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Tue May 31, 2016, 12:53 AM

Bernie/Trump/Hillary On Trade Policy - When You Say You Are Against Free Trade Agreements

When I hear folks railing against free trade agreements and that we should repeal them, what specifically are we proposing to have happen?

1. An embargo against trade?
2. Higher tariffs on imported goods?
3. A subsidy on some or all of American goods?

It is one thing to say you want to cancel trade agreements, but what do folks think will happen if those agreements are cancelled? Also, if we are thinking higher tariffs are the way to go, why would there be a different result then what happened following the imposition of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff, which was imposed by Republicans and, in fact, it was due to Herbert Hoover's support of such protectionist measures that he won the Presidency.

Kind of curious, since we have vox on the left and CNBC on the right critiquing the respective trade views of Bernie and Trump.



Are these critiques fair or do you think the analysis misrepresents the views of the respective candidates?

31 replies, 2863 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bernie/Trump/Hillary On Trade Policy - When You Say You Are Against Free Trade Agreements (Original post)
TomCADem May 2016 OP
hollysmom May 2016 #1
larkrake May 2016 #2
TomCADem May 2016 #3
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #17
Armstead Jun 2016 #21
Recursion May 2016 #4
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #16
PufPuf23 May 2016 #5
PufPuf23 May 2016 #7
EndElectoral May 2016 #8
PufPuf23 May 2016 #10
TomCADem May 2016 #11
PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #12
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #14
PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #18
TomCADem Jun 2016 #20
Armstead Jun 2016 #22
TomCADem Jun 2016 #23
Armstead Jun 2016 #24
PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #29
TomCADem Jun 2016 #30
PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #31
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #15
pampango Jun 2016 #28
PufPuf23 May 2016 #9
jillan May 2016 #6
CrowCityDem Jun 2016 #26
pampango Jun 2016 #27
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #13
pampango Jun 2016 #19
AgingAmerican Jun 2016 #25

Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2016, 01:50 AM

1. first of all these so called trade agreements have very little to do with trade

YOu do know that , right?
Mostly it is about corporate rights, and not restricting the profit of corporations and extending the protection of patents so companies can ripoff the public on medication longer.
A trade bill would be shorter and simpler to agree to, but not these corporate rule books. they are about how you cannot deny a corporation this or that.

Oh there is stuff on there about not using slave labor and child labor and letting labor organize, but not to worry, those things are never investigated or punished, they are just the shiny object to distract the complete takeover of corporations on the world - so yes, I am totally against these trade agreements, I want a simple agreement about trade, Not about extending patent rights of companies that developed these medications with government help and then want to rip us off.

So give me a trade bill that is jsut a trade bill and not a give away of my rights to a corporation and I will be there. But the crap that our government is producing now - ditch it.

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Tue May 31, 2016, 04:30 AM

2. ditto Hollys mom


It is deregulation of Corporation, a licence to kill our industries, and raise pricing world wide

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Tue May 31, 2016, 08:44 PM

3. So, if Your Concern Is Human Rights Suffering Under Trade, What About Cuba?

Both Hillary and Bernie Sanders support the ending of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. If you believe that trade with third world countries leads to oppression, why would Bernie support the ending of a trade embargo with Cuba? Instead, it seems like Bernie is saying that trade with Cuba promotes both national security and that it benefits the people of Cuba.


“I applaud President Obama for making history by traveling to Cuba and moving relations between our two countries into a new era. This is an approach that is long overdue. I continue to stand by his calls for Congress to fully lift the failed embargo. Fifty years of Cold War is enough. It is time for Cuba and the United States to turn the page and normalize relations.”

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:17 AM

17. Your assumptions are false.

Opposing the trade agreements is not the same as opposing trade.

Mistaken, purposely mistaken assumption intended to confuse those who don't know what you are talking about.

The trade agreements have nothing to do with free trade.

In fact, they impose limits on countries by requiring that countries enact certain laws and policies in order to be able to trade with the US.

That is not free trade. That is an agreement that imposes rules on the people who live in countries.. That is an agreement through which powerful people, wealthy people take away the human right of self-determination from working people in countries around the world.

