November 2, 2019 by epoetus
And the trade wars? And the agreements regarding asylum seekers?
#45IdiOTUS has promoted a fictional narrative that it is he and only he who matters in trade agreement talks, setting tariffs and starting trade wars. Is this true? And what is really going on here?
Regarding the new NAFTA:
• The recent version of NAFTA, now called US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and has not been approved by congress yet. So it is not the law of the land and is not official in Canada either – only Mexico has ratified it.
• USMCA in its original form has not been supported by the Democrats or the AFL-CIO.
• The Democrats in congress have been re-negotiating the deal with Mexico, specifically on labor related terms, which is a break with recent tradition. Normally the White House drives all of the negotiations for trade deals.
• USMCA is not really very different from the original NAFTA
In summary, it appears that #45IdiOTUS did not take these negotiations all the way to the end zone. The Democrats in Congress have picked up the ball and are running with it. Does this mean that #45IdOTUS will refuse to sign it, or the Senate will refuse to approve this revised version of USMCA – probably.
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What about the asylum immigration agreement with the CAFTA states of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and others like Mexico?
• These negotiations are not really related to a trade agreement. They are about the asylum policies that the White House has been dogmatically pursuing.
• The basic goal of these negotiations is to force migrants to file for asylum in third countries *before* they attempt to cross the border into the US – effectively stopping them from legitimately applying for asylum at the US border.
• Congress is not involved in this, and therefore it cannot be considered a true foreign relations agreement, as it will not become law.
• It appears that these agreements also intend to filter out people coming from Cuba, Nicaragua and possibly other countries.
Tariffs and Trade Wars
• Congress has not been involved in this, and must be involved in tariff definition unless it is a national security related matter.
• It is hard to demonstrate that the tariffs which have provoked a trade war is actually a national security concern. Therefore Congress must be involved.
• China just won a $3.6B case in the WTO against US dumping policies
• The Trade War with China has had devastating impacts on the agricultural business sector in the US – one that may never be recovered from
It is fair to say that all of these events – USMCA, unilateral asylum negotiations, tariffs and trade wars – have not gained the US much if anything but the case for the long term damage done is clear. NAFTA was a terrible trade agreement in its day, and the USMCA, which is largely unchanged from the original NAFTA is not moving the bar at all. If the Democratically renegotiated version of USMCA gets finalized, likely it will not be approved by the Republican Senate. If we make a transition to a more progressively represented Democratic party, likely USMCA will not be supported by them. But the President gets to show the world that he got rid of NAFTA – or did he? The asylum agreements have no basis in the normal course of legislative business, and can be considered an executive order which could be immediately cancelled or revised by the next President. There is no benefit in the asylum agreements to the American people – it is effectively a grandstanding effort by the President to show the world he is “tough.” A better way of describing this is to say that the President is a racist, who is obsessed with ethnic cleansing, and the American people lose face in the eyes of the world because of that. The same applies to the Trade Wars – it shows the world he is tough. Unfortunately he has kicked a hornets nest that has stung this country very badly, so badly that there are impacts that may not be recoverable (e.g. the soybean industry and farm bankruptcies). Could it be that all of this is yet more cause for Putin to celebrate the accomplishments of his “Moscovian candidate?” Pelosi says that “all roads seem to lead to Putin.”
VOX the new nafta explained
Brookings institute on the new NAFTA – not very different
AFL-CIO was against it when it was first announced and probably still is
Mexico has promised labor updates to help Democrats approve it
El Salvador on asylum agreement
Farm Bankruptcies up 24% due to trade war
“All roads seem to lead to Putin” – Pelosi