Obama Releasing Trade Policy - Push for Panama?

Supposedly today the USTR office of the Obama administration is releasing a new trade policy agenda. Bloomberg is reporting:

President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to approve a long-delayed free-trade agreement with Panama and establish “benchmarks” so that accords with South Korea and Colombia can be ratified in the future, a report said.

In its first annual report on trade policy, the Obama administration also said that it plans to ask Mexico and Canada to rework provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“If we work together, free and fair trade with a proper regard for social and environmental goals and appropriate political accountability will be a powerful contributor to the national and global well being,” said the report, which was released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

On NAFTA - I told ya so gives me no joy

Well today Obama went to Canada and of course said nothing about our massive trade deficits with Canada or Mexico, instead saying we don't want to be that canard protectionist word.


"Now is a time where we have to be very careful about any signals of protectionism," Obama told a joint news conference after several hours of talks with Harper on his one-day visit to Ottawa.

"And as obviously one of the largest economies in the world, it's important for us to make sure that we are showing leadership in the belief that trade ultimately is beneficial to all countries," he said.

He stressed the United States would meet its international trade obligations and told Harper he wanted to "grow trade not contract it."

Obama Chooses Free Traitor Ron Kirk For U.S. Trade Representative

Boy, I'm not impressed. Obama has chosen Ron Kirk as the U.S. trade representative.

As a past supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), Kirk will face close scrutiny as he assumes the responsibility for delivering on Obama’s pledges to fix existing trade agreements and create a new trade policy that benefits more people

So Much for Trade Reform From Obama, or Maybe Just Media Story Plants

We now see reports that any trade reforms around NAFTA will be delayed by an Obama administration, due to the Economy.

After he becomes president in January, Obama will order a study on the world's largest trade agreement, then seek longer- term negotiations with Mexico and Canada on how to change it, according to three advisers, who spoke on condition that they not be identified. The recession, the collapsing auto industry, a record trade deficit with China and other issues are pushing Nafta aside, analysts and industry representatives said.

Obama to pick neo-liberal Rahm Emmanuel for Chief of Staff?

Rumor is that Barack Obama has approached Illinois Congressman and DCCC chairman Rahm Emmanuel to be chief of staff in his administration.

Who's Rahm Emmanuel?

He's the guy that rammed NAFTA down Congressional Democrats throats in 1993.

He's the guy who has been organizing the opposition to economic populism within the party.

He's the Hamilton Project's guy.

New boss? Same as the old boss.

Mexican Auto Workers cut wages to "compete" with China

This is pretty astounding. Mexico's auto unions agree to cut wages:

Wage concessions were apparently key to persuading Ford Motor Co. to direct many of the 4,500 new jobs involved in building Fiestas to the Ford plant in Cuautitlan, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Union leaders at the plant told The Associated Press they had agreed to cut wages for new hires to about half of the current wage of $4.50 per hour.

"We agreed to it," said Ford union leader Juan Jose Sosa Arreola. "We need to be more competitive. That's the truth. That's a reality."