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Response to hollysmom (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 10:48 AM

21. +10000


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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2016, 09:06 PM

4. "What do folks think would happen if those agreements were cancelled?" Thank you

The woman in Mexico who lost her hands making TVs was working in a factory that Zenith had opened in 1986, almost a decade before NAFTA. NAFTA didn't make it any easier for companies to move factories to Mexico; if anything it made it harder since American unions could then sue the Mexican government for labor violations.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:14 AM

16. I think that thousands and thousands of jobs have been moved to Mexico under the

NAFTA agreement.

Most recently, Carrier air conditioning company offered its workers only $5.25 per hour in exchange for Carrier staying in the US.

These trade agreements overall are a bad deal for the US.

Sorry, but for somebody like this who remembers what life was like in the US before the trade agreements (born 1943), I know they are a horrible deal.

Used to be we girls learned to sew in junior high school. I sew a lot. The clothes we get as imports are cheap in every way. The seams are nearly nonexistent. They are made of flimsy, cheap fabric. They are in short, just awful.

When I go to clothing stores, I am reminded of the quality of clothing that I used to see in the clothes in the Communist bloc when I was traveling in the 1960s through 1980s.

We were really good at making things. With the exception of Germany, most of the people in other countries who make the cheap stuff that average Americans can afford and that are imported suck at making things.

Enough said.

I will repeat this story until I am blue in the face. I bought a used Maytag washer in 1985. I raised two children with it. I still use it. It is in great condition. It was made in America.

New washers made in other countries do not last like that.

When I had to buy a new, imported dryer, I was told I could expect it to last two-three years.

We are importing junk and exporting our dollars in exchange.

We have a terrible trade deficit.

The trade agreements hurt, have hurt and will hurt our domestic economy. They also conflict with our Constitution.

I oppose the trade agreements. I do not oppose trade. But I oppose trade that destroys our domestic economy, foists junk into our households, transfers our jobs to other countries and overall are just bad for America.

Worst of all, we think we are buying friends with these trade agreements. We aren't. We are buying contempt.

And then, of course, our balance of payments deficit will come back to bite us. It is debt and it is just a matter of time until we regret it.

No to these trade agreements. They aren't good for America.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:05 PM

5. The Free Trade Agreements are complex, full of nuance, and favor trans-national corporations.

Last edited Wed Jun 1, 2016, 11:48 PM - Edit history (2)

One problem is that the free trade models of theory do not translate well to working models.

Humans (and corporations) do not act like maximizing models in situ but component parts act to serve their own best interests.

I made several ignored posts earlier today about Colombia: Plan Colombia, Colombia Free Trade, the USA militarization of Colombia, Drummond Coal, and coal is the USA.

Think of coal from Colombia as one of a multitude of specific trade but as a natural resource market less complex and easier to isolate than most trade. There are more numbers in the following posts and links that lead to more links.

Drummond Coal is a privately held corporation in Alabama that was one of the largest domestic producers of coal. The CEO and primary owner of Drummond Coal is a Bushite and the richest man in Alabama. Now all the Drummond union coal mines in the USA are closed but one that is in the process of being closed. Drummond Coal purchased coal reserves in Colombia that came to market in 1995. The main Drummond mine is one of the largest coal mines in the world. Coal goes by rail to the Caribbean and is barged to Mobile and the ports in the northeastern USA. Drummond is the largest coal importer now into the USA, one of the largest coal exporters to northern Europe, and has begun coal exports from Colombia to China. The China and Pacific trade will increase once a railroad and port facilities are built on the Pacific. Drummond has sold 20% of the Colombia operation to a Chinese corporation.

Drummond had been tied to funding para-militaries and murders of trade unionist and native peoples to develop the Colombia operations. USA contractors have bombed FARC from Plan Colombia airbases in support of Drummond. The Netherlands at one point cut off imports of Drummond Coal because it was considered "Blood Coal" (think the Blood Diamonds of Africa). There are court cases against Drummond but none have been successful yet except for some environmental cases brought by Colombia.

