“PROTECTIONISM BECOMES DESTRUCTIONISM; IT COSTS JOBS”
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, JUNE 28, 1986
US CHINA TRADE WAR NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 23, 2015
IMPORT ALLIANCE MEETINGS NOVEMBER 17th and 18th WASHINGTON DC
As indicated in more detail below, the Import Alliance will have meetings on November 17th and 18th in Washington DC. On the afternoon of November 17th, we will meet in our Washington DC office and then on November 18th meet with a Congressmen and Congressional Trade Staff to discuss the issues of retroactive liability of US importers in US antidumping and countervailing duty cases and market economy for China in December 2016 as provided in the US China WTO Agreement and the China WTO Agreement.
We welcome participation from US importers and US downstream customers. Please feel free to contact me or the Import Alliance directly. See the attached pamphlet for more information. FINAL IAFA_November2015_Flyer
US CHINA TRADE WAR NEWSLETTER UPDATE NOVEMBER 6, 2015
The USTR released the test of the Trans Pacific Agreement (“TPP”) yesterday. This has provoked another fire storm in Washington DC and we will be sending out another blog post detailing the reaction.
But now the clock starts ticking and the release of the text means that President Obama can sign the TPP on January 4th, 60 days after releasing the text of the Agreement. The Congress could theoretically pass the TPP on February 3, 2015, 30 days after President Obama signs it.
But in talking with a Congressional trade staffer on Capitol Hill yesterday, it does not appear to be moving that quickly, but on the other hand I suspect that Congress will not wait until the Lame Duck session either after the November Presidential election.
2016 will certainly be an interesting time in the Trade area.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
TPP TEXT RELEASED TODAY
Yesterday, November 5, 2015, the United States Trade Representative Office (“USTR”) released the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. This is an enormous trade agreement covering 12 countries, including the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, and covers 40% of the World’s economy. To read more about the TPP and the political negotiations behind the Agreement see blog post below and past blog posts on this site.
The text of the Agreement is well over 800 pages. We have downloaded the text of the various Chapters, which are listed below.
We have broken the Agreement down into three parts and have added consecutive page numbers to the Agreement in the right hand lower corner to make the Agreement easier to navigate.
For specific tariff changes on specific products, look at attached Chapter 2 National Treatment and Market Access for Goods, Chapters 1 – 2 – Bates 1 – 4115. This is the largest document because it includes all imported items by tariff number. But this is the section that will impact most companies.
The other parts of the text covering Chapters 3 to 30 is attached, Chapters 3 – 30 – Bates 4116 – 5135, along with the Appendices, Annex 1 – 4 – Bates A-1-1074.
We will also be preparing an analysis of each Chapter, which will release in a the near future through a blog post.
USTR LIST OF CHAPTERS AND OTHER PARTS OF TPP AGREEMENT
- Initial Provisions and General definitions (Chapter Summary)
- National Treatment and Market Access (Chapter Summary)
Annex 2-D: Tariff Commitments
Australia General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Australia Tariff Elimination Schedule
Brunei General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Brunei Tariff Elimination Schedule
Canada General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Canada Tariff Elimination Schedule
Canada Appendix A Tariff Rate Quotas
Canada Appendix B Japan Canada Motor Vehicle NTM
Chile General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Chile Tariff Elimination Schedule
Japan General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Japan Tariff Elimination Schedule
Japan Appendix A Tariff Rate Quotas
Japan Appendix B 1 Agricultural Safeguard Measures
Japan Appendix B 2 Forest Good Safeguard Measure
Japan Appendix C Tariff-Differentials
Japan Appendix D Appendix between Japan and the United States on Motor Vehicle Trade
Japan Appendix E Appendix between Japan and Canada on Motor Vehicle Trade
Malaysia General Notes to Tariff-Schedule
Malaysia Tariff Elimination-Schedule
Malaysia Appendix A Tariff Rate Quotas
Mexico General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Mexico Appendix A, B and C Tariff Rate Quotas and Tariff Differentials
Mexico Tariff Elimination Schedule
New Zealand General Notes to Tariff Schedule
New Zealand Tariff Elimination Schedule
Peru General Notes to Tariff-Schedule
Peru Tariff Elimination Schedule
Singapore General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Singapore Tariff Elimination Schedule
US General Notes to Tariff Schedule
US Tariff Elimination-Schedule
US Appendix A Tariff Rate Quotas
US Appendix B Agricultural Safeguard Measures
US Appendix C Tariff Differentials
US Appendix D Motor Vehicle Trade
US Appendix E Earned Import Allowance Program
Viet-Nam General Notes to Tariff Schedule
Viet-Nam Tariff Elimination Schedule
Viet-Nam Appendix A Tariff Rate Quotas
- Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures (Chapter Summary)
Annex 3-D: Product Specific Rules
Annex 3-D: Appendix 1—Automotive
- Textiles and Apparel (Chapter Summary)
Annex 4-A: Textiles Product Specific Rule
Annex 4-A Appendix: Short Supply List
- Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation (Chapter Summary)
- Trade Remedies (Chapter Summary)
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (Chapter Summary)
