, a 10 percent drop that is the biggest of any commodity group, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Money managers have turned net-bearish on copper for the first time since February, US government data showed.

Copper futures for September delivery lost 1.2% to $2.619 a pound at 11:34 AM on the Comex in New York, falling for the third time in four sessions. Prices reached $2.618, the lowest since March 19.

Chinese power-grid investments, which make up more than half of copper demand, are down about 10% this year, according to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.9% to $5,763.50 a metric ton ($2.62 a pound). Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin also fell on the LME.

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Understanding TPP and TTIP: The Wheels of Trade Grind Slowly for Lawmakers

There is a lot of talk in the business press about trade agreements.

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Most of us skip such articles on our way to the sports pages as it’s that impacts on such a macro scale that it is of little relevance to us day to day, but that is to overlook the massive impact trade liberalization has had on our lives over the last twenty years.

Although the low-hanging fruit has already been plucked, further agreements could yet impact, for good and bad, in the years to come. Lawmakers are split on many lines over the issue. Some are intrinsically against liberalization on the basis that it can expose domestic industries to unfair competition from abroad, that by reducing trade barriers, it encourages off shoring and the export of jobs overseas.

What is Trade Liberalization?

Others say trade liberalization raises GDP for all and the rising tide lifts the boats of everyone’s income levels, in developed and developing markets. The experience of the last 20 years can be used to support both arguments and, in reality, both are true to a greater or lesser extent.

Currently considerable argument rages about the President’s two plurilateral (by which we mean between a limited number of partners) trade agreements known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Why Only Certain ‘Partners?’

The fact these agreements will be between a limited number of countries is itself a bone of contention. Many argue only multilateral agreements such as the failed Doha negotiations are the way to go because they encourage a universal set of rules and standards, but with the more readily agreed issues resolved further progress is proving increasingly difficult and acrimonious.

The FT did a quick idiot’s guide to the TPP and TTIP summarizing them as follows. The TPP is a negotiation with 11 countries, most importantly Japan. Its partners account for 36% of world output, 11% of population and about one-third of merchandise trade. The TTIP is between the US and the EU, which accounts for 46% of global output and 28% of merchandise trade.

The main partner not included in these negotiations is, of course, China. Import tariffs are only a part, arguably a small part of what these agreements are about. In the FT’s analysis, the agreements are more about making rules more compatible with one another and more transparent for business, particularly around intellectual property rights.

Not a Trade Booster, An IP Defender

They are an effort to shape the rules of international commerce, the FT argues and quotes Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organization, saying that “TPP is mostly, though not only, about classical protection-related market access issues . . . TTIP is mostly, though not only, about . . . .  regulatory convergence.”

The benefits of each to national incomes is small. Even supporters do not claim the level seen in earlier trade agreements. The FT quotes independent analysis suggesting between 0.4% and less than 1% rise in national incomes as a result, with the US-EU TTIP towards the upper end of the range and the US-Asia TPP towards the lower end. The most reliable guess is they will be positive but modest. That will make the President’s job correspondingly harder to get past a skeptical Congress.

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