Close to 50% of the free trade from Colombia is Drummond Coal. Drummond Colombia coal is a excellent quality, lower in pollutants than most domestic coal. The Colombia coal is also far cheaper than domestic coal. The cost of the coal is low. Labor is low. Transportation is extremely low from mine by rail to port, then ship to ports in USA or Europe, then rail to power plants. The Drummond coal is Colombia is still in the growth phase and gaining in efficiency and economy compared to domestic coal. The profit margin is far greater but all costs are much lower and the net is pocketed in large part by the privately held Drummond corporation.

Fracking and natural gas are being sold to the public as a transition fuel source as clean renewables (solar, wind) are developed. However, the cheap Drummond coal extends the life of existing coal burning power plants and creates an electricity market that favors power produced by the cheap coal over natural gas and the clean renewable electricity immediate future, especially in the southeaster USA served by the Drummond Mobile AL port facility.

I will copy the supporting posts from the other thread here.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #5)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:11 PM

7. The Colombia Free Trade legislation supports continued use of coal and

has other less than progressive effects as well.

Drummond Coal is based in Alabama and has closed all but one union domestic coal mine (slated for closure) because of the purchase and operation of one of the world's largest coal mines in Colombia that started operations in 1995, The union coal that once fueled power generation for Alabama Power is now fueled by cheap Colombia coal. Drummond is the 5th largest coal exporter in the world thanks to Colombia coal. Drummond built a railroad and transport facility in Colombia and has been implicated in the funding of paramilitaries and murder of trade unionists and native peoples in Colombia, there have been prosecutions but no convictions to date. Drummond has been convicted and paid fines for environmental problems in Colombia as there is local resistance even from Colombia establishment, not just workers and poor that live on impacted land.

Drummond operations are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Colombia free trade legislation. Drummond is a private company that has sold 20% of the Colombia operations to the Chinese. Gary Drummond, majority owner, is the richest person in Alabama and a Bushite.

The cheap coal from Colombia provided by Drummond is sold in the USA to the South and northeast. The Drummond coal is not only cheap but also of good quality and relatively low polluting compared to most coal. The large amount of cheap coal provided by Drummond is keeping coal plants online and suppresses shifts to natural gas and cleaner, renewable energies like solar and wind. The costs of transition, the low cost coal, and the fact that Drummond's Colombia operations are still relatively young in growth cycle and still expanding indicate that the Colombia free trade legislation represents a long term commitment to coal. Drummond is also the largest exporter of coal to northern Europe and has started exports to China. When there is a railroad and export facilty ion the Pacific side one could expect a great increase in exports to China. The huge reserves, high quality, cheap labor, cheap transportation, and relatively lax environmental controls indicate Drummond's Colombia coal will be here for some time. The Colombia free trade legislation locks this in and Drummond is the largest corporation in financial gain.

Here is some background;


Drummond Ltd. describes itself as "principally engaged in the business of mining, purchasing, processing and selling of coal and coal derivatives."

On its website it states that it "controls reserves totaling over 2 billion tons and shipped over 24 million tons of coal in 2006. Drummond primarily produces low sulfur or compliance coal, meeting Phase II requirements of the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act." The company's current mining operations are in Alabama in the United States and its La Loma mine in Cesar Department in Colombia, serving customers in both the U.S. and Europe.

A November 2007 presentation to investment analysts by the President of BHP Billiton Coal, Dave Murray, noted that Drummond had an 5% share of the global coal export trade, making it the equal fifth largest coal exporter in the world. (Drummond is equal with Shenhua).

1 Company History
2 Colombian Coal

2.1 Conflict in Colombia
2.2 WikiLeaks cables regarding paramilitary forces
2.3 Coverup of coal barge sinking

3 Alabama coal 3.1 Alabama Coal port expansion

4 Political and Public Influence

4.1 Coal Execs Invite Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush to Closed-Door Weekend Retreat (2015)
4.2 Political Contributions
4.3 Lobbying

5 Corporate Accountability

5.1 Labor
5.2 Human Rights

6 Protests against Drummond 6.1 July 2007: Protesters demand justice for murdered workers


Colombia's Drummond coal exports to reach 28 mil mt in 2015: reports

Colombia's second largest thermal coal miner Drummond is to export 28 million mt in 2015, up from the previous year's 23.1 million mt, Drummond Colombia president Jose Miguel Linares said.

