12:34 PM, May 6, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican, has written a letter to President Barack Obama regarding the request that Congress "fast-track" legislation on Trade Promotion Authority. Sessions says he has a number of questions Congress should expect answers to before the body agrees to "yield its institutional powers." Read the full letter below:
Dear Mr. President:
You have asked Congress to approve fast-track legislation (Trade Promotion Authority) that would allow international trade and regulatory agreements to be expedited through Congress for the next six years without amendment. Fast-track, which proponents hope to adopt within days, would also ensure that these agreements—none of which have yet been made public—could pass with a simple majority vote, rather than the 67 votes applied to treaties or the 60 votes applied to important legislative matters.
The first international trade and regulatory agreement that would be expedited under “fast-track” is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. This is one of the largest international compacts in the history of the United States. Yet, this agreement will be kept a closely-guarded secret until after Congress agrees to yield its institutional powers and provide the Administration with a guaranteed “fast-track” to adoption.
The U.S. ran a record $51.4 billion trade deficit in March, the highest-level recorded in six years. This is especially concerning since assurances were made from the Administration that the recent South Korea free trade deal would “increase exports of American goods by $10 billion to $11 billion.” But, in fact, American domestic exports to Korea increased by only $0.8 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent, while imports from Korea increased $12.6 billion, an increase of 22.5 percent. Our trade deficit with Korea increased $11.8 billion between 2011 and 2014, an increase of 80.4 percent, nearly doubling in the three years since the deal was ratified.
Overall, we have already lost more than 2.1 million manufacturing jobs to the Asian Pacific region since 2001.
Former Nucor Steel Chairman Daniel DiMicco argues that we have not been engaged in free trade but in “unilateral trade disarmament and enablement of foreign mercantilism.”
Due to the enormity of what is at stake, I believe it is essential Congress have answers to the following questions before any vote is scheduled on “fast-track” authority.
1. Regarding the “Living Agreement”: There is a “living agreement” provision in TPP that allows the agreement to be changed after adoption—in effect, vesting TPP countries with a sweeping new form of global governance authority. TPP calls this new global authority the “Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission.” These measures are unprecedented. While I and other lawmakers have been able to view this provision in secret, I believe it must be made public before any vote is scheduled on TPA, due to the extraordinary implications. I call on you today to make that section of TPP public for the American people to see and review.
2. Regarding trade deficits: Will TPP increase or reduce our cumulative trade deficit with TPP countries overall, and with Japan and Vietnam specifically?
3. Regarding jobs and wages: Will TPP increase or reduce the total number of manufacturing jobs in the United States generally, and American auto-manufacturing jobs specifically, accounting for jobs lost to increased imports? Will average hourly wages for U.S. workers, including in the automobile industry, go up or down and by how much?
4. Regarding China: Can TPP member countries add new countries, including China, to the agreement without future Congressional approval?
5. Regarding foreign workers: TPA is a six-year authority. Can you state unconditionally that no agreement or executive action throughout the lifetime of TPA will alter the number, duration, availability, expiration enforcement, rules, or processing time of guest worker, business, visitor, nonimmigrant, or immigrant visas to the United States?
Thank you for your responses to these questions. Congress has an obligation to defend the legitimate interests of U.S. workers, and the rights of all Americans as citizens of a sovereign Republic.
Very truly yours,
The country, and the world, would benefit.4:07 PM, May 4, 2015 • By IKE BRANNON
Most of the time the International Trade Commission makes the news -- in these pages, at least -- it’s because of its enforcement of anti-dumping rules that do little but boost the price of items such as steel and sugar for U.S. consumers.
11:41 AM, Apr 22, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Elizabeth Warren ripped the Obama administration for disagreeing with her on trade. Warren made the comments on Twitter.
"The Obama Admin says I'm wrong - we shouldn't worry about TPP. So why can’t the American people read the deal?" Warren's tweet reads.
It probably won’t happen in our lifetimes.Mar 30, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 28 • By CHARLES WOLF JR.
After China supplanted Japan in 2011 as the world’s second-largest economy, some China scholars, as well as pundits and economists, began forecasting when it would supplant the United States as the largest. Extrapolating China’s remarkable 9-10 percent average annual growth in the prior three decades, these forecasters placed the GDP crossover in 2020. When China experienced a slowdown to 7-8 percent growth in 2012-2014, the crossover was deferred to 2024-2025.
12:01 AM, Feb 14, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The right and left are moving towards each other, in a sort of pincers movement designed to destroy the army of free traders pressing Congress to give President Obama what is known as fast-track authority. That would permit him to put any trade deals he negotiates with eleven Pacific Rim countries (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP) and the EU (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) to Congress on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
9:00 AM, Jan 3, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Had enough good economic news to see you through the holidays? Good. But if you plan to ask, “Please, sir, I want some more” you might be in store for your own Oliver Twist moment. Here’s why:
In a recent op-ed, Rand Paul argues for President Obama's foreign policy.12:50 PM, Dec 20, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Senator Rand Paul has an op-ed in Time magazine making the case for normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba as Barack Obama has proposed. It’s a reasonable objective for U.S.
12:00 AM, Jun 7, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
It is mandatory for economists to point out that one data point does not make a trend. We then all-too-often fill space with, er, a discussion of one data point, most usually the monthly report on job creation. Not being one to defy convention, I will report that Friday’s jobs report was a yawner. The 217,000 new jobs created in May finally pushed total jobs above pre-recession levels, but the unemployment and labor force participation rates remained unchanged at 6.3 percent and 62.8 percent, respectively. No post-winter jobs growth spurt, at least not yet, but no reversal of recent growth either.
12:00 AM, Dec 14, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Free traders are ecstatic. Negotiators at the 9th World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Bali cheered, hugged, and wept at what they see as the successful culmination of their recent round of talks. “A giant step for businesses large and small,” enthused the CEO of UPS.
5:23 PM, Nov 20, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
As Congress moves ahead with the farm bill -- legislation that has historically been full of (figurative) pork -- there's one really obvious measure that needs to be eliminated. A new program that will require that catfish be monitored by the Department of Agriculture. Catfish, like all fish consumed by Americans, is already monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. Supposedly, this extra layer of regulation is a matter of food safety.
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:40 PM, Nov 8, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on President Obama's puzzling new Iran strategy.
12:00 AM, Jul 13, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Here’s a TTIP for you. No, that’s not a typo missed by our ever-vigilant editors. It stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, what British prime minister David Cameron calls a “once-in-a-generation prize” that can create two million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and Sir Peter Westmacott, Britain’s ambassador here in Washington, reportedly describes as the “Holy Grail” for resuscitating transatlantic economies.