- Technical Barriers to Trade (Chapter Summary)
- Investment (Chapter Summary)
- Cross Border Trade in Services (Chapter Summary)
- Financial Services (Chapter Summary)
- Temporary Entry for Business Persons (Chapter Summary)
Annex 12-A: Temporary Entry for Business Persons
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Viet Nam
- Telecommunications (Chapter Summary)
- Electronic Commerce (Chapter Summary)
- Government Procurement (Chapter Summary)
Annex 15-A: Government Procurement
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Viet Nam
- Competition (Chapter Summary)
- State-Owned Enterprises (Chapter Summary)
- Intellectual Property (Chapter Summary)
- Labour (Chapter Summary)
US-BN Labor Consistency Plan
US- MY Labor Consistency Plan
US-VN Plan for Enhancement of Trade and Labor Relations
- Environment (Chapter Summary)
- Cooperation and Capacity Building (Chapter Summary)
- Competitiveness and Business Facilitation (Chapter Summary)
- Development (Chapter Summary)
- Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Chapter Summary)
- Regulatory Coherence (Chapter Summary)
- Transparency and Anti-corruption (Chapter Summary)
- Administration and Institutional Provisions (Chapter Summary)
- Dispute Settlement (Chapter Summary)
- Exceptions (Chapter Summary)
- Final Provisions (Chapter Summary)
Annex I: Non-Conforming Measures
Consolidated Formatting Note
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Viet Nam
Annex II: Non-Conforming Measures Consolidated Formatting Note
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Viet Nam
Annex III: Financial Services Consolidated Formatting Note
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, Viet Nam
Annex IV: State-Owned Enterprise
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States, Viet Nam
Market Access Related
US- AU Letter Exchange re Recognition of FTA TRQs in TPP
US-AU Letter Exchange on Sugar Review
US-CA Letter Exchange on Milk Equivalence
US-CA Letter Exchange on Agricultural Transparency
US-CL Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products
US-CL Letter Exchange regarding Recognition of FTA TRQs in TPP
JP Exchange of Letters on Distinctive Products
JP to US Letter on Safety Regulations for Motor Vehicles
US-JP Letter Exchange on Operation of SBS Mechanism
US-JP Letter Exchange on Operation of Whey Protein Concentrate Safeguard
US-JP Letter Exchange regarding Standards of Fill
US-JP Letters related to the PHP
US-MY Letter Exchange on Auto Imports
US-MY Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products
US-NZ Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products
US-PE Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products
US-PE Letter Exchange on TRQs and Safeguards
US-VN Letter Exchange on Catfish
US-VN Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products of US
US-VN Letter Exchange on Distinctive Products of VN
US-VN Letter Exchange on Offals
Textiles and Apparel Related
US-BN Letter Exchange on Textiles and Apparel
US-MY Letter Exchange on Registered Textile and Apparel Enterprises
US-SG Exchange on Letters on Textiles and US-SG FTA
US-VN Letter Exchange on Registered Textile and Apparel Enterprises
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Related
US-CL SPS Letter Exchange regarding Salmonid Eggs
Intellectual Property Related
US-AU Letter Exchange on Selected IP Provisions
US-AU Letter Exchange on Article 17.9.7(b) of AUSFTA
US-CA Letter Exchange on IP Border Enforcement
US-CL Letter Exchange re Geographical Indications
US-CL Letter Exchange re Article 17.10.2 of US Chile FTA
US-JP Letter Exchange re Copyright Term
US-MY Letter Exchange re Articles 18.41 .50 and .52
US-MY Letter Exchange re Geographical Indications
US-MX Letter Exchange re Geographical Indications
US-MX Letter Exchange re Tequila and Mezcal
US-PE Letter Exchange re Article 16.14.3 of US-Peru TPA
US-VN Letter Exchange on Biologics
US-VN Letter Exchange re Geographical Indications
US-CL Letter Exchange regarding Express Delivery Services
US-VN Letter Exchange on Pharmaceutical Distribution
US-VN Letter Exchange regarding Electronic Payment Services
US-AU Letter Exchange on Privacy
US-JP Letter Exchange re Temporary Entry
US-AU Letter Exchange on AUSFTA GP Thresholds
US-CA Letter Exchange re GP Thresholds
Letter Exchange US-CA-MX re GP Procedures
US-SG Letter Exchange on SOE Transparency
US-CL Understanding regarding Fisheries Subsidies and Natural Disasters
US-MY Exchange of Letters on Committee to Coordinate Implementation of Environment Chapters
US-PE Understanding regarding Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge
US-PE Understanding regarding Conservation and Trade
Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices
US-AU Letter Exchange on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
US-JP Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
US-PE Understanding re Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
US-Japan Bilateral Outcomes
US-Japan Motor Vehicle Trade Non-Tariff Measures
US-JP Letter Exchange on Certain Auto NTMs
JP to US Letter on Motor Vehicle Distribution Survey
Japan Parallel Negotiations on Non-Tariff Measures
US-JP Letter Exchange on Non-Tariff Measures
Joint Declaration of the Macroeconomic Policy Authorities of
CURRENCY MANIPULATION TEXT
On November 5, 2015, the Treasury Department released the attached text of the Currency Manipulation side deal, Press Release – 12 Nation Statement on Joint Declaration Press Release – Joint Declaration Fact Sheet TPP_Currency_November 2015, stating:
Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries
For the first time in the context of a free trade agreement, countries have adopted a Declaration that addresses unfair currency practices by promoting transparency and accountability.
