Confessions of a Trade Negotiator's Mind

Robert Cassidy is a former Clinton administration assistant trade representative responsible for the entry of China into the WTO and the China PNTR trade agreement.

Today he Confessed.

As the principal negotiator for the landmark market access agreement that led to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), I have reflected on whether the agreements we negotiated really lived up to our expectations. A sober reflection has led me to conclude that those trade agreements did not

And of a Dangerous Mind?

New Trade Bill Introduced in the Senate

A new trade bill has been introduced in the Senate. Hopefully this will not be yet another good piece of legislation that goes to committee to die.

According to Senator Sherrod Brown's Press Release:
The TRADE ACT would:

  • Require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements with an emphasis on economic results, enforcement and compliance, and an analysis of non-tariff provisions in trade agreements
  • Spell out standards for labor and environmental protections, food and product safety, national security exceptions, and remedies that must be included in new trade pacts
  • Set requirements with respect to public services, farm policy, investment, government procurement, and affordable medicines that have been incorporated in trade agreements

Hillary and Obama on Trade

Originally posted on the blog. Today is the Pennsylvania Primary, so reviewing actual positions is relevant

While the choices for President slim down to next to none, one might evaluate positions instead of joining the various cheer leading camps. Who, overall has the best trade, economic positions to stop this global train wreck?

Firstly any group name calling someone protectionist because they acknowledge the obviously massive ~5.6% GDP trade deficit, is obviously not basing their economics on anything remotely resembling reality. The reason I link to this Pro Obama group is because they want more bad trade agreements. They assessed Obama as more of a corporate free trader than Hillary. Below are some statements from the two for easy comparison contrast.

"Jobs for Us, Jobs for Our Kids" - a Close Encounter of the Senator Cantwell Kind

You may wonder why congressmen and senators seem to be so out of touch with the reality that middle and lower class Citizens face each and every day. In fact, you may wonder why they seem to completely ignore any message you try to get to them via email, phone calls, or even smoke signals. Nothing seems to work.

From what I observe of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), she is a recluse to the middle and lower classes. I have never seen her do a "town hall meeting" like Congressman Jay Inslee frequently does. I also find that when she visits a city within Washington State, she is more likely to be visiting with the Chamber of Commerce than a local labor council.

Industrial Production Plunged

Industrial production plunged in February as net imports continue to hammer US production

Two economic reports today give further evidence the economy is in a recession with precarious and dangerous conditions unlike any past experience. The Federal Reserve reported today that Industrial production plunged by -0.54% in February. This sharp decline comes after an even worse decline (-0.58%) in October left a quarterly decline from Q3 to Q4 of 2007. That is, overall Industry output in February is below levels reached last July. It is worse for the Manufacturing sector with an output decline in Q4 and a -0.24% decline in February, plunging production now back to levels lower than last June.


Manufacturing Trade Before & After NAFTA

Here is a new industry-by-industry analysis of US/Mexico Manufacturing trade before and after NAFTA.

With the Manufacturing sector in crisis as the US enters a new recession, you may find of interest my attached analysis of US/Mexico Manufacturing and other goods trade for the three years before Nafta compared with the most recent three years.

In the three years prior to Nafta, 1991-1993, the US Manufacturing sector enjoyed a combined surplus of $19.2 billion with Mexico. However, over the most recent three years, 2005-2007, US Manufacturing continued to suffer successive record deficits totaling -$188.3 billion for the three years. Note that the US Manufacturing deficit with Mexico now far exceeds even the US deficit with Mexico for Mineral Fuels. Indeed, in 2007 the US deficit with Mexico in Electrical Machinery alone was larger than the US deficit with Mexico in Mineral Fuels.

Taking on some Redstate BS

Over at Redstate a econ-wingnut named Pejman Yousefzadeh claims he is schooling David Leonhardt, a NY Times reporter who discussed economic conditions in Ohio, including the fact that:

Back in 2000, the typical Ohio family was still making more money than the typical American family, according to Moody’s But over the last eight years, real median income in Ohio has dropped almost 10 percent, to about $47,000, leaving it $2,300 below the national median.

Our Redstate blogger says Leonhardt owes a retraction, relying on a 2007 Cato institute study that claims: [my response in brackets]

Contrary to public perceptions:
Trade has had no discernible, negative effect on the number of jobs in the U.S. economy. Our economy today is at full employment, with 16.5 million more people working than a decade ago.

The Horizon Project

You have probably never heard of the Horizon Project or even Ralph Gomory and William Baumol and their book on Trade and Conflicting Interests..

But, these policy proposals are unique, innovative and deserve strong consideration and discussion.

The Horizon Project's Agenda:

Project members believe we need to act now - on economic & trade policy issues, education, health care and public infrastructure investment - to stave off the rosion of our competitive advantages and the loss of the nation's middle class base