Speaking to journalists on Friday and as reported by various Colombian news outlets, Linares said the Fenoco nighttime rail ban, which affected shipments between February and November, cost the company between 4.5 million and 5.5 million mt of exports during the year.

However, if Fenoco railings continue unhindered in 2016, total exports are expected to reach 35 million mt, with output marginally lower than that, Linares said.

In a more detailed interview with Colombian financial daily La Republica, Linares said that assuming Colombian coal is priced at an average of $48/mt FOB, coal sales might be around $1.68 billion in 2016.


Why Drummond and Glencore are accused of exporting Colombian blood coal (July 2, 2014)

The push to boycott “blood coal” exported from Colombia by Drummond and Glencore is gaining momentum in Europe after the publication of a report in which dozens of victims and victimizers testified that the multinational mining companies financed and promoted death squads.

MORE: Drummond, Glencore subsidiary financed paramilitaries in Colombia: Report

What is blood coal?

“Blood coal,” a reference to the infamous “blood diamonds” mined amid conflict conditions in Africa, is the term used by the PAX peace organization to refer to coal extracted from areas in Colombia where paramilitary violence has been particularly severe. “According to all the testimonies, the mining companies invited the paramilitaries to come over and start operations.”

According to the Dutch NGO, coal coming from the Colombian mines of the Glencore and Drummond multinationals has been stained by blood, as several members of the death squads guilty of an estimated 2,600 homicides in the areas surrounding their mining operations have testified their formation was supported and financed by the mining firms.

The report has already spurred a debate in the Dutch Parliament around the importation of Colombian coal. The NGO wants parliament to ban the trade of Colombian coal until the multinationals in question have implemented appropriate measures to guarantee the end of human rights violations related to mining and compensated victims of the violence they are accused of having financed.

A quarter of the small European country’s total coal imports is deemed “blood coal” by the NGO. In total, the Netherlands imported 15.4 million tons of coal from Colombia last year.


Garry N. Drummond, Sr. (born c. 1939) is an American heir, business executive and philanthropist from Alabama. He serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Drummond Company, a private coal company active in Alabama and Colombia.
Drummond Company

In 1961, Drummond joined the family business, the Drummond Company, a coal company active in Alabama. He later served as its Chief Operating Officer. He has served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1973. The company is active in coal-mining in Alabama and Colombia.

In 1979-1980, with his brother Larry and another executive, Clyde Black, Drummond was indicted of bribing three Alabama legislators, by supplying them with prostitutes. The trial lasted three months, but it was dismissed by Judge Frank McFadden; the record is now sealed.

In the 1980s, Drummond began looking for coal in Colombia, even though the country was at war. He established their first coal mine in 1995. Shortly after, the FARC bombed the railway track which carried coal from the Drummond mine to their port off the Caribbean Sea.

As of 2015, Forbes lists Drummond as the wealthiest individual in Alabama, with an estimated wealth of US$980 million

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #5)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:12 PM

8. What exactly is "Free trade" versus "Fair trade?"

Free trade seems a phrase Republicans have used to find cheap labor worldwide for corporations to exploit. The trade agreements such as NAFTA haven't really been beneficial to American workers, but have been quite beneficial to multi-national corporations.

Most union members get it even if often the leadership is looking for political leverage with the next candidate.

The idea of "Free Trade" has recently been espoused by that bastion of the working man - The US Chamber of Commerce.


Sorry, whenever I hear the phrase "free trade" I often wonder if it's free, who's really making money out of it?

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Response to EndElectoral (Reply #8)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:22 PM

10. Free trade and fair trade defined

Free trade

Free trade is a policy followed by some international markets in which countries' governments do not restrict imports from, or exports to, other countries. Free trade is exemplified by the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have established open markets. Most nations are today members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade agreements.

Fair trade

Fair trade is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries. The movement seeks to promote greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency, and respect. It promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair Trade is grounded in three core beliefs; first, producers have the power to express unity with consumers. Secondly, the world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations. Lastly, buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity and aid.

Free trade favors trans-national corporations and those that want to structure world trade on a neo-liberal free market model.

Labor and the environment are fungible and disposable.

Wealth and income is concentrated.

