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Trade News Archive: 21 April - 27 April
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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.
 

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Goodyear to Build $500 Million Tire Factory in Mexico
Industry Week

• Comment: "U.S. tire maker Goodyear will build a half-billion-dollar factory in central Mexico that will produce 6 million tires a year for customers across the Americas, the company said Friday. Goodyear is the third auto sector company to make a major announcement in Mexico since last week, following a $1 billion investment by Japanese giant Toyota and a $2.5 billion project by U.S. automaker Ford."
Sen. Warren calls on Obama to declassify trade deal details
Fox News

• Comment: “As a result of your administration’s decision, it is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement,” the letter says. Warren claims in the letter that corporate executives and lobbyists have had opportunities to not only read it, but to shape the terms, and calls for the American people to have the same ability."

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Obama Defends Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal
Industry Week

• Comment: "But memories of the decline of manufacturing and industrial jobs after the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994 have caused some unions to oppose the deal."
Last Call: In Battle Over Trade Deal, Obama Fires Back at Warren
U.S. News and World Report

• Comment: "The verbal sparring between President Barack Obama and liberal hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the Trans-Pacific Partnership just kicked up a notch, a preview of the Democrats’ upcoming civil war on trade."

Friday, April 24, 2015
GOP confident on fast-track votes
Politico

• Comment: “In fact, we do have the votes to pass the bill,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions told POLITICO this week. His remarks on Wednesday came before the Senate Finance Committee approved a trade promotion authority bill 20-6 with seven of 12 Democrats voting “yes,” meaning the Senate will have a filibuster-proof majority in favor of the bill, barring any Republican defections."
Senators: China Could Join Trade Deal Designed to Counter Its Influence in Asia Pacific
Washington Free Beacon

• Comment: "Sens. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) and Gary Peters (D., Mich.) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Wednesday raising concerns about China’s potential inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). China has so far been excluded from the negotiations between the United States and 11 other countries on the TPP, which is widely viewed as an attempt to counter Beijing’s rising influence in the region."

Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Won't Help U.S. Manufacturers
Industry Week

• Comment: "The TPP is emphatically not the answer. Instead, it’s simply the latest in a long line of trade deals (like NAFTA, China, CAFTA, South Korea, etc.) that have opened the door to predatory trade with countries that have only their own interests at heart.For example, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and China continually engage in currency manipulation in order to gain an advantage for their exports. In fact, Beijing has used an undervalued Yuan to boost its trade surplus with the U.S from $83 billion in 2001 to $342 billion in 2014, costing the U.S. more than 3 million jobs.Similarly, Japan has intervened in currency markets 376 times since 1991 to increase exports."
China's shadow looms over Senate trade debate
Politico

• Comment: “When giant corporations get to see the details [of trade deals] and the American people don’t, we all lose,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a blog post, referring to a set of congressionally mandated trade advisory committees that allow selected business, agriculture, labor and other interest groups to weigh in on deals as they are negotiated. “Let’s level the playing field: no vote on fast-tracking trade until the public can read the TPP deal.”
Obama defends free trade push to supporters: This isn’t NAFTA
Washington Post

• Comment: "Trade’s always been tough; it's always been tough for the Democratic Party. A lot of people are skeptical of trade deals," Obama said"
Senate committee backs extension of aid for trade-displaced workers
Reuters

• Comment: "The Senate Finance Committee voted 17 to 9 for an extension of trade adjustment assistance, which Democrats had demanded to accompany a bill to fast track trade deals through Congress."
Obama to Democratic trade critics: 'I take that personally'
Reuters

• Comment: "The Senate could vote on the fast-track legislation next week, but it may face a tough ride in the House of Representatives, where many Democrats oppose it."
Obama: Liberal trade critics ‘don't know what they're talking about’
The Hill

• Comment: "Obama delivered a fiery speech at the Organizing for Action summit in Washington, designed to enlist his base to support the fast-track trade bill his administration says is crucial to finalizing a pair of international agreements at the top of his agenda."
US Senate Panel Approves Trans-Pacific Partnership, Could Weaken Manufacturing Sector
Industry Week

• Comment: "Critics argue that the TPP maximizes corporate profits, while killing American jobs and dismantling labor, environmental and safety standards.Lawmakers inserted nearly 150 negotiating demands on the administration in their bill, mainly in intellectual property, labor law and the environment."
Senate committee passes fast track trade bill, but major challenges ahead
Christian Science Monitor

