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Free Trade Discussion

Old 01-21-17, 04:52 PM
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Free Trade Discussion

With the incoming administration winning a good deal of its support with the idea of rolling back or renegotiating free trade deals, I was wondering what the group here felt about free trade. My gut tells me free trade is better than a lot of tariffs. I used to be more protectionist, but I've kind of evolved to think that free trade is a better model because it helps level the playing field and helps developing nations pull more people out of poverty. I think it also binds nations together making wars less likely between those nations. The issue comes about when an established manufacturing nation like the US loses jobs when third world countries can provide labor that is so much cheaper than the US. I think one way we've really failed workers who have been laid off is that we really haven't put the best effort we can into retraining. We mostly pay lip service to it and not actually give people the new skills they could use to succeed with newer jobs that are being created. I don't consider myself an expert in this concept at all, so I was wondering what your takes are on free trade. I get that this will likely turn into another Trump thread and I guess that's ok, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the concept (free trade, fair trade, free market, etc).

Wikipedia Free Trade definition
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Old 01-21-17, 06:15 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

I disagree with pulling out of these trade deals ... trade benefits us. That said, renegotiating old deals is not really a bad idea
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Old 01-21-17, 06:19 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
I think one way we've really failed workers who have been laid off is that we really haven't put the best effort we can into retraining. We mostly pay lip service to it and not actually give people the new skills they could use to succeed with newer jobs that are being created. I don't consider myself an expert in this concept at all, so I was wondering what your takes are on free trade. I get that this will likely turn into another Trump thread and I guess that's ok, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the concept (free trade, fair trade, free market, etc).
Agreed.

The biggest mistake both sides made was to not actually spend real $$ on college or training for displaced workers in the last couple of decades. We needed some robust training programs and at least 2-yr college degree funds.

I'm a rust belt state person who has some familiarity with some of the worst-off cities because of this (Flint, Detroit).

Republicans, of course, didn't do it because it offends their free market sensibilities, I assume. Because free college would be socialism.

Democrats, I'm not sure. Bernie got on the free college bandwagon but he's not even really a Democrat. Not many of them were there.

Statistics seem to show that free trade benefits the country overall, but it does displace workers for long amounts of time. Someone needed to do something about that.
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Old 01-21-17, 06:20 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by BearFan View Post
I disagree with pulling out of these trade deals ... trade benefits us. That said, renegotiating old deals is not really a bad idea
I'm not totally against it either. And some countries don't necessarily play with a level playing field either (currency manipulation, government subsidies, etc). I think if we completely run from free trade, we will be left behind by the Chinas of the world though.
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Old 01-21-17, 06:22 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Problem with TPP and other Trade deals is they are packed with other crap that has nothing to do with Trade, for example the copyright sections
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Old 01-21-17, 06:42 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by GreenMonkey View Post
The biggest mistake both sides made was to not actually spend real $$ on college or training for displaced workers in the last couple of decades.
This already exists, it's called the TRA, Trade Readjustment Allowances.
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Old 01-21-17, 07:34 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by Philly30 View Post
Problem with TPP and other Trade deals is they are packed with other crap that has nothing to do with Trade, for example the copyright sections
Copyright has a lot to do with trade. Entertainment is one of our biggest exports (everyone watches our TV and movies).

As for the original question, I firmly support free trade. I'd like to see us leverage it to demand better worker/environmental protections in other countries (level the playing field), and I'd like to see us take steps internally to distribute the proceeds of trade (tax the domestic winners and use the proceeds to help the domestic losers retool). But by and large, free trade is a very large net positive.
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Old 01-22-17, 03:07 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Free trade benefits people. For example, you can go to Harbor Freight and buy a basic socket set that was made overseas for $23, or you can buy a similarly-sized Proto socket set that was made in the USA for $230. The result is that more people can afford to buy socket sets.

I work in a plant that sells product all over the world. We get audited by quality inspectors from the US, Canada, Brazil, the EU, China, and Japan. That's not uncommon for modern manufacturing. Trump's supporters want to kick over those arrangements in the hope that they'll get something better.

It's easier to tear something down than to build a replacement.