The free trade model is a form of neo-colonialism backed and maintained by military and economic empire.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #10)

Tue May 31, 2016, 11:47 PM

11. Isn't Bernie Proposing To Impose Tariffs on Goods from Developing Countries?

In other words, the idea is that to make trade "fair" we are going to impose a tariff on countries like Mexico, Philippines, India, etc., so that U.S. workers do not have to compete with them.

Of course, this increases the prices of consumer goods at home, so it operates as a very regressive tax, rather than progressive tax on U.S. citizens. Also, this has a devastating impact on the economics of the developing countries that we are supposedly trying to save from exploitation.

Finally, this ignores the likelihood that other foreign countries might retaliate against the U.S. by imposing tariffs on U.S. products.

So, in the end, aren't we just going down the road of Smoot-Hawley again if adopt Trump/Sanders' objections to the various trade agreements?

That being said, there are things that should be fixed, but it is far more nuanced then the way it is being portrayed by the current candidates.

I hear a lot of jargon and buzzwords like "neo-colonialism," "obligarchy," etc., but what will the candidates change? To put a fine point on it are they in favor of embargoes or tariffs?

Trump has very clearly said that he supports increasing tariffs on Chinese goods. I think Bernie also supports such a measure by opposing agreements that reduce or eliminate tariffs.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 12:51 AM

12. Smoot Hartley is a red herring and omits nearly 50 years of a successful history under GATT

-General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade - that was replaced by the WTO (World Trade Organization) in 1995.

In models, tariffs and trades reduce economic activity; but in practice, adjustments between nations and specific markets while reducing tariffs as a general principle is a more realistic and workable model (and is what occurred under GATT).

The Free Trade model works in theory but not in situ. General welfare and economic productivity are maximized if markets are free (including freedom from monopolies and cartels and labor is fairly compensated) and all parties cooperate in good faith. Also other items such as patents and mutual defense and so on .. are grafted into the legislation and treaties further weakening the theoretical model. So fortunes are made at a cost to labor and the environment and trade deficits and surpluses swing out of control -- what we have now.

Under GATT there was the concept of Most Favored Nation and under the WTO this has been replaced by the associations within various free trade agreements. The free trade model is a neo-liberal rather than Keynesian model.

Under WTO workers in developed and developing but natural resource rich nations have been harmed and there is a short term rush on easily to extract natural resources. The rich (nations or individuals) get rich and the poor poorer and all the wars and rumors of wars and financial shocks and meltdowns lead to even more instability and there are less firewalls between national economies than under GATT; the trans-national corporations rule and have scant alliance to nations. Maybe a unified global system is best and a future certainty but I doubt that we will ever reach such a utopia because it clashes with human nature and is too complex a system to maintain, especially when individuals and organizations are out to game the system.

The Chinese are smart and have built a large trade surplus but are not playing fair. The USA obtains cheap Colombia coal and exports environmental impact and in Colombia an elite only benefits.

Some items may be more expensive domestically but there will also be more income for purchases and paying taxes and income has a multiplier effect of fueling more jobs and income and then demand and more taxes.

One problem is that the concept of full employment is no longer operative. With all the technology and efficiency, there is no reason for everyone to work. But I believe anyway that folks should have a guaranteed income and surety of food, education, medical, and shelter plus reasonable transportation and some discretionary income. The income and wealth is there, just not shared.

I am surprised you brought up Smoot Hartley as that is bull shit and ignores GATT which was instrumental in the long period of post WWII prosperity.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:01 AM

14. Good post. Good analysis.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #14)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:24 AM

18. Thank you. Some days wonder if it is worth the effort. alas. eom

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 10:45 AM

20. Why does Bernie's Tariff Work as Opposed to Smoot Hawley?

Are you saying that Smoot Hawley got a bad wrap or that it is not relevant because Bernie is proposing something different? If so, what?

You list a lot of jargon and ask us to take your word for it, but it sounds like what you are saying is that increasing tariffs on Chinese goods is okay and the Chinese will not retaliate, right?

You seem very erudite so if there is an article that supports your analysis, perhaps one that you wrote, then go ahead and link it.

