Fast-Track: Trade Wars? – US vs. China


As I’ve watched the situation in China recently I began gathering notes on the usual suspects. It appears the United States is in the midst of two things: first, it is seeking to curb or contain China through as series of legislative acts that will give the President extraordinary powers of secrecy and legislative and legal abilities over corporate trade agreements; and, two, through this policy it will curb growth in the US workers ability to compete and even to buy. That we’ve been living in a soft fascism for a while now, that our government is owned lock, stock, and barrel by Wall Street and the Financial Capitalism that sponsors it. That for years we’ve been redistributing the wealth of our country to the corporations and global banking systems is already well known. Now their greed is seeking to bring China to its knees. Below is aspects of how they are doing this, as well as bringing themselves down with it.

Stocks were clobbered Friday on Wall Street — a brutal finish to the worst week in the market in four years. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 530 points, the ninth-biggest point decline in its history. A 1000 for the week. Investors worried about signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy that could hammer companies and countries around the world. The stock of Apple, which depends heavily on demand from China, fell more than 6 percent. (NBC News)

London’s FTSE 100 index has recorded its biggest weekly loss this year after poor manufacturing figures in China exacerbated global economic fears. (BBC News)

The latest signal of China’s stalling economic growth triggered steep losses across Asian markets Friday as doubts build about Beijing’s ability to get the world’s No. 2 economy back into gear. Worries about China’s growth in recent days have unnerved investors across Asia, the U.S. and Europe, pressured emerging-market currencies and commodities and driven cash toward safer assets like gold. Analysts say they are on the lookout for fresh stimulus efforts from China, possibly as early as this weekend. (Wall Street Journal)

Another analyst says Chinese market mirroring 1929 crash: Analyst.

American billionaire George Soros’s fund has sold most of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to regulatory filings Friday. 60,000 shares.

Is China about to fall? With Fast Track and the TPP recently passed President Obama has a blank check to do as he will in the Pacific on Free Trade Agreements. We remember what our history on this is, right? Ten reasons to oppose TPP and Free Trade.

Guardian also reports on how WikiLeaks shows us why Obama and the TPP is bad for the world. As James Love tells us “I’m talking about the appalling Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a partial draft of which WikiLeaks has just released. This treaty has been negotiated in secret meetings dominated by governments and corporations. You and I have been systematically excluded, and once you learn what they’re doing, you can see why. The outsiders who understand TPP best aren’t surprised. That is, the draft “confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer rights and safeguards,” writes James Love a longtime watcher of this process. … The Electronic Frontier Foundation says TPP has “extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate”. It’s Hollywood’s wish list.”

Fast Track and Trans-Pacific Partnership – Trade Wars?

The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Also called trade promotion authority (TPA) since 2002, fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress.On June 12, 2015, following a surprise visit from President Obama to Capitol Hill, the House voted on three amendments related to trade, including the renewal of trade promotion authority. The House overwhelmingly voted against a related measure, Trade Adjustment Assistance, which would have had to have passed in order for the rest of the trade measures to go through. Therefore, TPA ultimately failed in the House. On June 24, 2015, the TPA passed the Senate. It was signed into law by President Obama on June 29th.

In U.S. vs. China America Aljazeera’s video explains it all in detail: Ali Velshi decodes the TPP & NAFTA. Joshua Holland gives background as well Why TPP. On Pacific Money we read that China is already negotiating its on Free Trade Agreements with Australia and South Korea ahead of the TPP. On Forbes we learn U.S. negotiators continued discussions with Beijing this week during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on a pending Bilateral Investment Treaty (or “BIT”) with China.

As I began studying this recent agreement that gives the President of United States full legislative power to legislate law it was like looking in the rear view mirror at the 1930’s Italy and Germany. As Lori Wallach whose book on the history of Fast Track The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority points out in a Huffington Post article:

The thing is that economists of all stripes agree that U.S. trade policy has been one of the major contributors to growing U.S. income inequality.

There really is no disagreement about that — the only debate is about the degree of the effect. A study published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics — an early supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on which TPP is modeled — estimated that as much as 39 percent of the observed growth in U.S. wage inequality is attributable to trade trends. Other studies have posited greater and lesser contributions.

As Public Citizen tells it Fast Track also empowered executive branch officials advised by large corporations to skirt Congress and the public and use secretive “trade” agreements to roll back a wide range of non-trade policies on which our families rely for safe food, a clean environment, affordable medicines, financial stability and more. Fast Track set up a system of more than 500 official corporate U.S. trade advisors who have access to secret trade agreement texts and who have set the “U.S.” trade agenda whether we have Democratic or Republican presidents.