Last edited by Nick Danger; 01-22-17 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 01-22-17, 03:11 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
I'm not totally against it either. And some countries don't necessarily play with a level playing field either (currency manipulation, government subsidies, etc). I think if we completely run from free trade, we will be left behind by the Chinas of the world though.
No doubt ... like a lot of things, exactly what form these re negotiations will take .. who knows? But year, I am not against the concept of renegotiating older agreements and alliances. Times change. This is one thing Trump might find more support for Dems than GOPers
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Old 01-22-17, 10:51 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

The Obama administration tried to get funding for a retraining program for people whose jobs are gone forever, but couldn't get funding through congress. Hilary Clinton also spoke of setting up a program had she been elected.
Renegotiating trade deals might work, but it has to be done with diplomacy. If you piss off other countries, they might impose tariffs on the USA. I tend to lack confidence in Trump being diplomatic. He's already pissing off everybody.
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Old 01-22-17, 11:14 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Free trade benefits people. For example, you can go to Harbor Freight and buy a basic socket set that was made overseas for $23, or you can buy a similarly-sized Proto socket set that was made in the USA for $230. The result is that more people can afford to buy socket sets.
I'm in the business. Must interject. That Harbor Freight products are garbage. Good for a DIY guy. A socket set is a rudimentary product that might hold a little more value. Though it's still going to wear faster than a Proto. For whatever reason, those cheaper tools have less density in their metals. I'm not sure if that's an effort to save pennies, weight, or it has something to do with using recycled metals. But it's not just a brand name. There's definitely a difference between Harbor Freight and Proto (or Snap-On).

I wouldn't touch their pallet jacks, etc. etc. The stuff just breaks so fast. One thing that I have tons of experience with is pipe threaders. Their junk electric handheld will last a proportional amount of time compared to a Ridgid 700 (though their 600 and 690 is manufactured overseas, which disappoints many fans). The generic is 20% the cost, and will last 5% as long. The Harbor Freight version isn't even a consideration for someone who plans to thread on the job. And really, if you're doing something around the house, just measure up and have Home Depot or a plumbing supply shop do it for you.

Harbor Freight attracts people who don't know better, and people who don't use their tools more than a few times a year.
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Old 01-22-17, 11:22 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by Sonny View Post
I tend to lack confidence in Trump being diplomatic. He's already pissing off everybody.
That gets complex, and nobody really talks about it. Businesses need to make money. People expect that 5%-10% growth and return on investment. If they don't get it, they'll invest elsewhere. Business isn't magic. Look at what happened with Obamacare. Rates went up 400%. Not because Health Net is an evil company. But because that's what they had to do to support their ballooning costs.

The USA exports a lot too. And will be susceptible to increased tariffs on exports. Countries and businesses are going to fight back if they can't adjust and keep their margins healthy.

Then you're looking at increased cost of goods. Plus, stuff made in the USA doesn't necessarily mean "quality" anymore. Deregulation, union-busting, lower-paying jobs, etc.

It's a lot of disruption. I don't know if it's worth the risk.
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Old 01-22-17, 11:34 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

I am both for it and against it depending on the terms.

In general, I am against a free flowing global economy where an employer in any country can hire a worker in any country. US workers need to earn more than say workers in the Philippines. It simply isn't fair to have workers in these two countries compete for minimum acceptable salary to work a job. The Philippines worker will always have a lower minimum.

The assumption that the American worker will always have a 'higher level' job and its only the 'lower level' jobs that will go outside the country is not a good one.

Read up on how Disney outsourced their IT support to an India company and all the insane stories that followed. That put lots of US workers out of a good paying jobs, and handed money directly to non-US workers. Those are the kinds of things our government should not allow to happen to it's work force.

Oh look someone in India will work for a bag of rice per week and do your IT support. US worker, can you compete with that? F-that...

Not sure how anyone in the US can see that as a good thing. I am sure the spin on the situation will begin.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/25/tech...y-h1b-workers/

http://www.computerworld.com/article...t-workers.html
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Old 01-22-17, 11:44 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Copyright has a lot to do with trade. Entertainment is one of our biggest exports (everyone watches our TV and movies).
And there's already an international treaty on copyright signed by most countries on Earth, including those taking part in TPP. The point of the TPP copyright provisions is to force Asia-Pacific countries to expand copyright terms by twenty years from the Berne Convention baseline of life+50. Telling Japan that they should keep old American films under copyright for an extra twenty years doesn't have anything to do with free trade.
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Old 01-23-17, 12:20 AM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Two votes against free trade.