I want to understand where you are coming from before responding, so if you can bring yourself down to my level, which I admit is pretty low, then I can try to address your points.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #20)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 10:53 AM

22. I suspect anything you don't agree with, you just dismiss as "jargon"


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Response to Armstead (Reply #22)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 10:55 AM

23. Sorry, I don't have a Ph.D, just trying to understand if yo

If it too hard for you break things down for a guy with average intelligence like me, then you have a lot of company.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #23)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 11:03 AM

24. I didn't write it.


But part of the problem with these "free trade" deals you are defending is that they are so complex that you need a PhD to unravel the legalese and clauses and counterclauses that seem almost deliberately intended to confuse all issues involved.

The point is actually quite simple. Trade deals should focus on the process of trade, and nothing more. They should not be designed to reshape and ursurp the domestic policies or sovereignty of nations, based on the desires and convenience of transnational corporations.

They also should be debated in an open and above board fashion. Not negotiated in secret and then rammed down our throats through "fast track."

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #20)

Thu Jun 2, 2016, 12:37 AM

29. Sanders is proposing something different than Smoot Hawley.

Sanders is a proponent of returning to the GATT-like solutions that existed prior to the WTO and Free Trade Agreements that turned loose the trans-nationals.

Smoot Hawley when enacted gave a limited boost then added to the Depression by reducing trade. Gains were made in bits by weakening Smoot Hawley but there was a Depression and then WWII to occupy folks. After WWII there was Bretton Woods and GATT to organize monetary, financial, and trade relations. The system worked well for 50 years. The neo-liberals and globalists looked for ways to weaken the system to their advantage through the politics and succeeded. The free trade deals as others noted contain far more than actual trade; in this thread I tried to focus on the trade itself. Free trade is sort of a will-o'-the-wisp in that it really never exists as the free market assumptions are never met.

The USA has developed a huge trade deficit with China. What is required is to go through trade relations line item by line item; of course, China will not like something that impacts their perceived interests.

No link. I make up what I write in sort of an informed way unless linked to something.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #29)

Thu Jun 2, 2016, 08:34 PM

30. Personally, I Gravitate Toward Robert Reich's Views On Trade

Many Progressive Often Cite Robert Reich who has been very supportive of Bernie Sanders. Now, if you agree with his views, then we are in agreement.


Q: When you were the labor secretary to the first term of the Clinton administration, they pushed through the North American Free Trade Agreement. You were part of that administration. Was that a mistake?

A: I don’t think it was a mistake, but it wasn’t really a tremendous help. If you put labor and environmental standards into our trade agreements, it’s not a race to the bottom. If you have an environmental standard and a labor standard that, for example, bars all slave labor, guarantees the right to organize, maintains kind of minimum labor standards throughout the world, you are setting a floor for all nations. It’s not protectionism. This is a way of actually getting everybody up rather than having the bar continue to trend downward. We tried to do this in NAFTA, and, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the Mexican government support. We tried to have a labor and environmental side agreement. I think it would have been a much better agreement had we had that.

* * *

There is, undeniably, much to celebrate about the new economy. American capitalism is triumphant all over the world, and with good reason. Neo-Luddites who claim that advancing technologies will eliminate jobs & relegate most of us to poverty are wrong, even silly. Isolationists and xenophobes who want to put up the gates and reduce trade & immigration are misguided, often dangerously so. Paranoid populists who say global corporations and international capitalists are conspiring against us are deluded, possibly hallucinating. We--you and I and most Americans--are benefitting mightily from the new economy. We are reaping the gains of its new inventions, its lower prices, its fierce competition. We are profiting from the terrific deals its offering us as consumers, and to a large and growing proportion of us an investors.

And yet... As wondrous as the new economy is, we are also losing parts of our lives to it--aspects of our family lives, our friendships, our communities, ourselves.

* * *

Instead of being opposed to globalization, progressives should pressure the world’s wealthiest nations into sharing the benefits. While the global economy has grown at an average rate of 2.3 percent a year during the past three decades, the gap between the best-off and worst-off countries (as measured in per capita gross national product) is 10 times wider now than it was 30 years ago. And with poverty comes disease--AIDS already has claimed the lives of 10 million Africans and is projected to kill 25 million more over the next decade--as well as the continued destruction of the global environment.