As the PLP (Progressive Labor Party) comments Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a major step toward war between capitalists in the U.S. and China. With the two imperialist powers locked in an escalating competition for global dominance, the TPP is more than a trade deal that will heighten exploitation and destroy jobs for U.S. workers. It’s a sign that U.S. bosses are preparing to square off against their ascending rival. Continuing:

In late March, the liberal Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank, bankrolled by ExxonMobil and JPMorgan Chase, published a special report: “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China.” The bloodthirsty authors Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis previously planned strategy and tactics for the National Security Council during the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their preamble sets a warlike tone:

Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power….[I]t must involve crucial changes to the current policy in order to limit the dangers that China’s economic and military expansion pose to U.S. interests in Asia and globally….[P]reserving U.S. primacy in the global system ought to remain the central objective of U.S. grand strategy in the twenty-first century. (U.S. vs. China Trade Deal Means Trade War )

As Senator Jeff Session of Alabama suggests promoters of fast-track executive authority have relied on semantic obfuscation in an effort to deny the obvious: the President’s top priority is obtaining fast-track authority because he knows it will expand his powers and allow him to cement his legacy through the formation of a new political and economic union. The authority granted in “Trade Promotion Authority” is authority transferred from Congress to the Executive and, ultimately, to international bureaucrats.

Plutocracy of Soft Fascism: Corportacracy rules Washington D.C.

Nucor Steel Chairman Emeritus, Daniel DiMicco, warned: “The so-called negotiating objectives in the fast-track bill are merely for show… The President can and does sign the agreement before Congress views or votes on it.” Fast-track is the action that empowers the President to put America’s name on the deal sitting in that walled-off room—before a page of it has been shared with the public.

In a Ways and Means document on the new Pacific Union being formed by Obama, the Committee hints at some of this union’s powers: “if a proposed change to a trade agreement is contemplated [by the TPP Commission] that would require a change in U.S. law, all of TPA’s congressional notification, consultation, and transparency requirements would apply.” In other words, Ways and Means is intimating that this new secret Pacific Union would function like a third house of Congress, with legislative primacy, sending changes to the House and Senate under fast-track procedures (receiving less legislative procedure than, for instance, Post Office reform). Moreover, this legislative fast-track, Ways and Means implies, is limited to that which requires a “change in U.S. law”—meaning if this President (or the next) argues it is simply an executive action, not a legal action, the Executive could have a free hand to implement the Commission’s decrees without Congress. This is not merely a loophole; this is purposeful delegation of congressional authority to the Executive and to an international body. The fast-tracked implementing legislation would have the ability to make these delegations binding as a matter of law.

Finally, it must be observed that this is not a “free trade” deal. It is, as Daniel DiMicco explained, a “unilateral trade disarmament” and “the enablement of foreign mercantilism,” whereby we open our markets to new foreign imports and they keep their non-tariff barriers that close their markets to ours. President Obama refuses to answer questions about the impact on unemployment, wage stagnation, and trade deficits. He refuses because the answer is all three will get worse. For instance, a study published in the Wall Street Journal showed that—due to barriers to U.S. auto exports—the deal would increase foreign transportation imports over our exports by nearly four-fold.

Arbitration tribunal

Other critics on the Trans-Pacific Partnership say the arbitration clause in the new agreement has a provision allows multinational investors to sue foreign governments for expropriation and unfair or unequal treatment, giving them the ability to bring cases before a special, extrajudicial arbitration tribunal that is unavailable to domestic investors. Though the clause is already common in hundreds of existing treaties around the world, critics fear that the largely secretive arbitration mechanism, however well-intended, will increasingly be exploited by large companies to demand compensation for or exemptions from certain laws and policies meant for the public good.

China not worried about tpp

New York Times reports:

“We don’t think T.P.P. is a challenge to China — we will watch and study,” said He Weiwen, a former Commerce Ministry official who is now the co-director of the China-United States-European Union Study Center in Beijing.

“We are more or less neutral because we have our own agenda, pushing forward Asean plus six and the Silk Road,” he said, referring to two of China’s own regional initiatives. He added that China would make sure its regional pacts complied with global free trade rules on such deals.

Yet, other reports say there is unofficially great tension in China over TPP as Laura He on Market Watch disclosed:

For its own part, China’s leadership also apparently believes Washington is out to get them, employing the same containment policy used against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

An editorial this week in the state-run Xinhua News Agency argued against sliding into such a confrontation. “Compared with the Cold War era, countries are more closely related with each other, and their economic interests are more inseparable,” it said. “The old containment policies will no doubt eventually hurt oneself.”

5 thoughts on “Fast-Track: Trade Wars? – US vs. China

    • Freck that… we put on the breaks, decelerate and we’ll be in the EU in a week, every State becoming the next Greece with Grexit options scattered in the rebellions … no, that’s the last thing we should do… putting on the breaks will put us into a nosedive and Great Depression for 25 years or more… chaos, civil-war, bloody violence …

      But all these capitalists have no options left, they used our tax money for Bailouts in the trillions, but now there is nothing left, no money, no jobs, no future sinkholes of the Fed dropping interests since it is already at zero… we’re living in a vapor-capitalism and sinking moment by moment…

      Like pre-Weimar Germany the world is moving like a ghostland vision of pure repetition and farce into prime territory for a move from Soft Fascism to its dark twin – the rise of a Demagogue Tyranny … dark days ahead!

      Liked by 2 people

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