All TPP countries commit to avoid unfair currency practices and refrain from competitive devaluation.
TPP countries will publicly report their foreign-exchange intervention and foreign reserves data, some for the first time.
Officials from all TPP countries will consult regularly to address macroeconomic issues, including to engage on efforts to avoid unfair currency practices.
This October post will comment on the TPP Agreement in more detail as well as President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to the US and my impressions from Beijing, China during that period, discuss the three flawed trade arguments against China, and also discuss Trade Policy, Trade, Steel and the OCTG case, IP/patent, China antitrust and securities.
As stated below, on October 5th in Atlanta, Trade ministers from the U.S. and 11 other nations, including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Malaysia, reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), which will link up 40 percent of the world’s economy. President Obama cannot sign the Agreement for a minimum of 60 days after releasing the Agreement to the public. Congress cannot consider and pass the Agreement for a minimum of 30 days after that.
The real question, however, is whether the TPP can pass Congress. Although January was a possible period for Congressional consideration, some Congressional staffers are saying that it will not come until April or possibly in the lame duck session after the Presidential/Congressional election. That would be right in the middle of the Presidential election and all bets are off.
From much of the US Press point of view, President Xi’s recent trip to the US was based on deception with the Chinese government having no real interest in coming to agreement on the US China trade problems on environment, cybersecurity, bilateral investment treaty and other hot button issues. In Beijing, China, however, Chinese television was truly involved in a love fest with the United States.
In the United States, we see cynicism. In China, I saw real friendship for the United States, and a determination to work with the United States in partnership based on a win-win principle that both sides must benefit from the relationship. This is the problem of the US China relationship in a nutshell. Never give any credit to China where credit is due and where they are making efforts to solve the bilateral problems.
Fortunately for the United States, China understands the importance of the US China relationship better than many US politicians and the US press. To be specific, there is more than $500 billion in trade between the United States and China annually with US exports, including services, coming close to $200 billion. As stated above, trade is a two way street, and very few US politicians acknowledge the huge US exports to China, which create US jobs.
The Chinese government has agreed to do one very important thing with regards to the problems with the US government—talk about it. For the last several years, twice a year China and the US have conducted negotiations in the SED and JCCT talks. Now as a result, China will have periodic negotiations on cyber-attacks. In great contrast to Russia, China believes firmly in negotiations with the United States to iron out differences and that is very important for the future of US China relationship.
Also this newsletter discusses the three flawed arguments against China: Cyber Attacks, Currency Manipulation and Dumping and the problem that they foster/create a feeling of international trade victim, which leads to protectionism and a loss of jobs.
The real victims of the trade wars are upstream and downstream producers, such as US based, REC Silicon, a US exporter and major manufacturer of polysilicon and victim of the US China Solar Trade War, as it announces that it may close its US plant in Moses Lake, Washington because it is shut out of China.
TPP SHOULD PASS CONGRESS BUT 2016 IS AN ELECTION YEAR AND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
As stated above, on October 5th, in Atlanta Trade ministers from the U.S. and 11 other nations, including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Malaysia, reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), which will link up 40 percent of the world’s economy. Some of the key issues in the TPP are:
- Cut Tariffs on 18,000 products
- New special 2 year safeguard for Certain domestic industries that face a surge in imports
- State-owned companies with TPP Countries must conduct commercial activities in accordance with market- based considerations
- Vietnam must allow formation of independent labor unions
- Malaysia will face trade retaliation if it does not improve its forced labor and human trafficking record
- Bar countries from requiring the localized storage of data or surrender valuable source codes as condition of market entry
- Require parties to commit to sustainable forest management and conserve at risk plants and animals.
A quick look at the latest statements from USTR, the White House and the Department of Agriculture indicate that two areas will see major benefits – Agriculture and Services, including banking and legal services. Also a number of manufacturing and high tech products will see substantial benefits.
The TPP would phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as other barriers to international trade, such as Japanese regulations, that keep out some American-made autos and trucks. It also would establish uniform rules on corporations’ intellectual property and open the Internet even in Vietnam.
USTR has stated the TPP would end more than 18,000 tariffs that the TPP countries have placed on US exports, including autos, machinery, information technology and consumer goods, chemicals and agricultural products, such as avocados in California and wheat, pork and beef from the Plains states.
Right after the Atlanta agreement, USTR Michael Froman stated in an interview:
In sector after sector, our workers are the most productive in the world. Our farmers and ranchers are globally competitive. Our manufacturing plants are globally competitive. If there’s a level playing field, we can compete, and we believe we can win.
Froman further stated that the US, which has an average tariff of approximately 1.4 percent, faces tariffs twice as high when US companies export to other countries. Froman also stated that Iowa would benefit from decreases in tariffs on pork, currently as high as 388 percent, and beef, which are as high as 50 percent:
“We already know there’s great demand for American beef in Japan,” where the beef tariff would ultimately drop to 9 percent from 38.5 percent currently.”