Rather than advocate for less trade, progressives should seek to remove barriers that make it difficult for poorer countries to export to richer ones. That means fewer subsidies to farmers in advanced nations, combined with lower tariffs on farm products from the third world and fewer barriers (including “voluntary restraint agreements”) to textile and steel imports from poor nations.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #30)

Thu Jun 2, 2016, 10:19 PM

31. I am in general agreement with Robert Reich. He is a very smart man.

I am for trade, trade is very good.

A global economy is very good also if fair.

Smoot Hawley not very good and was enacted after the market crash of 1929 and beginning of the Depression.

Smoot Hawley ("protectionism" restrained trade so there was a short turn positive blip and then things got worse.

As FDR rebuilt the economy, the trade restrictions of Smoot Hawley were reduced piece meal.

There was WWII and embargos and the world was pretty messed up.

After WWII, there was Bretton Woods and GATT to organize monetary, financial, and trading policy for the western industrial nations and their minions in the developing and third world.

Learn about GATT that was structure between 1947 and the WTO in 1995.

The problemwith NAFTA and all the free trade agreements is that the social, labor, and environmental benefits are not being achieved.

Trade is increased and profits and utility is increased but not well distributed because of the parties that game the system.

GATT was dynamic (most everything is dynamic) and worked well (and was gradually improved) between 1947 and 1995. There was no good reason not to build upon GATT but political and those that saw an opportunity to shift income and wealth to their accounts.

GATT is Keynesian economics and the free trade agreements neo-liberal.

If the free trade agreements were actually working as theorized and advertised, the deficit and surplus accounts would clear; employeement would change not go away; everyone would benefit, and the system would be good for the environment rather than create natural resource booms and busts.

Parties need to operate in good faith and long time horizons but don't. Some folks get very wealthy and most others lose.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:03 AM

15. Tariffs are not the problem. It's all the other provisions hidden in these trade agreements

that conflict with our Constitution and will impose corporate rule on us.

There is nothing "free" about free trade for working people. The "free" is only for the capital, not for the working people.

These trade agreements are an abomination.

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Response to TomCADem (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 12:33 PM

28. Where did you get that information? Trump is proposing such tariffs, not Bernie who has proposed to

'renegotiate' the terms of existing trade agreements. That 'renegotiation' may involve tariffs or may deal more with the terms of trade like labor and environmental standards. Trump who cares little for international law has said he will 'rip them up' and impose unilateral tariffs on developing countries like Mexico.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #5)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:13 PM

9. Note that Plan Colombia - part of neo-con plan for global dominance

was put into place under Bill Clinton.

Prior to GWB, military base contracts were obtained for Soto Cano airbase in Honduras, Manta Airbase in Ecuador, and FOLs on Curacao and Aruba in the Dutch Antilles directly off the coast of Venezuela. The Manta base has been closed because an American contractor bomber FARC hostage negotiators from France and Venezuela within Ecuador. The Aruba FOL is inactive but improvements but facilities build and improvements made (air strip lengthened for fighters and bombers) and the contract with the Dutch is still in place. The Arubans did not like the FOL as early on rather than DEA and customs, US contractors sent F-15s to bomb FARC-led resistance to the Drummond railroad. Aruba operations were shifted to Curacao which was expanded.

Under POTUS Obama the USA entered contract relations for seven military bases within Colombia in support of Plan Colombia and the free trade agreement.

More about Soto Cano.



Soto Cano Air Base (commonly known as Palmerola Air Base) is a Honduran military base 5 mi (8.0 km) to the south of Comayagua in Honduras. It houses between 500-600 US troops and is also used by the Honduran Air Force academy. The airbase became operational in 1981, changing the old location of the Honduras Air Force Academy in Toncontin, Tegucigalpa to Palmerola.

The US government once used Palmerola as a base of operations to support its foreign policy objectives in the 1980s. Now the US military uses Soto Cano as a launching point for counter-narcotics missions in Central America as well as humanitarian aid missions throughout Honduras and Central America.