I didn't know Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were members of DVD Talk.
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Old 01-23-17, 12:52 AM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
The USA exports a lot too. And will be susceptible to increased tariffs on exports. Countries and businesses are going to fight back if they can't adjust and keep their margins healthy.

Then you're looking at increased cost of goods. Plus, stuff made in the USA doesn't necessarily mean "quality" anymore. Deregulation, union-busting, lower-paying jobs, etc.

It's a lot of disruption. I don't know if it's worth the risk.
Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
Oh look someone in India will work for a bag of rice per week and do your IT support. US worker, can you compete with that? F-that...

Not sure how anyone in the US can see that as a good thing. I am sure the spin on the situation will begin.
I agree with Troy. Free trade allows companies to make their products or obtain their services from whichever countries or companies offer the lowest cost. If you discourage that through protectionism, you might in the short term protect American jobs, but you will also increase the cost of goods or services which will hurt consumers (including Americans), the economy (due to higher inflation), and reduce the ability and willingness of other countries to buy American goods.

It's hard to recognize it when we are swimming in a sea of Chinese manufactured goods, but the US exports a lot of the bigger goods (airplanes, Caterpillar, weapons) and a lot of services, and I am sure that other countries will not sit idly by when we stop buying their things.

It's a complicated issue, and you cannot just get only the good things of free trade without getting the bad effects too.
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Old 01-23-17, 05:30 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Before and after.




How much blackmail does Putin have on Republicans that they're going along with this, no question asked.
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Old 01-23-17, 05:42 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
And there's already an international treaty on copyright signed by most countries on Earth, including those taking part in TPP. The point of the TPP copyright provisions is to force Asia-Pacific countries to expand copyright terms by twenty years from the Berne Convention baseline of life+50. Telling Japan that they should keep old American films under copyright for an extra twenty years doesn't have anything to do with free trade.
Whether the copyright provisions in TPP were good provisions is a separate question from the point I was responding to, which was the assertion that "copyright has nothing to do with trade."

The TPP provisions were focused on giving U.S. companies better tools to combat piracy in Asia. In addition, they did seek to have other signatories conform to the current U.S. law of life plus 70 years. Which, again, we can debate the merit of -- I happen to agree with you that it's too long, but in the U.S., that's already what we're dealing with and TPP would have changed nothing.
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Old 01-23-17, 06:09 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

While perhaps a bit long, I have always found the (satirical) Candlestick Maker Petition (1845) by Frédéric Bastiat to be a great refutation of the (sometimes seemingly pretty good) arguments for imposing tarifs. It may seem a bit long but I promise it's a good read:

Spoiler:
A PETITION

From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting.

To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Open letter to the French Parliament.

Gentlemen:

You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and have little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, that is, to reserve the domestic market for domestic industry.

We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for your — what shall we call it? Your theory? No, nothing is more deceptive than theory. Your doctrine? Your system? Your principle? But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice — your practice without theory and without principle.

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us [note: this a reference to the UK's foggy reputation].

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

Be good enough, honourable deputies, to take our request seriously, and do not reject it without at least hearing the reasons that we have to advance in its support.

First, if you shut off as much as possible all access to natural light, and thereby create a need for artificial light, what industry in France will not ultimately be encouraged?

If France consumes more tallow, there will have to be more cattle and sheep, and, consequently, we shall see an increase in cleared fields, meat, wool, leather, and especially manure, the basis of all agricultural wealth.

If France consumes more oil, we shall see an expansion in the cultivation of the poppy, the olive, and rapeseed. These rich yet soil-exhausting plants will come at just the right time to enable us to put to profitable use the increased fertility that the breeding of cattle will impart to the land.

Our moors will be covered with resinous trees. Numerous swarms of bees will gather from our mountains the perfumed treasures that today waste their fragrance, like the flowers from which they emanate. Thus, there is not one branch of agriculture that would not undergo a great expansion.

