Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Trade

Quotation

If the electronics industry sneezes, few places will catch a cold as quickly as Portland. The industry employs close to 40,000 people in Oregon, including 20,000 at Intel, the state’s largest private employer. Oregon exported $2.7 billion in electronics goods to China last year, more than any state other than California — a total that doesn’t include companies, like ControlTek, that are just across the Columbia River in Washington State.

— The New York Times: Trade war starts changing manufacturers in hard-to-reverse ways 

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Canada demands U.S. end ‘fire at will’ laws as part of NAFTA talks

“Canadian negotiators are demanding the United States roll back so-called ‘right to work’ [fire at will] laws – accused of gutting unions in some U.S. states by starving them of money – as part of the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. The request is part of a push by Ottawa to get the U.S. and Mexico to adopt higher labour standards under the deal,” The Globe and Mail reports.

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Heroin, Nazis, and Agent Orange: Inside the $66 billion proposed merger between Bayer and Monsanto

“These companies used to sell heroin and Agent Orange. Now, they want to form the world’s largest supplier of seeds and pesticides,” reports Bloomberg’s Lydia Mulvany. Yuck! NPI fiercely opposes this merger and will ask the governments of the United States and Europe to block it.

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TPP is becoming a tough sell in Australia, too

Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is mounting in Australia, where critics have a stronger hand after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s party lost seats in recent parliamentary elections.

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Aside

Rock Against the TPP is coming to the Pacific Northwest! RSVP now

Are you ready to help defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Join progressive activists and socially conscious musicians for a free concert and rally against the disastrous TPP, which the Obama administration has vowed to send to Congress.

What is this, anyway?

Rock Against the TPP is a massive effort to sound the alarm about the toxic backroom deal that is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Through a series of large-scale educational concert events, protests, teach-ins, and trainings, we’ll reach thousands of people who haven’t heard about the TPP yet, and ignite a movement to stop it in its tracks. The tour is a partnership between viral internet freedom nonprofit Fight for the Futureand Firebrand Records, the new freedom fighting record label co-founded by Ryan Harvey and Tom Morello.

Seattle stop details:

Showbox SoDo 1700 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA (Map)

How to Fight the TPP: Teach-In & Training hosted by Evangeline Lilly.

RSVP here, and don’t forget to share the event on Facebook!

Rock Against the TPP concert featuring Talib Kweli, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag (acoustic), Downtown Boys, bell’s roar, Taina Asili, Evan Greer, and more.

All events are free, all ages, and wheelchair accessible. Contact team@fightforthefuture.org with any questions.

Portland stop details are still being finalized, but you can RSVP here if you’re an Oregonian or live in Southwest Washington. The Portland Rock Against the TPP event will happen on Saturday, August 20th.

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The TPP is ‘disastrous for working families’ and central to the 2016 campaign

“The popular fury over trade policies that have devastated American communities is rarely taken seriously by the political and media elites that keep trying to narrow the national political discourse into an endless loop of empty discussions about personalities and tactics. But trade is a huge issue on the ground in states where Americans actually vote,” writes The Nation’s John Nichols.

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Federal Way votes to oppose Chinese-backed methanol plant in Tacoma

“Opposition against a proposed natural gas-to-methanol plant in Tacoma grew Thursday night with a unanimous vote against the project by the Federal Way City Council.” KING5 reports.

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Countries sign the TPP… Whatever happened to the ‘debate’ we were promised before signing?

TechDirect’s Mike Masnick reacts to the news that the twelve nations involved in the gargantuan Trans-Pacific Partnership have “signed” the pact. The TPP has been called a trade deal, but most of the TPP’s provisions actually have more to do with creating rules favorable to multinational corporations that could trump national laws intended to protect important things like individual privacy and manufacturing jobs than lowering barriers to trade.

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Quotation

The United States, which sees itself as the champion of entrepreneurship, has devised a deal that seems designed to make it harder for new high-tech businesses to start, scale up and succeed. Instead of “Made in America,” the U.S. Trade Representative should describe the deal for what it truly is: “The delight of Beijing.” A careful reading of the agreement shows that it is Chinese economic officials who should be opening their best champagne in celebration.

— Dan Breznitz: Trans-Pacific Partnership is a wonderful idea – for China

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The clock is ticking on a time bomb that could blow up a free Internet: the TPP

“The agreement poses a grave threat to our basic right to access information and express ourselves on the web,” writes Evan Greer.