Tariffs on beer, some as high as 47 percent in certain TPP countries, will be “eliminated”
Froman further stated,
We’re working with the other countries to finalize details of the text and put it through a legal scrub.” In the meantime, “we’re having ongoing conversations with congressional leadership and our congressional partners about the process going forward”
On October 16th, however, during a Council on Foreign Relations conference call, USTR Froman also stated that the TPP could not be renegotiated and expressed confidence that Congress would eventually pass the TPP Agreement, stating:
“This is a different kind of agreement than other [free trade agreements] we’ve negotiated; other negotiations have tended to be between the U.S. and one other trading partner. It’s infinitely more complex when you’ve got 11 other trading partners at the table. This isn’t one of those agreements where [you can] reopen an issue or renegotiate a provision.”
Froman conceded that some TPP countries will need “capacity building to technical assistance” when it comes to implementation and enforcement in areas such as patent systems and promoting independent unions, but noted that U.S. officials are working to address concerns voiced by skeptics in government and industry:
“We’re working with Congress, we’re working with the other agencies to develop a full plan for the monitoring and enforcement of TPP. And we’re working with the U.S. Department of Labor on the enforcement of labor provisions, working with our embassies, people on the ground who can help monitor the implementation and cite enforcement issues as they arise.”
Froman further stated:
“TPP presents a choice between two futures, one in which the U.S. is helping to lead on trade and starting a race to the top in terms of global standards, and the other where we take a backseat or sit on the sidelines and allow a race to the bottom that would undermine U.S. influence around the world and result in a lower standard, less open global trading system.”
According to Paulson Institute, in addition to agriculture and manufacturing, the TPP will cause substantial growth in the service industries, including the legal and banking industries. The elimination of services barrier in the TPP countries could lead U.S. services exports to jump by $300 billion. The Paulson Institute further stated a major reason:
“high barriers to service imports and investment that now prevail in TPP countries will be lowered. The barriers include outright bans, quotas, restrictive licenses, buy-national procurement rules, and discriminatory access to distribution networks.”
Meanwhile five former Democratic National Committee chairmen urged party members and Congress to support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing that the pact will ultimately benefit American workers and businesses by expanding labor rights around the world.
Automobile tires made in Ohio that face tariffs or foreign taxes as high as 40 percent would be eliminated. According to Josh Earnest, White House press secretary:
“The TPP actually goes one step further by making sure that manufacturers aren’t at a disadvantage when they sell their tires abroad to any of our 11 TPP countries. So Ohio is a good example.”
According to Earnest, leather boots that are shipped from Texas to TPP countries face foreign taxes as high as 30 percent, which would be eliminated, along with tariff elimination or reduction on exports of US-made bourbon whisky, Port wine, Michigan cars and Missouri barbecue sauce.
The agreement will immediately cut in half and eventually eliminate Japan’s 8.5 percent tariff on imports of fresh cherries. On October 6, 2015, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated:
“The TPP is a high-value, high-standards agreement that will allow the U.S. and other nations to counter Chinese influence in the region. History will tell us that agriculture is a winner every time in trade deals, and TPP is going to be no exception to that history.”
Vilsack stated that some of the agricultural products that will see lower tariffs are U.S. beef, pork, produce, nuts and wine. TPP will reduce Japanese tariffs on beef imports from 38.5 percent to 9 percent, and Japan also will eliminate 80 percent of its pork tariffs in 11 years.
Highly protected dairy industries in Canada and Japan also will be opened to limited import access. Japan has a 40 percent tariff on cheese, which will be eliminated under the TPP, and the country established a low-tariff quota for milk powder and butter equivalent to 70,000 tons of raw milk. Canada granted duty-free access to 3.25 percent of its dairy sector.
Vilsack said historic reductions in tariffs on U.S. exports should indicate that the TPP is a “net winner” and that failing to grasp the opportunity to sell more U.S. products to a rapidly expanding middle class in the Asia Pacific would be a mistake.
With regards to dairy products, Vilsack stated:
“When it came to Canada and Japan, we pushed for as strong access as possible and focused on the most lucrative products for the U.S. At the same time, we were somewhat sensitive to New Zealand expanding access in the U.S.”
The U.S. dairy industry in 2014 said it was prepared to eliminate all tariffs affecting trade with Canada and Japan if they did the same. In the end, the U.S. had to pull back when it became apparent the two countries weren’t ready to go from “zero to 100.” Japan, which counts dairy among its five sensitive agricultural commodities protected by a politically influential union of farmer cooperatives and tariffs and quotas, committed to phasing out tariffs on cheese over 16 years and created low-tariff quotas for milk powder and butter.
Those offers meant the U.S. had to balance New Zealand’s requests for a completely liberalized international dairy market resembling its own, where there are no tariffs. Dairy also is New Zealand’s No. 1 export and can move into new markets quickly. The U.S. agreed in 20 to 30 years to eliminate tariffs on less sensitive products like milk powder and non-fat dry milk from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and allow additional butter and cheese imports through tariff-rate quotas. All tariffs on dairy products from Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam would be gone within 20 years. The U.S. also will have safeguard measures for milk powders and some cheese to combat potential import surges.
Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), stated:
“Based on information available to date, it appears that our industry has successfully avoided the type of disproportionate one-way street that we were deeply concerned could have resulted under this agreement. New Zealand did not get the unfettered access to the U.S. market that it long sought; but Japan and Canada did not open their markets to the degree we sought.”
The entire U.S. horticulture sector is the hidden winner in the TPP agricultural deal. All tariffs would go to zero if TPP were implemented in countries like Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia that currently have high taxes on imports. Japan imposes an 8.5 percent tariff on frozen French fries, which would be eliminated in four years, and a 20 percent tariff on dehydrated potatoes that would be phased out over six years. Once the TPP is implemented, more than 50 percent of U.S. farm goods will get immediate duty-free treatment in Japan, most of which are horticultural products, such as grapes, strawberries, walnuts, almonds, raisins and certain fruit juices. Vietnam has tariffs up to 40 percent on vegetable imports that would end within 11 years, while Malaysia would immediately eliminate tariffs as high as 90 percent.
To see a White House video on how the TPP works and benefits exports of Washington State Cherries, see https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/economy/trade#cherry.
The real question, however, is whether the TPP can pass Congress. Although January was a possible period for Congressional consideration, some Congressional staffers stated that it would not come until April. Recently, statements have been made that there will be no vote on TPP until the lame duck session in Congress after the Presidential/Congressional elections in November 2016. Recently, however, the White House indicated that it wants a Congressional vote on the TPP before the Lame Duck session.
The first question, however, is when will the actual text of the TPP be released to the Public and that apparently will not happen until late November, which means President Obama cannot sign the Agreement until 60 days later and the Congress cannot pass it until 30 days after that.
But this time deadline seems to be moving away as there are further negotiations to clean up the legal terms in the Agreement, especially on currency manipulation. This will mean that the TPP will be a major issue in the Presidential primary and election, which makes it more difficult.
On October 5th, Senator Sessions, a well-known Republican Senator, who opposes TPP, told Breitbart news that it is possible to kill the TPP bill, but then following the law he stated that the Bill does not require 60 votes to pass filibuster in the Senate or 67 votes because it is a treaty:
“I think it’s possible. When they passed fast track, they got 60 votes… The treaty itself now is no longer subject to supermajority or filibuster. It will pass with a simple majority. It cannot be amended: it’ll be brought up one day and voted on the next day with no amendments– up or down. And in the past, they’ve always passed. And I think that will be what experts will tell you today, but I think the American people are getting more and more uneasy about the effect of trade and the promises that our trading partners are going to comply with their part of the bargain and that we’re all going to benefit have not been real . . . .”
But since the TPP only requires a simple majority to pass the Senate, not the 60 votes to pass Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”), it should pass but now the ball is truly in the Court of Senators Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, Ranking Democratic Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. All three members are in the Center of their respective parties. No matter what the Press states, Senator Hatch is not on the extreme right wing of the Republican party and neither is Paul Ryan. If they approve the TPP, a majority of Republican members should stay with them.
The heaviest lift, however, will be on the Democratic side by Senator Ron Wyden because the majority of the Democratic Party is against the Free Trade Agreement because of the power of the Unions. The only reason the TPA bill passed in late July is that the Republicans won the mid-term elections in 2014. If the Democrats has won, Senator Harry Reid had already stated that the TPA bill would not have come to the floor. But to pass the TPA bill through the Senate, the Republicans still needed Democratic votes because of the 60 vote filibuster rule. The TPA bill received 62 votes, but just 62 and no more with a number of Democratic votes, including Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell from Washington State, to replace the Republican Senators, such Senator Sessions and Senator Rand Paul, who voted against the Agreement.
But these three members, Hatch, Wyden and Ryan are critical to the passage of the TPP. One problem is that October 5th, the day of the announcement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch stated that although the details of the TPP “are still emerging, unfortunately I am afraid this deal appears to fall woefully short.” Also listen to his October 8th phone call on CSPAN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2T6xA7XMuY when he explains his concerns in more detail.
Another problem is the turmoil in the House of Representatives over the next speaker. Paul Ryan’s name has been mentioned, but some conservative members are against Ryan because of his stand on the TPP. As the Wall Street Journal stated on October 21, 2015 in its editorial entitled, The Ryan Stakes:
“He has impeccable conservative credentials. . . . Yet in the last week some on the right have come out against Mr. Ryan because he supposedly is not conservative enough – in particular because he favors free trade . . . .”
The Administration will have some heavy lifting to persuade Senators Hatch, Wyden and Representative Ryan that the TPP does meet the high standards set by the Congress in the TPA legislation in July. But if these three lawmakers approve, a majority of the members in the Senate and House should pass the TPP.
Other lawmakers that will be critical in this upcoming battle are in the Senate, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell from Washington State and in the House, Republican representatives Pat Tiberi and Dave Reichert on the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means. Also important in the House, will be the 50 member New Dem Coalition, which is pro international trade and pro economic growth, such as Representatives Ron Kind, Rick Larson, Derek Kilmer and Suzan DelBene. See the Politico article, which describes the New Democrat Coalition in detail at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/new-dems-plan-assertive-new-presence-in-house-121208.html. See also http://www.newdempac.com.