In 1990 Honduran President Rafael Leonardo Callejas decreed that commercial cargo flights were authorized to operate from Soto Cano. In 2008 President Manuel Zelaya announced that commercial flights would begin at Palmerola within a period of 60 days, after a crash at Toncontín International Airport which resulted in 5 deaths was blamed on the runway being too short at Toncontín. Following an investigation into the incident, Pilot error was found to be the main cause. The military was placed in charge of building a civilian air terminal with funding from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (enabled by emergency decrees). This however was cancelled after Zelaya was removed from office on June 28, 2009 in the 2009 Honduran coup d'état. The airport authority and the government of Honduras resumed airport relocation talks in April 2011 and announced that work on the new Palmerola airport would start by the fall of 2011 after years of efforts to replace Toncontín International with an airport at Palmerola in Comayagua where the Soto Cano Air Base is located. However, in a September 25, 2011 update, President Lobo stated officials were still "evaluating the pros and cons" of constructing the new airport. This comes three years after former President Manuel Zelaya had announced that all commercial flights would be transferred to Soto Cano Air Base; however, work on the new terminal at Soto Cano was then cancelled after Zelaya was removed from office on 28 June 2009 in the 2009 Honduran coup d'état.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2016, 10:08 PM

6. Bernie is for fair trade. As are most progressives. Eom

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Response to jillan (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 11:14 AM

26. What is 'fair'? Does that mean only trading with countries with wages as high as ours?


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Response to CrowCityDem (Reply #26)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 12:22 PM

27. Even that would be problematic. Our trade deficit per capita is higher with Germany than with China.

Of course German workers make more than American workers but our trade deficit is $913 per German. Chinese workers make much less than American workers but our trade deficit with China is equivalent to $265 per Chinese. Of course China's population is 15 times larger than Germany so their total numbers are much larger.

Vietnam is just a little bigger than Germany (91 million to 81 million) but their trade deficit with the US is much smaller - $31 billion in 2015 compared to Germany's $74 billion and per capita it is just $340 per Vietnamese.


And Germany has higher wages, stronger unions and tougher environmental laws than we have in the US, so 'fair trade' would have to account for that. I would define 'fair trade' as enforcing strong labor protections and effective environmental standards on countries with which we conclude trade negotiations.

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 12:59 AM

13. Trade is OK. But trade disputes should be settled in courts under national control

not the kangaroo courts set up by the trade agreements.

The trade agreements should be bilateral and not multilateral.

The trade agreements do not and cannot protect workers' rights, and therefore should be bilateral, not multilateral. We should retain the right to exit any trade agreement if the labor rights in a country with which we trade are weak or not respected.

There should be no agreements about privatizing sectors of the economy. It seems that the trade agreements now being negotiated concern requiring privatization rather than actually trade. I oppose them for that reason.

Real trade agreements could be good.

But the agreements we have now and that are under negotiation are not about trade. They are about circumventing our Constitution and establishing corporate rule. They are about empowering the oligarchy, not about empowering the citizens of nations.

That's why I oppose them.

The trade agreements beginning with the WTO and NAFTA through those now being signed and negotiated will harm our country and destroy our democracy.

It's not about trade. The rejection of these agreements is about the other agreements masquerading as trade hidden in these so-called trade agreements.

I haven't even scratched the surface of the objectionable provisions in the TPP, World Trade Agreement, NAFTA, etc.

These agreements are completely and utterly unacceptable.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 06:56 AM

19. FDR knew that, to be fair, trading rules had to be enforced neutrally or they would not work.

His ITO did just that.

If you allow each country to determine whether it is living up to the trading rules that it agreed to, the system falls apart. Each country will decide in most cases that it has done nothing wrong which and the agreement falls apart.

Neutral enforcement is necessary with all international agreements or their provisions are just pretty words on a piece of paper - whether the agreements deal with trade, climate change, nuclear control/disarmament, etc. If China (or the US) is allowed to decide whether it is violating a carbon emissions regulation, who thinks it will often find itself guilty and punish itself? If Iran (or the US) is allowed to decide whether it is violating the recent nuclear deal, how often will each find itself guilty and punish itself?

If Bernie is elected and renegotiates our trade agreements that is great. But if there is not neutral enforcement mechanism, why bother to renegotiate them?

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Response to TomCADem (Original post)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 11:05 AM

25. More right wing Hillspeak


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