Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trade Agreement Job Claims are Pure Baloney

The talks concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), a trade agreement linking the economies of the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and eight other Pacific Rim countries, is underway along with an even bigger trade deal with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The lack of openness was apparent when Wikileaks recently released a draft of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter. The U.S. wants to give brand-name drugs more than 20 years of protection against generic competition. The U.S. also wants the signatories to allow patents for surgical procedures, life forms and seeds (raising the cost of food and health care in developing countries). And the U.S. wants to extend copyright terms to the life of the author plus 70 years --- and 95 years for corporate-owned works. The U.S. also wants tougher legal measures so it can pursue hackers and others who violate digital copyright laws (and this was just in one chapter of the agreement).

The U.S. administration has invited more than 500 corporate advisers to help negotiate the trade agreement. Corporations and trade groups, however, don’t represent the broader interests of U.S. consumers, workers, environmentalists and taxpayers --- making the TPP and TTIP a "special-interests" free-for-all --- and can result in more job losses and pay cuts, especially among blue-collar workers.

Bloomberg claims that the TPP and the TTIP would create "tens of thousands" of new jobs in the U.S. and help spur growth in the global economy --- but the U.S. has already lost too many jobs to offshoring --- and the Economic Policy Institute also says the trade agreements' job claims are pure baloney:

The Senate Finance Committee held hearings this week on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The committee chair, Sen. Max Baucus, claimed that the TTIP could boost U.S. exports to the EU by a third, adding “more than one hundred billion dollars annually to U.S. GDP,” and that it “could support hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

The statement is remarkable for its sheer audacity in the face of massive evidence of the failure of similar deals to deliver promised benefits. U.S. trade with Mexico after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has cost the United States nearly 700,000 jobs through 2010.

U.S. trade with China has certainly failed to deliver on the promised benefits of growing exports. Since that country entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the U.S. has lost 2.7 million jobs through 2011 due to growing trade deficits with China.

And the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) has also resulted in growing trade deficits with that country and the loss of more than 40,000 U.S. jobs.

Most of the trade-related job losses are concentrated in manufacturing, and growing trade deficits are responsible for a large share of the decline in U.S. manufacturing employment over the past fifteen years [offshoring goes back 40 years].

Using estimates of changes in two-way trade between the U.S. and the EU under the agreement reveals that TTIP is projected to result in a growing U.S. trade deficit with the EU and the loss of at least 71,000 additional U.S. jobs.

From the Economic Populist regarding the TPP trade agreement:

The pharmaceutical companies are having a field day, raising drug prices for the entire globe. They do this through patents and thus monopoly rights on manufacture of the particular drug. Normally patents expire and this expiration paves the way for generics production of the drug in question. The document released by Wikileaks shows Big Pharma would be allowed to re-issue patents on drugs where that patent is about to expire, thus extending their monopoly and control of the price of that drug. Generally speaking patents stop generics from being made and sold and allows Pharmaceutical companies to charge exorbitant prices on drugs where they control manufacture and supply.

The TPP is also projected to lose jobs the same as other trade agreements such as NAFTA and the China PNTR. Claims to the contrary are as usual pure baloney, yet regardless of statistical hard facts, lobbyists will continue to make false claims on what TPP will actually do to the U.S. workforce

This trade deal is so bad, TPP would even decimate what is left of Buy America policies. TPP would also allow banks to escape regulation.

Since 1993 with the start of NAFTA, America has just been hammered by these bad trade deals which reduce economic growth, increase the deficit and cost America millions of jobs.

The problem is, no matter what kind of facts come out about these trade deals, or how many jobs are lost and how much damage they do to the U.S. economy, nothing seems to stop their enactment. The reason is, these trade deals are created, crafted and negotiated by multinational corporations and are primarily for multinational corporations. Corporations run the globe, not nations. Even when the vast majority of the people try to stop these bad deals, there are always enough corrupt politicians, including Presidents, to make sure these corporations get exactly what they want, regardless of what it does to a sovereign nation.

A prior study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) showed that the vast majority of U.S. workers would see wage losses as a result of the pending "free trade agreement" (TPP) --- while at the same time, estimates of the U.S. economic gains would be very small --- only 0.13 percent of GDP by 2025.

Today’s trade deals, moreover, aren’t just about eliminating quotas and tariffs. Environmental regulations, food safety, public health and worker rights all get wrapped up in modern trade talks, which are as much about shaping global rules of competition as they are about prying open markets.

The TPP and the EU treaties might have more legitimacy if more transparency could lead to more debate. The voters and taxpayers shouldn’t have to rely on leaks to find out what’s in a trade treaty.

November 20, 2013 - How China Can Raise Its Economic Game - "Participating in the American-led TPP would allow the country to meet many of the goals set out by the Communist Party at its recent plenum."

  • We urge policymakers to continue opening up the country's economy and society to seize opportunities in the global economy. The 35 years of reform experience demonstrate the success of this strategy. 
  • From the establishment of special economic zones to the admission into the World Trade Organization, liberalization has proven to be a most powerful growth driver. 
  • While Beijing regarded the negotiations as part of the U.S. "pivot" toward Asia and largely an instrument deployed to contain China, its view today has become more positive. 
  • At the recent APEC meeting in Bali, President Xi Jinping said China was open to any partnership that would further integration of the Asia-Pacific region. 
  • On closer scrutiny, the goals of the trade pact coincide with China's own goals to liberalize its economy. Thus, Beijing would be wise to study it, to see how China may fit in. 
  • The partnership would be good for Chinese trade. With its target of achieving zero tariffs for 99 percent of the agricultural and industrial products in discussion, the TPP is committed to freer trade than WTO standards require, and stricter than China's own trade pacts with others. 
  • Fair competition for all . . . is just what China needs, as it struggles to stop its state-owned industries from dominating the market. Again, this accords with the plenum's view. 
  • These and other provisions of the trade partnership, including in labor and environmental standards, in fact mirror the goals set out by party leadership. 
  • China should seek to join negotiations for the TPP, so its voice may 

Bloomberg: PBOC Says No Longer in China's Interest to Increase Reserves

  • The People's Bank of China said the country does not benefit any more from increases in its foreign-currency holdings, adding to signs policy makers will rein in dollar purchases that limit the yuan's appreciation.
  • Yi's comments didn't imply China will be cutting its holdings of U.S. government debt, said Scotiabank's Tihanyi. "They are probably going to keep their allocations reasonably stable unless there's a big policy shift, but it means they will possibly be buying less at the margin."

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