But Democrats have felt significant pressure from environmental groups and labor unions, who are fiercely opposed to the accord. Meanwhile, Republicans have struggled to strike a balance between support for free trade in general and the deep mistrust of giving Obama more power among GOP voters.
But as stated above, 2016 is an election year, and in contrast to several Republican candidates, such as Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich, which are inclined to support the Agreement, but want to read it first, Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side are both fighting hard against the TPP. It is interesting to note that the extreme Right of the Republican party, Donald Trump, and the extreme Left of the Democratic party, Bernie Sanders, both have a common goal to stop the Trade Agreement and send the United States back to protectionism. They are both populists and they know that being protectionist stirs up the bases.
Keep in mind that the Unions are solidly behind Sanders and recently the Teamsters told the Clinton campaign that they would not endorse her because they wanted to talk to Trump first. They like Trump’s stand on the trade agreements, including TPP.
Trump has taken the strongest position against TPP or Obamatrade as he calls it — making opposition to global trade policies and trade agreements one of the key issues of his campaign. In a quote to Breitbart News, even though he has not read the Agreement, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump hammered President Barack Obama for failing the American worker with the TPP stating:
“The incompetence and dishonesty of the President, his administration and—perhaps most disturbing—the Congress of the United States are about to place American jobs and the very livelihoods of Americans at risk . . . . The only entities to benefit from this trade deal will be other countries, particularly China and Japan, and big corporations in America. . . .”
Trump indicated that if crony capitalism were not bad enough, then sticking it to unions, small businesses and everyday Americans seems to be the new blood sport inside the Washington DC Beltway.
“If this was such a good deal, why was there not more transparency? Why are we striking trade agreements with countries we already have agreements with? Why is there no effort to make sure we have fair trade instead of ‘free’ trade that isn’t free to Americans? Why do we not have accompanying legislation that will punish countries that manipulate their currencies to seek unfair advantage in trade arrangements? Why has the Congress not addressed prohibitive corporate tax rates and trade agreements that continue to drain dollars and jobs from America’s shores?”
Trump finally stated:
“It’s time for leadership in Washington It’s time to elect a President who will represent the only special interest not getting any attention—The American People. It’s time to send a real businessman to the White House. It’s time to Make America Great Again.”
For full article see http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/05/exclusive-donald-trump-declares-war-on-obamatrade-time-to-send-a-real-businessman-to-white-house-to-end-this/.
By the way, if you want to see one video circulating China now, it is Trump blaming China 234 times for all the US economic problems. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-says-china_55e06f30e4b0aec9f352e904
In regards to the TPP, Trump’s major argument is that we have lousy negotiators in Washington DC and he will appoint better negotiators if he becomes President. The TPP, however, has been negotiated by the United States Trade Representative’s office (“USTR”) for more than five years. USTR’s officials are considered the top trade officials/negotiators in the US Government, and Ambassador Froman, who heads up USTR, is a trade pro, liked by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Bottom line is the TPP deal is probably the best deal the US could get under the circumstances. Just having a tough negotiator, does not mean that there would be a better deal. All of international trade law is based on reciprocity and what the US can do to other countries, those countries can do back.
In contrast to Trump, the Washington Post likes the deal. On October 5th, it issued an editorial stating:
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal worth celebrating
The United States and 11 other nations concluded the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, or TPP, on Monday -demonstrating that it is still possible for this country to exercise world leadership, and to do big things in its own national interest, given consistent White House leadership and sufficient bipartisan support in Congress.
As President Obama sees it, the TPP would achieve both economic and strategic goals. By slashing tariffs and harmonizing regulatory regimes covering 40 percent of the global economy, the deal would spur growth in the United States and abroad. By knitting the U.S. and Japanese economies together in their first free-trade deal-and binding both of them closer to rising Asian nations-the TPP would create a counterweight to China in East Asia. Not incidentally, the deal would also help Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, overcome domestic interest-group resistance to reforming his nation’s sclerotic economy.
Those arguments persuaded bipartisan majorities of the Republican-controlled Congress to empower Mr. Obama’s negotiating team with so-called “fast-track” authority this year, and, as predicted, that vote helped win substantial new access to the Japanese and other markets for U.S. producers, as well as provisions on the environment and labor rights -including Vietnam’s first acceptance of possible independent trade unions.
In granting the administration fast-track authority, Congress rejected claims from a legion of critics to the effect that the TPP would sell out U.S. workers, the environment or even public health. In fact, the tentative deal would ensure that a controversial dispute arbitration system is more transparent and cannot be used by tobacco makers to escape member nations’ tough regulations. The U.S. team also struck a compromise designed to protect the legitimate intellectual property interests of American drugmakers without depriving poor nations of access to life-saving medicine.
It’s good that the critics lost the fast-track debate in Congress; but it’s not bad we had that debate, because it helped U.S. negotiators identify areas of legitimate concern and, accordingly, areas where the deal could incorporate those concerns. What’s emerged from the talks suggests that the TPP will indeed live up to Mr. Obama’s promise of a “21St-century” agreement: one that anchors the United States in a key region for decades to come, while increasing the scope of trade policy beyond just tariffs.