The same holds true of shipping. Thousands of vessels will engage in whaling, and in a short time we shall have a fleet capable of upholding the honour of France and of gratifying the patriotic aspirations of the undersigned petitioners, chandlers, etc.

But what shall we say of the specialities of Parisian manufacture? Henceforth you will behold gilding, bronze, and crystal in candlesticks, in lamps, in chandeliers, in candelabra sparkling in spacious emporia compared with which those of today are but stalls.

There is no needy resin-collector on the heights of his sand dunes, no poor miner in the depths of his black pit, who will not receive higher wages and enjoy increased prosperity.

It needs but a little reflection, gentlemen, to be convinced that there is perhaps not one Frenchman, from the wealthy stockholder of the Anzin Company to the humblest vendor of matches, whose condition would not be improved by the success of our petition.

We anticipate your objections, gentlemen; but there is not a single one of them that you have not picked up from the musty old books of the advocates of free trade. We defy you to utter a word against us that will not instantly rebound against yourselves and the principle behind all your policy.

Will you tell us that, though we may gain by this protection, France will not gain at all, because the consumer will bear the expense?

We have our answer ready:

You no longer have the right to invoke the interests of the consumer. You have sacrificed him whenever you have found his interests opposed to those of the producer. You have done so in order to encourage industry and to increase employment. For the same reason you ought to do so this time too.

Indeed, you yourselves have anticipated this objection. When told that the consumer has a stake in the free entry of iron, coal, sesame, wheat, and textiles, "Yes," you reply, "but the producer has a stake in their exclusion." Very well, surely if consumers have a stake in the admission of natural light, producers have a stake in its interdiction.

"But," you may still say, "the producer and the consumer are one and the same person. If the manufacturer profits by protection, he will make the farmer prosperous. Contrariwise, if agriculture is prosperous, it will open markets for manufactured goods." Very well, If you grant us a monopoly over the production of lighting during the day, first of all we shall buy large amounts of tallow, charcoal, oil, resin, wax, alcohol, silver, iron, bronze, and crystal, to supply our industry; and, moreover, we and our numerous suppliers, having become rich, will consume a great deal and spread prosperity into all areas of domestic industry.

Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift of Nature, and that to reject such gifts would be to reject wealth itself under the pretext of encouraging the means of acquiring it?

But if you take this position, you strike a mortal blow at your own policy; remember that up to now you have always excluded foreign goods because and in proportion as they approximate gratuitous gifts. You have only half as good a reason for complying with the demands of other monopolists as you have for granting our petition, which is in complete accord with your established policy; and to reject our demands precisely because they are better founded than anyone else's would be tantamount to accepting the equation: + ✕ + = -; in other words, it would be to heap absurdity upon absurdity.

Labour and Nature collaborate in varying proportions, depending upon the country and the climate, in the production of a commodity. The part that Nature contributes is always free of charge; it is the part contributed by human labour that constitutes value and is paid for.

If an orange from Lisbon sells for half the price of an orange from Paris, it is because the natural heat of the sun, which is, of course, free of charge, does for the former what the latter owes to artificial heating, which necessarily has to be paid for in the market.

Thus, when an orange reaches us from Portugal, one can say that it is given to us half free of charge, or, in other words, at half price as compared with those from Paris.

Now, it is precisely on the basis of its being semigratuitous (pardon the word) that you maintain it should be barred. You ask: "How can French labour withstand the competition of foreign labour when the former has to do all the work, whereas the latter has to do only half, the sun taking care of the rest?'' But if the fact that a product is half free of charge leads you to exclude it from competition, how can its being totally free of charge induce you to admit it into competition? Either you are not consistent, or you should, after excluding what is half free of charge as harmful to our domestic industry, exclude what is totally gratuitous with all the more reason and with twice the zeal.