• Comment: "Despite relatively strong support for the bill in the Senate Finance Committee – it passed 20 to 6 and now heads to the Senate floor – it faces fierce opposition from many Democrats in both chambers. In the House, a significant number of Republicans also oppose the bill, making that an even harder sell for the president."
U.S. House panel passes fast track trade bill
Reuters

• Comment: "The House committee's 25 to 13 vote in favor of the bill provided an exhibit of this unusual alliance, with only two of the panel's 15 Democrats voting for the legislation - much less support than it received in the Senate panel."
Congressional Panels Approve Fast Track for Trade Deal, With Conditions
New York Times

• Comment: "House and Senate committees this week easily agreed to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a sweeping trade accord with Pacific nations, but the package of bills intended to speed completion of the deal also imposes difficult burdens on its negotiators."
Senate panel rejects tough currency rules for fast track
Reuters

• Comment: "The Senate Finance Committee voted 15 to 11 against an amendment that would have allowed sanctions against countries that deliberately weaken their currencies to make their exports cheaper as part of a fast-track bill."
Obama: Democrats should back free-trade deals
USA Today

• Comment: "When it comes to free trade, many Obama supporters agree with the criticisms of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. She noted that, at this point, Americans are not allowed to look at the details of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia."
U.S. lawmakers to again push currency rules for trade deals
Reuters

• Comment: "A list of Democratic amendments to be offered during Thursday's committee debate includes two requiring stronger currency manipulation measures in the bill, which sets a goal of directing trading partners to avoid manipulating currencies but leaves the Obama administration discretion on how to achieve that goal. Critics say that is not strong enough."
Merkley takes lead on 'made in U.S.' construction bill
Portland Business Journal

• Comment: "Merkley joined follow Democrat Tammy Baldwin Wednesday in introducing the Invest in American Jobs Act. The bill would require those working on federally funded transportation projects to use American steel, iron and manufactured products when possible."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
U.S. Senate panel approves tougher rules against currency cheating
Reuters

• Comment: "U.S. senators on Wednesday backed tough rules against currency manipulation by trading partners as part of a package of trade bills key to sealing a Pacific trade pact.The rules backed would punish currency cheating with import duties, despite warnings from the U.S. Treasury that such a move could open the door to retaliation against the United States. A separate provision, approved unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee, opens the door to restricting government purchases from nations deemed to be manipulating their currencies or even blocking them from future trade deals."
Top House Democrat backs plan on currency sanctions in trade bill
Reuters

• Comment: "The statement followed Democratic Representative Sander Levin's announcement that he would offer an alternative to a trade promotion authority bill under consideration that does not require sanctions for currency manipulators. "I support the Levin substitute," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement."
Hill Dems to Hillary Clinton: Get off the fence on trade
Politico

• Comment: "A number of Democrats say their party’s front-runner should lay out her views and concerns with the so-called trade promotion authority bill that’s now dividing their party. The bill would give Obama the ability to finalize trade deals and Congress an up-or-down vote, essentially preventing lawmakers from making any changes."
Hillary Clinton praises President Obama, but not on trade
Politico

• Comment: "A Clinton spokesman on Friday said the deal must protect American workers and strengthen national security, but Republicans have been quick to say this amounts to a flip-flop from her support during her time in Foggy Bottom. In a 2012 speech in Australia, Clinton referred to TPP as “the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”
The trade deal, explained for people who fall asleep hearing about trade deals
Washington Post

• Comment: "But the business community -- and therefore most Republicans and pro-business Democrats -- loves these deals, because they open up new markets. (And, in the past, because companies have been able to cut costs by moving jobs to, say, Mexico.) This led to the unusual spectacle this week of the Chamber of Commerce, which opposed Obama's reelection, arguing in favor of giving Obama fast track and the AFL-CIO, which backed his reelection, arguing against it."
Progressives ready big ad buy targeting trade deal
Politico

• Comment: "The so-called Coalition to Stop Fast Track, which includes the AFL-CIO, declined to disclose its targets, but a coalition spokesman said the ad would be aimed primarily at members who had yet to take a public position on the proposal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership fast-track bill. It’s also set to run in Washington."
Dick Morris: TPP = Mass immigration
The Hill