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Canada’s technology sector a big loser in final TPP deal, BlackBerry cofounder says

The Globe and Mail talks to former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie, Tamir Israel of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic in Ottawa, and University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab researcher Christopher Parsons about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Canada’s technology sector.

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Video Clip

PBS reports: “Just days after the U.S. and eleven nations released a monumental trade deal that still faces a fight in Congress, Hillary Clinton says she would not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Speaking with Judy Woodruff Wednesday, the Democratic presidential candidate said that as of today, given what she knows of the deal, it does not meet her bar for creating jobs, raising wages for Americans and advancing national security.” Click the video above to see the interview.

Clinton also released this statement:

I’m continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what’s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers. But based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement. As I have said many times, we need to be sure that new trade deals meet clear tests: They have to create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. The bar has to be set very high for two reasons.

First, too often over the years we haven’t gotten the balance right on trade. We’ve seen that even a strong deal can fall short on delivering the promised benefits. So I don’t believe we can afford to keep giving new agreements the benefit of the doubt.

The risks are too high that, despite our best efforts, they will end up doing more harm than good for hard-working American families whose paychecks have barely budged in years.

Second, we can’t look at this in a vacuum. Years of Republican obstruction at home have weakened U.S. competitiveness and made it harder for Americans who lose jobs and pay because of trade to get back on their feet. Republicans have blocked the investments that we need and that President Obama has proposed in infrastructure, education, clean energy, and innovation.

They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage or defend workers’ rights or adequately fund job training.

As a result, America is less competitive than we should be. Workers have fewer protections, the potential positive effects of trade are diminished, and the negative effects are exacerbated. We’re going into this with one arm tied behind our backs.

I still believe in the goal of a strong and fair trade agreement in the Pacific as part of a broader strategy both at home and abroad, just as I did when I was Secretary of State. I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don’t believe this agreement has met it.

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Ten questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the largest trade agreement in history. But what’s really inside it? The devil, and perhaps angels, will be in the details,” writes The Seattle Times’ Jon Talton.

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Major business group stops fundraising for Republicans due to Ex-Im Bank charter expiration

Republicans are starting to suffer some political repercussions from the business community over their failure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The Hill reports: “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is indefinitely postponing a slate of political fundraisers for Republican candidates this fall, saying the influential business group must instead focus its resources on reauthorizing the embattled Export-Import Bank.”

 

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Quotation

Fooling his people may buy Mr. Putin time, and Russians are famously capable of sacrifice. But time and sacrifice will be useful only if Mr. Putin starts to come clean with his people, instead of feeding them propaganda, and begins to look for real solutions to the mess in Ukraine instead of inventing Western conspiracies.

— Putin vs. Parmesan (The New York Times editorial board)

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Stalled TPP negotiations catch Canadian conservatives off guard

The Globe and Mail reports on the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations from a Canadian perspective.

 

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Quotation

What really needs adjusting here today is the no-compromise, no-amendment attitude on trade… This vote wouldn’t be so close if this process hadn’t been so closed.

— Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), speaking after President Obama made an eleventh-hour visit to the House Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill to pitch fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (via The Huffington Post).

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Why Obama is wrong and Warren is correct on fast-track, TPP

Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren has warned fellow Democrats that a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership could undo U.S. laws such as the Dodd-Frank banking regulations later. A number of constitutional scholars and other legal experts say she’s correct, Bloomberg reports.

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Quotation

If the president is so confident it’s a good deal, he should declassify the text and let people see it before asking Congress to tie its hands on fixing it.

— Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren fires back at President Barack Obama over fast-track: Here’s what they’re really fighting about (The Plum Line)

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Quotation

The only thing weaker than sweatshop-king Nike’s empty promises is the White House’s willingness to hype them as a victory in its push for a trade deal that will make it easier for other huge corporations to ship more U.S. jobs overseas, sell tainted food products in our supermarkets, and challenge our laws in foreign tribunals.

— DFA’s Charles Chamberlain: White House promises on TPP as empty as Nike’s commitment to American jobs (via The Hill).

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Video Clip

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL, 9th district) joins Thom Hartmann to discuss fast-track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As Congress prepares to consider a bill giving him fast track powers – President Obama is now pushing the TPP hard – calling it a bridge to the future. But is it a bridge to the future, or just another grab-bag for the world’s multinational corporations?

Read More »

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