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Donald Trump dumps TPP, Barack Obama’s ‘gold standard’ trade deal

So the trade wars have begun. Less than 72 hrs into to his first term, President Donald Trump has wasted no time making good on a number of campaign pledges, including today’s signing of an executive order to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Patrick Henningsen

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Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on 21st Century Wire.

The 12 nation deal was dubbed the “Gold Standard” by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and was supposed to be the high-water mark of ex-President Barack Obama’s economic legacy – continuously championed by Obama and his backers on Wall Street, but was not yet approved by Congress.

The deal was initially designed for the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile and Peru, but plans to extend its corporate reach would eventually include all countries in South America and the Pacific Rim. The other 11 nation signatories will likely move ahead with the deal regardless of the US, but it will be a weaker play in terms of geopolitical leverage.

This latest announcement follows Trump’s inauguration speech, promising from now on to put “America First,” while promoting the anti-globalization mantra of, “buy American and hire American.”

Said Trump: “We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” adding that today’s move will be a “great thing for the American worker.”

Democrat Bernie Sanders responded in kind: “Now is the time to develop a new trade policy that helps working families, not just multi-national corporations.” He added, “If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers then I would be delighted to work with him.”

It doesn’t end there. Expect the new President to also go after George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton’s signature deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This should come as no surprise considering how much Trump savaged the deal on the campaign trail last year, blaming NAFTA for the loss of US jobs and industry since coming into effect in 1994.

NBC News has already reported today that Trump is expected to sign an executive order very soon to “renegotiate” Washington’s free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico – a pivot which will also include renegotiations on immigration and US border security, as well as the flow of illegal narcotics from Mexico into the US. Trump announced he would be meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the coming weeks to discuss terms of a new deal.

Many of Trump’s critics believe that the decades-long process of globalization is an irreversible one, arguing that most manufacturing and low-skill jobs cannot return to the United States – a claim that Trump and his supporters are not willing to concede just yet. Already, Trump’s lobbying efforts have resulted in tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs being relocated back to US shores, including commitments from US firms Carrier United Technologies, Ford Motors, Apple, and Sprint Telecommunications.

At least one Chinese media source has already warned that US companies like Apple did indeed attempt to move thousands of manufacturing jobs back to the US as a “show of patriotism” which would raise costs dramatically.

“It will be almost impossible for [US] to restore its glory as a major manufacturing powerhouse under his presidency,” said Global Times.

Although Obama had cleverly sold the TPP as a way counter China’s growth in the Pacific trade region, the reality is that China already has a solid foothold in the region, and US firms, no matter how hard they might try, will not be able to compete with China’s economies of scale and competitive wage market, not to mention China’s new explosion in skilled engineering and manufacturing tooling the development – all sectors long abandoned by the US in favor of off-shoring skilled industry for profits.

The Chinese leadership is slightly more sanguine about the TPP’s fate. President Xi Jinping spoke at Davos last week, saying, “We must remain committed to promoting free trade and investment through opening up and say no to protectionism.” Translated: China’s position is strong and plans to take full advantage of any TPP vacuum created by Trump.

Not surprisingly, corporate devotee (and Washington’s number one arms industry sales rep) Senator John McCain is predicting gloom and doom should the US dump the TPP and other similar deals. According to the 80-year-old Senator, “This decision will forfeit the opportunity to promote American exports, reduce trade barriers, open new markets, and protect American invention and innovation.”

In general, McCain and those with similar allegiances to transnational corporate boards – all claim that US manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico increased some 248% under the agreement, particularly in sectors like agriculture. But that figure is quite damp when you consider how the U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico was $58 billion in 2015, along with a $15 billion goods trade deficit with Canada in the same year (Source: US Dept of Trade).

Regardless, proponents of NAFTA will rarely if ever mention the flight of manufacturing and industry from the US – a transfer of the real economy which always benefits the bottom line of transnational corporate share holders, but does not help millions of Americans who are still in search of full-time employment.

The other working half of Trump’s plan is of course, lowering US corporate tax rates – making the it more attractive for US firms, and foreign firms too – to locate operations inside the US. That’s the carrot. The stick is punitive Smoot-Hawley-style import tariffs designed to hurt any US firms trying to re-import there foreign-made product back into the US market. How the ying and yang of this proposition plays out depends largely on how many US firms Trump can persuade to come home.

Trump’s moves should be viewed as an opening salvo aimed at the heart of the globalist establishment. In terms of globalist confabs like Bilderberg and Davos, this latest announcement will not be received well at all, as corporatist deals like TPP and TTIP have been at the top of the agenda of their steering committees for decades. American Free Press writer Mark Anderson commented recently on the elitist lament at this year’s Davos Forum:

“Many of the gilded glitterati gathering in Davos, Switzerland amid the towering Alps for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) see the populism sweeping much of the world as a fascinating trend. They certainly enjoy talking about it. But their academic chitter-chatter is starting to take on a panicked tone over the implications of the common man demanding a better life—a life without poverty in the face of plenty and without nonstop unwinnable wars, among other vexing problems.”

In other words, the globalist agenda has stalled and they’re not taking it well, forced to drink Laurent Perrier, rather than Louis Roederer Cristal. Tough times. The dual failures of the TPP and TTIP (spurred by BREXIT) could be seen as a kick in the teeth for many at Davos, considering that the TPP is regarded by many transnationalists as the ‘life’s work’ of the elite Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.

All of these entities have been working tirelessly to advance these deals, and one should not expect to see them disappear without a serious fight, or an attempt to scale the deals down trying to implement them through corporate or administrative and statutory fiat. In this regard, deals like TPP have been viewed as a affront to national sovereignty. If enacted, the TPP would have given sweeping legal powers sought by transnational corporations, with many critics calling it an end-run around the democratic process which places an inordinate amount of power into the hands of corporate lawyers and litigators.

This marks the beginning of a series of major trade face-offs between the new Administration – and everyone else. 

How will this translate in terms of dollars and cents for the American economy? We’ll know how the markets react in the short term, but in the long-term, one thing is certain: Trump has radically altered the political-economic environment already. Until preliminary economic data is in, pundits can only speculate and argue. Expect them to, and viciously. 

We won’t know much until 2018… just in time for the mid-term elections.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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