To take another example: When a product — coal, iron, wheat, or textiles — comes to us from abroad, and when we can acquire it for less labour than if we produced it ourselves, the difference is a gratuitous gift that is conferred up on us. The size of this gift is proportionate to the extent of this difference. It is a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value of the product if the foreigner asks of us only three-quarters, one-half, or one-quarter as high a price. It is as complete as it can be when the donor, like the sun in providing us with light, asks nothing from us. The question, and we pose it formally, is whether what you desire for France is the benefit of consumption free of charge or the alleged advantages of onerous production. Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you ban, as you do, foreign coal, iron, wheat, and textiles, in proportion as their price approaches zero, how inconsistent it would be to admit the light of the sun, whose price is zero all day long!

Last edited by Mark_vdH; 01-23-17 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 01-23-17, 07:03 PM
  #20  
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
With the incoming administration winning a good deal of its support with the idea of rolling back or renegotiating free trade deals, I was wondering what the group here felt about free trade. My gut tells me free trade is better than a lot of tariffs. I used to be more protectionist, but I've kind of evolved to think that free trade is a better model because it helps level the playing field and helps developing nations pull more people out of poverty. I think it also binds nations together making wars less likely between those nations. The issue comes about when an established manufacturing nation like the US loses jobs when third world countries can provide labor that is so much cheaper than the US. I think one way we've really failed workers who have been laid off is that we really haven't put the best effort we can into retraining. We mostly pay lip service to it and not actually give people the new skills they could use to succeed with newer jobs that are being created. I don't consider myself an expert in this concept at all, so I was wondering what your takes are on free trade. I get that this will likely turn into another Trump thread and I guess that's ok, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the concept (free trade, fair trade, free market, etc).

Wikipedia Free Trade definition
It's more than just cheaper labor. It's human rights violations that aren't taken seriously because they are a favored trade nation. It's violations of currency practices that go without serious sanctions, etc. These types of actions hurt other economies, and allows some countries to cheat without recourse.

TPP protects "bad faith" countries and protects the companies that do business there. It also puts pressure on American politicians to support non-US policies that are questionable.

With America First, we make the policies that are more aligned with American values...not the values of some country's dictator who thinks it's ok to exploit human rights violations.

Trump is not against global trade. He's against negotiating deals where the other country gets a better agreement.

So, just like other countries who have said, "Our Country First"...now we're doing the same.

I'm not sure why America First is so bad. Other countries have been doing this but for some reason America having this belief system is wrong. Why is that.

If you're a parent, do you do everything for other kids and let your own kids do without? I wouldn't think so. Most parents are very protective of their own kids. And rightfully so. It's just the way a nuclear family is.

I see very few Global Parents in the US. But yet somehow expanding on this belief is wrong.

America is one big family, and we're simply saying, we are looking out for own first. Doesn't mean we don't care about others. It just means we have priorities...just like every other parent country.

Some take elements from nationalism and smash it against other forms of governments, proclaiming they are the same. They are not. And that's just spreading fear and misinformation.
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Old 01-23-17, 08:40 PM
  #21  
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by movielib View Post
Two votes against free trade.

I didn't know Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were members of DVD Talk.
Three votes now. I see Hillary joined them. Late and me-tooing as usual.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:35 AM
  #22  
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Trade between countries is almost as comingled as trade between states. If a plant moves from one state to another, one state loses, another gains. It's a wash as far as the economy as a whole is concerned. If a company decides to stay in the U.S, or move back, the foreign workers who would have had those jobs don't have the money to buy goods imported from the U.S. so U.S. workers still lose jobs.
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Old 01-24-17, 03:33 PM
  #23  
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN by sending our economy into the toilet.

Australia open to China and Indonesia joining TPP after US pulls out
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Old 01-24-17, 03:39 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN by sending our economy into the toilet.

Australia open to China and Indonesia joining TPP after US pulls out
If China is going to give countries less of a headache with trade policy or a better deal, why wouldn't they go with China? I expect China to make inroads into the Americas as well with free trade deals.
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Old 01-30-17, 08:22 PM
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Re: Free Trade Discussion

https://www.wsj.com/articles/preside...off-1485733389

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY
Jan. 29, 2017 6:43 p.m. ET

The author of “The Art of the Deal” has badly botched his first big one on the world stage, and not because he failed to stake out a tough position. In his effort to extract concessions from Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Trump has failed to understand his opponent.