Difficult as it has been to reach this point, the last leg-final passage for the TPP in both houses of Congress during an election year could prove even more difficult. Republican Donald Trump and Independent-running-as Democrat Bernie Sanders have been whipping up protectionist sentiment against the TPP even before they knew what would be in it. Over the course of the next few months, the public and Congress will have an opportunity to pore over the pact. If its details prove to be as advertised, people are likely to conclude that the benefits of the deal outweigh its risks. For now, though, it’s enough to note the fact that Washington can still get something done, and to celebrate that.”
On October 7th, Hilary Clinton, however, announced her opposition to the TPP in an interview with Judy Woodruff for PBS’s “News Hour” program. She stated:
“What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
She cited weakness on currency manipulation and failures with the FTA with Korea. While Secretary of State, Clinton had predicted TPP would be the “gold standard” of free trade agreements and firmly supported it numerous times, but the pressure of the primary, in particular, attacks by Bernie Sanders have pushed her more to the left of the Party and to oppose the Agreement. Labor unions, whose endorsements she is seeking, are united against it, as are the vast majority of Congressional Democrats. Only 28 House Democrats, and 13 in the Senate, voted for the fast-track bill.
On October 7th, in response to Hilary Clinton’ s statement on TPP, Paul Ryan, Chairman of House Ways and Means, stated on MSNBC:
“I wrote TPA so that Congress would have the tools and the public would have the ability to see what’s in this agreement. I am for free trade agreements, but I’m for very good free trade agreements. I have yet to decide… if this is a very good free trade agreement because I haven’t read it yet, so I just do not know the answer to your question, Chuck. But I’m holding judgment; I’m hopeful, but there are some concerns I have with some of the provisions in here, and quite frankly, we want to see what it is on net,…but it’s going to take some time to scrub through this agreement, to render final judgment.”
“I find it interesting that a person who is seeking to run for the Presidency of the United States, who was in favor of it before, say Hillary Clinton, that she hasn’t even read yet. It’s an enormous agreement and I think we need to be cautious about it. I think we need to do our jobs and read what’s in here.”
For Ryan’s full statement, see http://www.msnbc.com/mtp-daily/watch/ryan-backs-mccarthy-despite-benghazi-slip-540513347596.
On October 8, 2015, the Washington Post in an editorial stated that Hilary Clinton’s stance on the TPP was “disappointing”:
“Bowing to pressure from the Democratic Party’s ascendant protectionist wing, would-be presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has come out against President Obama’s freshly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The most hopeful thing to be said about this deeply disappointing abandonment of the president she served, and the internationalist tendency in Democratic ideology she once embodied, is that it is so transparently political. There is no way that Ms. Clinton can oppose the 12-nation deal on its merits.
In part, that’s because she doesn’t know all the details, as she acknowledged. More to the point, the reasons she offered for her view could not have been convincing, even to her. There was nothing in the deal about alleged currency manipulation by U.S. trading partners, she complained. Yet the biggest manipulator, China, isn’t a party to the pact. As the Obama administration argued, trade pacts by definition deal with tariffs and the like, not monetary policy; currency rules might have been construed to limit the Federal Reserve’s options unduly. . . .
And of course, Ms. Clinton’s opposition to the TPP flies in the face of her repeated statements to the opposite effect when she was Mr. Obama’s secretary of state — and after. . . .Ms. Clinton understood then, the TPP was not only about economics but also about geopolitics.
It’s particularly crucial to Mr. Obama’s essential effort to strengthen U.S. ties to Japan and other East Asian nations, thus counterbalancing China, a “rebalance” for which Ms. Clinton once proudly claimed some authorship.
To be sure, Ms. Clinton salted her anti-TPP statement with qualifiers . . .
And so on. In other words, there is still a chance that later on, if or when she’s president, and it is to her advantage, she may discover some decisive good point in the TPP that would let her take a different position without, technically, contradicting herself. Cynical? Perhaps, but as we said, that’s the hope.”
For full editorial, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ms-clinton-avoids-the-hard-choice-on-the-trans-pacific-partnership/2015/10/08/a795a0cc-6df6-11e5-9bfe-e59f5e244f92_story.html
On October 9th, John Brinkley at Forbes in article entitled Hillary Clinton’s Flip-Flop On TPP Comes Amid Shift In Washington On Free Trade, stated:
“To borrow a phrase from Alice in Wonderland, the politics of trade are getting curiouser and curiouser.
Shortly after the 12 governments that are parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced they had arrived at a deal, Hillary Clinton announced that she opposed it. The timing suggests that she came out against it not because she thought it was, on balance, a bad deal for Americans, but because she determined that supporting it would cost her more votes than opposing it would.
Now, all three major Democratic presidential candidates – Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – are against the TPP, which is one of President Obama’s signature foreign policy goals. Sanders and O’Malley have always opposed free trade. Clinton had always supported it – until she became a presidential candidate.
Earlier, two Republican senators who historically have voted in favor of free trade agreements said they weren’t so sure about this one. . . .
These position changes don’t represent a sea-change in the way politicians view free trade. Hatch and McConnell objection to sections of that offend the corporate CEOs and country club Republicans they so nobly represent.