• Comment: "The draft treaty, now under discussion among 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Vietnam and Japan, makes provision for needed labor to move across national boundaries without restraint. While much of the commentary on the deal has been focused on high-skill, white-collar migration, it could easily be interpreted as allowing farm workers and others to flow back and forth without legal regulation."
Jeb Bush knocks Hillary Clinton over Asia trade talks stance
Reuters

• Comment: "On Tuesday, Clinton said any trade deal "has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security." Bush called those tests "poison pills" that amount to a change of position. "I haven't changed in my view even though Hillary Clinton has," Bush wrote in a post on the blog publishing site Medium. "It is time to move forward as even recent Democratic presidents have recognized  - and Sec. Clinton shouldn't stand in the way for political gain."
Trade bill key to Pacific pact clears Senate panel
Reuters

• Comment: "Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week, just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due in Washington to address lawmakers at a joint meeting of Congress, but it needs to be approved by the House of Representatives as well."
Democrats' trade spat becomes a full-on brawl
Politico

• Comment: "O’Malley also took to Twitter. Shortly after Clinton spoke in Concord, N.H., on Tuesday, he tweeted a short video titled “Bad Trade Deals” and wrote, “When US jobs are on the line, it’s not a hard choice – it’s common sense.”
O’Malley knocks Clinton again on trade, saying workers deserve more than ‘lip service’
Washington Post

• Comment: “To me, opposing bad trade deals like TPP is just common sense,” O’Malley says in an e-mail to his supporters, which included an embedded video about his opposition to the deal and a link to a petition drive he is leading on the issue, which is being considered by Congress."
Trade is becoming wedge issue in Md.
The Hill

• Comment: "The liberal Democrat argued Van Hollen’s opposition to fast-track authority is a reversal meant to win over working-class voters, and that her record on the issue has been more consistent. “Well, you know that you can’t just run for the United States Senate and then try to get right with the American worker,” Edwards told The Hill after speaking at an anti-fast-track rally on Capitol Hill."
Elizabeth Warren: Obama is the one who is wrong on trade
Politico

• Comment: "Warren’s missive is the latest blow in an escalating fight between Obama and his fellow Democrats over what is expected to be the largest trade deal in history, covering more than 40 percent of global GDP. A number of progressive Democrats fear the deal could undercut U.S. wages and ship jobs overseas."
Trading blows: Hillary tries to sit out Dem civil war
Fox News

• Comment: "Obama, who pummeled Clinton for her past support of a North American trade pact detested by liberals, is now in need of her support to avoid an embarrassing lame duck episode. "
Obama’s fight for trade powers faces altered political landscape
Washington Post

• Comment: “There’s a trust issue with the executive,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who circulated a letter among House Republican freshmen in support of the trade deal. “The response that I would generally hear [among Republicans] was, ‘Hey, I don’t want to give this president, this administration, any more authority.’ ”
As Congress moves on trade bill, blowback shows the challenges ahead
Christian Science Monitor

• Comment: “Let's send a loud message to our trade officials: No vote on a fast-track for trade agreements until the American people can see what’s in this TPP deal,” she wrote, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal being negotiated by the administration."
Obama's Republican Collaborators
Unz Report

• Comment: "Why the capitulation? Why would Republicans line up to kiss the royal ring? Is Middle America clamoring for “fast track”? Are blue-collar workers marching in the streets to have Congress grant “Trade Promotion Authority Now!” to Barack Obama?No. Pressure for fast track is coming from two sources.First, the editorial pages of papers like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post that truckle to the transnational corporations that provide the advertising revenue stream keeping them alive.Second, Obama is relying on Congressional Republicans who, for all their bravado about defying his usurpations, know on which side their bread is buttered. It’s the Wall Street-K Street side.Fast track is the GOP payoff to its bundlers and big donors."
Strong bipartisan backing for U.S. trade authority bill in panel: Hatch
Reuters

• Comment: "But Hatch warned that inserting stronger currency manipulation requirements, beyond those already in the measure, into the bill could hurt chances for finishing a free-trade deal with Pacific Rim countries."
Obama facing Dem revolt on trade push, Reid says ‘hell no’
Fox News

• Comment: "Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a fierce opponent of the trade push, invoked a Senate scheduling rule to sideline the committee's actions for hours. "This job-killing trade deal has been negotiated in secret," said Sanders, who made a lengthy Senate speech denouncing the legislation."
Trade Wars: Obama vs Warren … vs Hillary?
Hot Air