It isn’t quite right to say that negotiations were scheduled to begin this week, with Mr. Trump hosting Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto in Washington. Mr. Trump has been negotiating since last year’s campaign. His strategy has been to soften up the opponent with verbal abuse and extreme threats, including the possibility of tearing up Nafta altogether.

“The president-elect has done a wonderful job of preconditioning other countries [with] whom we will be negotiating that change is coming,” Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross gloated during his Senate confirmation hearing. “The peso didn’t go down 35% by accident. Even the Canadian dollar has gotten somewhat weaker—also not an accident. He has done some of the work that we need to do in order to get better trade deals.”

Having witnessed his nation and its currency pummeled in the public square, the Mexican president was supposed to crawl to Washington and agree to whatever terms his U.S. counterpart put on the table. Maybe Mr. Trump should have Googled the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexicans are still smarting over that one.

After Mr. Trump told Mexico that a promise to pay for a border wall was a prerequisite for the scheduled meeting, Mr. Peña Nieto canceled. The White House responded by saying it would extract the money for the wall with a 20% tariff on Mexican exports to the U.S. Of course American consumers would be the ones paying. But in any case it would be the end of Nafta.

Americans have to hope their new president is not that reckless. Even the Soviets recognized that mutually assured destruction was a bad idea. A phone call between the two heads of state on Friday ended with both sides agreeing to future discussions.

North American free trade cannot be dissolved without inflicting great harm on the country that Mr. Trump has sworn to protect. Mexico is the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner, and some six million American jobs rely on trade with the southern neighbor. According to the Agriculture Department, “sales of food and farm products to Mexico totaled a record $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2014.” That was 13% of U.S. agricultural exports.

Mr. Trump says that the U.S. has been outfoxed in manufacturing because American companies now make things in Mexico. But imports from Mexico contain significant American content, and production-sharing across the continent has given U.S. companies an edge in the global market. New tariffs on Mexican imports would damage that competitiveness and may result in retaliatory Mexican tariffs on U.S. exports.

Legal experts say it isn’t clear how much unilateral power Mr. Trump has to maneuver. Article 2205 of Nafta allows the president to withdraw from the agreement. But it is being debated whether that would repeal the congressional legislation that put it into effect. If so, tariffs would revert to pre-Nafta levels, which implies using the World Trade Organization tariff schedule. American exporters to Mexico would face greater tariff hikes than Mexican exporters to the U.S., because Mexico accepted much greater tariff reductions under Nafta than the U.S. did.

A Jan. 10 paper from the international law firm White & Case says that its reading of the agreement and U.S. law “implies that substantive modifications of the Nafta outside of tariffs and rules of origin would require congressional authorization.” The rules of origin—the share of a product that must be Nafta-sourced—have changed several times already, and Mexico might agree to alter them again. But it has said that it won’t budge on tariffs.


Mr. Trump might try to invoke the International Economic Emergency Powers Act of 1977 to slap his oft-promised punitive tariff on Mexican imports. But it is hard to argue that national security is being threatened.

The 45th president has said he wants to craft new bilateral trade agreements. Mexico says it is not interested. It has learned a hard lesson about relying on an unreliable partner, and its aim now is to diversify its trade portfolio. Policy makers are said to be exploring new agreements in the region with countries eager to replace U.S. agricultural suppliers.

Mr. Trump’s demagoguery has offended Mexican pride. But it has also destabilized an economy that was already buffeted by low oil prices. As the rector of ITAM, one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, said earlier this month, “It would be, perhaps, preferable to leave Nafta aside rather than a long process of negotiation and tension.” Mexicans can bargain too.

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Got to love (hate) how Trump thinks the USA is in complete control, and the only country that matters. You can't act like an ass and not expect blowback. Will he learn this at any point? Or is it going to be four years of making enemies who essentially 'blacklist' the USA?

The more Trump acts like this, the more countries are going to turn their back to the USA and in-turn leave us out of their own dealings.

I thought things were going alright. But this administration's goal is to 'burn it all down'.

Real Question: Which countries do we see booming during Trump's years? I don't think it's the USA. Has this been discussed anywhere? Some countries are probably positioned to profit from Trump's disruption. But I don't know who they are.
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