Trade Rhetoric Just That

Obama and hu jintaoIt must be an election year. The Obama administration has joined a WTO complaint against China for limiting rare earth minerals exports.

The U.S. will file a complaint at the World Trade Organization today over Chinese limits on exports of rare earths used in high-tech products, deepening a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

President Barack Obama will personally announce the action to join Japan and the European Union in requesting consultations with China at the Geneva-based trade arbiter over rare-earths shipments.

The one thing never mentioned by this administration is a currency manipulator bill which easily passed the Senate late last year. China's currency manipulation has caused not just a $300 billion trade deficit, it's also caused lost jobs and U.S. industries. China must notice America will do nothing about their currency manipulation for China just announced they will not let the Yuan rise further against the U.S. dollar.

Today the South Korean trade agreement goes into effect. While the press tout all sorts of positive claims this latest NAFTA style trade agreement will bring, the reality is much different. KORUS is projected to lose 159,000 U.S. jobs and flood the U.S. with Korean autos and parts. Public Citizen describes how the Obama administration is ramrodding the Korean trade deal signing before their parliamentary elections. So much for democracy or what the people want.

Tens of thousands of anti-FTA protestors are again in the streets of Korea, while Korean polling shows 70 percent opposition to the pact. The FTA is one of the defining issues of the Korean election. The ruling party reorganized under a new name after polling predicted defeat by the DUP, which has made opposition to the current FTA one of its marquee issues.

“Just how damaging this deal is to the 99 percent in both countries has been repeatedly revealed from this latest disgrace of trying to outrun the democratic accountability of Korea’s election to the White House, notably canceling a public bill-signing ceremony after the FTA was passed here,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “By rushing the implementation, the Obama administration is trying to cement in the extreme NAFTA-style corporate investor privileges that candidate Obama pledged would not be included in his trade agreements and that a large majority of Korea’s parliament also opposes.”

Koreans' outrage over this trade agreement is so strong, the opposition party has vowed to outright scrap it if elected.

Add to the wink, wink, nudge, nudge rhetoric versus law, Congress are also doing lobbyists' bidding under the guise of a jobs program:

There’s a good reason why, too. The U.S. government is attempting to rush a piece of “jobs” legislation into law that would weaken transparency of trading markets, roll back investor disclosure norms, and provide a convenient means for companies wanting to do an end-run around Sarbanes Oxley. “In the name of job creation they are reforming the entire IPO market,” Smith said.

The JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), which the House of Representatives approved on Thursday, won’t necessarily spur the IPO market with small company offerings or create nearly the number of jobs that its backers claim. The House patted itself on the back for showing its bipartisan drive to solve the unemployment problem and reduce regulatory burdens, but according to its critics, the government is doing the bidding of the venture capital and banking industries and masking it as a bipartisan job creation bill. The support for the legislation goes all the way to the top, with President Obama voicing support for a streamlining of the IPO market in his recent State of the Union address.

We've seen this many times before, legislation which actually does the opposite of it's title. If only Congress labeled their bills honestly, such as a Job Destruction Act or The G.E./Goldman Sachs Wish List Act, maybe America would have a fighting chance. Realty goes under the radar while the press report the Obama administration is getting tough on trade enforcement.

Obama introduced the rare earth minerals WTO complaint with much fanfare. Check out the below, can one see a stump speech in the making?

Since I took office, we’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration, and these actions are making a difference. For example, we halted an unfair surge in Chinese tires, which has helped put over 1,000 American workers back on the job. But we haven't stopped there.

Two weeks ago, I created a Trade Enforcement Unit to aggressively investigate any unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world. And as they ramp up their efforts, our competitors should be on notice: You will not get away with skirting the rules. When we can, we will rally support from our allies. And when it makes sense to act on our own, we will.

I just signed a bill to help American companies that are facing unfair foreign competition. These companies employ tens of thousands of Americans in nearly 40 states. Because of subsidies from foreign governments, some of their foreign competitors are selling products at an artificially low price. That needs to stop.

This morning, we’re taking an additional step forward. We’re bringing a new trade case against China -- and we’re being joined by Japan and some of our European allies. This case involves something called rare earth materials, which are used by American manufacturers to make high-tech products like advanced batteries that power everything from hybrid cars to cell phones.

These are astounding statements considering America has lost millions of jobs due to bad trade with China. Then again, since when do facts and even the ability to add matter when it comes to American politics?

Assuredly we have the WTO complaint based on focus groups, data mining and polling. In other words, the Obama administration is worried about the blue collar vote in those precious battleground states. Show me de money, odds are nothing will happen no matter who wins the Presidency or which party controls Congress. It sure hasn't for the last 40 years. Trade is just some political calvinball.

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Comments

Obama and KORUS

This love of KORUS will get him some PAC money. He can be swayed make no mistake. He is smart too and knows hes going to need a LOT of money in the fall. He is sacrificing potential jobs for auto company cash. Corporations always win even when you bail them out. They use your money to influence politicians to vote against the best interests of you the 99%. Real nice and Obama's the good guy.

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