• Comment: "The Administration says I’m wrong – that there’s nothing to worry about. They say the deal is nearly done, and they are making a lot of promises about how the deal will affect workers, the environment, and human rights. Promises – but people like you can’t see the actual deal."
U.S. House Democrat proposes alternative to fast track trade bill
Reuters

• Comment: "The proposal would make sure that the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership included strong and enforceable currency provisions and new standards on labor, the environment and investor-state disputes, according to a summary."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Top US Labor Group Raps Fast-Track Trade Authority
Industry Week

• Comment: "If we eliminate currency manipulation, we have the chance to gain almost six million jobs," Trumka told the Senate Finance Committee, which is scheduled to hold a vote on the TPA bill on Wednesday."
Deal on Trade Pact Gives Obama Authority but Builds In a Delay
New York Times

• Comment: "Republican lawmakers and the White House have agreed to subject any trade deal negotiated by President Obama to a monthslong review by Congress and the public, a concession aimed at winning the support of Democrats who view trade agreements as a threat to American workers."
U.S. Senator Reid warns against moving too fast on trade bill
Reuters

• Comment: "Another top Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, said there was strong bipartisan support for a measure to discourage China from currency manipulation that could be part of the "trade promotion authority" legislation that is being considered by the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday."
Clinton hedges on hot-button trade deal, amid pressure from left
Fox News

• Comment: "But Clinton’s fuzzy position on the new legislation has resulted in an array of critics -- from conservative PACs to potential primary challenger former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley -- suggesting she’s staying mum to gauge the political winds.They argue Clinton has already changed her positions on gay marriage and immigration reform, and coming out against the trade deal would be a clear reversal just days into her fledgling White House campaign."
U.S. Chamber, AFL-CIO clash at Senate hearing over Obama’s free trade push
Washington Post

• Comment: "The livelihoods of workers are at stake here," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who opposes the legislation, said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. "It’s important that we get it right... We need a different deal."
U.S. Treasury warns Congress currency push could derail Pacific pact
Reuters

• Comment: "U.S. lawmakers' proposals to sanction countries that deliberately weaken their currencies could derail a Pacific trade pact that is a key part of the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, the Treasury warned on Tuesday."
Obama administration warns currency provisions could sink trade talks
Reuters

• Comment: "Our partners fear that a trade agreement with an enforceable currency discipline could constrain the ability of their monetary authorities to conduct appropriate macroeconomic policies, and that is a risk they are unwilling to take," Lew said in the letter made public by the Treasury."
Hillary Clinton hedges on trade deal opposed by liberals
Washington Post

• Comment: "That fell short of an endorsement of the Trade Promotion Authority bill, which would give President Obama and Congress renewed authority to “fast track” approval of trade deals. That authority, which lapsed in 2007, would speed up two pending trade deals with Asia and Europe."
Trade war heating up among Democrats
Washington Post

• Comment: "On the Republican side, most of the declared and prospective candidates hew to GOP orthodoxy in favor of free-trade deals. But the fissures also are widening on that side of the aisle as the fight for the Republican nomination gets underway and candidates give voice to grass-roots conservatives’ frustrations about the economy."
Obama: Warren 'wrong' on trade deal
The Hill

• Comment: "This is the most progressive framework for trade we have ever had," Obama said, saying the trade promotion bill contains strict labor and environmental protections."
Obama turns up the heat on trade
The Hill

• Comment: "A House aide said that, after seeing the White House whip dozens of Democrats to vote for the so-called “cromnibus” last year, there is an expectation that 30 Democrats could support fast-track or trade promotion authority (TPA), which would limit Congress to an up-or-down vote on trade agreements.Other trade experts peg the number closer to 20. Eleven members of the centrist New Democrat coalition have already issued a statement suggesting they’ll back the legislation."
Why the Pittsburgh City Council may speak out against a Trans-Pacific trade deal
Pittsburgh Business Times

• Comment: "Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. "For example, they would override ‘buy local’ and ‘sweatshop-free’ ordinances like those passed by our democratically-elected City Council, they would give multinational corporations sweeping new powers to offshore jobs and profits, and they would limit the ability of sovereign governments to regulate environmental quality, land use, food safety, and telecommunications."