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Trade News Archive: 20 May - 26 May
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The AmericanEconomicAlert.org News Article Rating System
As well as providing fresh news reports every day, AmericanEconomicAlert.org offers a uniques news rating system. Each news item below has been given a rating from 1 to 5 stars, depending on its importance and relevance to U.S. international economic and trade policy.
 

Monday, May 25, 2015
Another Decapitator-in-Chief Of America's Working Class
Zero Hedge

• Comment: "Other areas in Americans’ lives will also be affected or threatened, from food safety standards, to the environment, to increases in the already stratospheric cost of drugs, to the protection of rights and sovereignty that we’ve inherited from the sacrifice of past generations."

Sunday, May 24, 2015
'Fast track' trade fight moves to House
Politico

• Comment: "Fourteen Democrats joined with 48 Republicans to give Obama the authority. A strong push was needed to overcome efforts to delay the bill by opponents including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the Senate’s leading critic of trade agreements; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a favorite of the progressive wing of the Democratic party; and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent running for president."

Saturday, May 23, 2015
Unions plan nationwide trade protests
Politico

• Comment: “During this week’s recess, union members, small business owners, environmentalists, consumer advocates, and progressive allies across the country will continue to urge their representatives to stand with the working people of their districts and against a bill that would lead to undemocratic trade deals that lower wages and eliminate jobs,” said Geoff Wetrosky, AFL-CIO national campaign manager.'
Senate took key votes this weekend on trade and surveillance but not before forces aligned
Fox News

• Comment: 'Cantwell extracted a promise from McConnell: A June vote to re-up the Ex-Im Bank. And once the Kentucky Republican agreed, Cantwell and several other pro-trade senators voted yes. Those yeas swelled the vote total to 62 yeas, well-above the 60 vote crossbar.'

Friday, May 22, 2015
Has trade battle helped Liz Warren don the mantle of Ted Kennedy? (+video)
Christian Science Monitor

• Comment: "Senator Warren’s roar has echoed across the nation in recent weeks, as she rebutted President Obama’s comment on April 20 that she was “wrong” on trade. On Monday, Warren released a report documenting decades of failure to enforce labor standards in “new-and-improved” free trade agreements. She did not spare Mr. Obama, who the next day disputed the criticism with his own statement on enforcement of free trade, which he says promotes economic growth and jobs."

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Mexico weighs U.S. meat product sanctions after WTO ruling
Reuters

• Comment: "We have our teams prepared and working, specialists in international law...in case the U.S. Congress doesn't comply," Enrique Martinez, Mexico's agriculture minister, said at a news conference."
How Senate broke logjam on 'fast track' trade bill (+video)
Christian Science Monitor

• Comment: "This is not the first time that the Senate has backed out of a dead end. Earlier bills, one to help victims of human trafficking, and another to grant congressional review of any Iran deal, came to a screeching halt, as senators looked for room to maneuver."
Fast-track votes will loom large in 2016 Senate races
The Hill

• Comment: "On Thursday, Portman submitted the final vote of the day in favor of moving forward.The Ohioan faces a difficult reelection bid in 2016. He’s likely to face the state’s former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the general election, and the Democrat has vowed to make trade an issue in the campaign.Other vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in swing states joined Portman in voting to move forward, including Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.), who many view as the two most vulnerable GOP senators heading into 2016. Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) also toed the party line."
Republicans keep Obama trade agenda alive
Politico

• Comment: "The 62-38 vote preserves the possibility that the Senate can finish the trade bill before the Memorial Day recess, which would be a major boon to Obama and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. It came after a round of horse-trading that assures the Export-Import Bank will receive a chance at a lifeline to live past June 30, when it is scheduled to expire."
Obama thanks Senate for advancing trade bill
The Hill

• Comment: "The White House has made an aggressive lobbying effort to convince Democrats in Congress to back his trade agenda. Many Democrats oppose fast-track authority; some say new trade deals would ship American jobs overseas."
How the Senate got 60 votes for Obama on fast-track
The Hill

• Comment: "McConnell then huddled in the well of the Senate floor with a group of pro-trade Democrats including Cantwell, Murray and Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.), Tom Carper (Del.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee.The breakthrough came when McConnell promised Cantwell that he would schedule a vote next month on an amendment authorizing the Export-Import Bank.As soon as he did, Cantwell wheeled around and voted “Aye,” followed in quick succession by Murray, Heitkamp and Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). McConnell’s proposal also pushed Graham, who was also in the huddle, to vote yes."
Senator’s Deal Helps Advance Trade Bill
New York Times

• Comment: "With Mr. McConnell short of the votes he needed to advance the trade measure, Ms. Cantwell used her leverage to broker an agreement for a vote next month on keeping alive the Export-Import Bank, which provides loans and subsidies to overseas purchasers of American goods. It has become a target of conservatives who see it as corporate welfare."
Which Patent Reform Bill Doesn’t Destroy the American Patent System?
Industry Week

• Comment: "Many consider the worst provision of both bills the "Loser-Pays with Joinder clause," which means that 1) a patent holder who tries to defend a patent and does not prevail is potentially liable for the infringer’s legal costs (easily $1,000,000 plus), and 2) interested parties are joined in the liability. This means that the inventor could be liable for millions of dollars if he is unsuccessful in defending his patent against infringement, and an investor could be personally liable as well. With the odds of losing so high, Loser-Pays makes it impossible for almost all inventors to enforce their patent rights against patent pirates or ever get outside investment."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Compromise floated on currency rules in U.S. Senate
Reuters

• Comment: "Hatch and Wyden said their approach would strengthen language already in the bill to pressure trading partners to avoid currency manipulation, but not go too far. "Our amendment, which would provide maximum flexibility, is a better alternative for addressing currency manipulation for a number of reasons," Hatch said."
Obama's other trade cover-up?
The Hill

• Comment: "Commerce understands that trade flows consist of imports as well as exports. Thus since 2010, the agency has been tracking both for every individual state, in addition to keeping economy-wide two-way trade data. Yet in stark contrast to the export information, the import data is buried deep inside the department's website. And the reason seems obvious: With the United States as a whole running massive trade deficits, most of the states have long imported more they export, too. In 2014, 37 states fell into this category. The U.S. Business and Industry Council has presented the results for the current economic recovery at this new website."
Obama vs. Warren over TPP: Once More, with Feeling
U.S. News and World Report

• Comment: "Warren's office released a report, "Broken Promises: Decades of Failure to Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements," which catalogues "two decades of failed [U.S.] enforcement" of labor and environmental standards in trade deals."
Obama faces high stakes on trade bill
The Hill

• Comment: "If Congress blocks Obama’s push, it will be a significant setback for the White House, which will raise questions about whether Obama is a lame duck with more than a year left in his presidency. But if he succeeds, he’ll be able to tout a bipartisan accomplishment that will add to his legacy.“The president has wanted this for years,” a White House official said. “The window is now upon us that we can get it done.”