But it does seem that the spectrum of American support for free trade is getting narrower. It used to be that almost all congressional Republicans and most moderate Democrats were reliable yes votes for free trade agreements. Not anymore.
Tea Party Republicans oppose the TPP and free trade in general. But now, their animus seems to be seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pro-labor Democrats have opposed free trade all the way back to NAFTA. But now, some of the more moderate members of the Democratic Party are starting to look askance at the TPP.
The first sign of this appeared in June, when the House passed a Trade Promotion Authority bill last June by only eight votes.
Optimists hope the 219-211 vote by which the House voted to approve TPA will hold up for the TPP vote. Maybe it will, but the TPP vote will take place in an election year and the TPA vote didn’t. . . .
A long-term reason is that the anti-free trade forces are better at selling their case to the American public than the pro-free trade camp is. The former appeals to their emotions, the latter to their intellects. . . .
So, you can see why pro-trade Democrats who voted for TPA might be reluctant to support the TPP. And, they have an easy way out: their access to the TPP text was restricted during the negotiations. When the final text is posted publicly, they can read it and say, “OMG, I didn’t know THAT was in there!”
“Those of us who think this (agreement) is good were late the party,” Rosenberg said. Not only were they late, they didn’t bring anything good to eat or drink.
“The chances of our losing this have to be a clear and present danger for all of us,” he said.”
For the full article, see http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbrinkley/2015/10/09/politics-of-trade-arent-what-they-used-to-be/print/.
During the Democratic debate on October 13, 2015, Hilary Clinton stated that she had read the TPP, which created a lot head scratching at the White House because the final TPP Agreement has not been released to the public and some aspects, such as currency manipulation, are still being negotiated.
President Obama has been clear on his support for the Agreement:
“When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment.”
One surprise came on October 5, 2015 when the Treasury announced that, in addition to lowering trade barriers, the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership member nations would “strengthen macroeconomic cooperation, including on exchange rate issues, in appropriate fora.” The 12 countries are discussing a possible arrangement for senior finance ministry and central bank officials to meet periodically. As indicated in more detail below, Congress put considerable pressure on the Obama administration last spring to insist on an enforceable currency provision in the trade pact. But the administration and the Federal Reserve fought back, saying that it might someday be used against American policy makers to limit their flexibility to set short-term interest rates and adopt other monetary measures.
At the same time, US trade officials have suggested that the TPP could be a model for an eventual deal with China. China has emerged as the largest foreign investor in many Asian countries as well as the biggest exporter to them, and that has given China a stake in greater openness and an interest in TPP. See Article below from Chinese Trade lawyer about TPP.
On October 6, 2015, The Wall Street Journal in an editorial entitled The Pacific Trade Stakes stated:
“it would be an historic loss if the pact failed because U.S. negotiators bowed too far to protectionist forces, as some early signals suggest TPP will eliminate or reduce about 18,000 tariffs, taxes and non-tariff barriers like quotas, and there’s no denying the pro-growth gains, especially for U.S. goods and services. America already has low tariffs on most products, so this will do more to open up the foreign markets to which 44% of U.S. goods exports now flow.
The U.S. enjoys big comparative advantages in agriculture (soybeans, fruit, corn) and high-value manufacturing like aerospace, computer equipment, auto parts, organic chemicals and more recently oil and gas. Other domestic winners include software, insurance and finance.
Planks that deal with non-discriminatory market access for investment and cross-border services are also useful, as is a provision to protect the free movement of data and information as digital markets mature. TPP includes innovative mechanisms to promote the development of production and supply chains, such as requiring some yarns and fabrics for apparel to be sourced from a TPP member. . . .
No labor or environmental safeguards can win over the Bernie Sanders left, while the Donald Trump right doesn’t care about specifics like IP. Their opposition is implacable and will be amplified by the presidential campaign.
To ratify the pact, President Obama really needs the support of free traders like Orrin Hatch, who said TPP “appears to fall woefully short.” We hope he’s wrong and that the Administration negotiated enough liberalization to deserve his support. Yet the Utah Senator and the three other bipartisan chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Finance and Ways and Means committees joined on a letter last week importuning negotiators “to take the time necessary to get the best deal possible for the United States.” .
If the Administration prioritized speed over substance to get TPP done on Mr. Obama’s watch and capitulated too soon on biotech and elsewhere, the danger is that free traders will defect—and there is little margin for error. The fast-track trade promotion bill passed the House 218-206 and the Senate 60-38.
TPP probably won’t come to a vote until after the 2016 election. Congress should use the time to carefully vet the chapters and ensure that the pact complies with the 150 or so congressionally mandated “negotiating objectives” built into fast track. Mr. Obama will also need to start persuading the Congress with more than his usual Mr. Congeniality routine.
Nine and a half of every 10 of the world’s consumers resides somewhere other than America, so arrangements like the TPP that break down obstacles to trade and investment are crucial to prosperity at home. The question is whether this TPP is the best the U.S. can do.”
INDIA MOANS THAT IT IS OUT AND CHINA WANTS IN
Meanwhile India moans that it is out, but China wants in. On October, 6, 2015, the Wall Street Journal also reported in an article about India lagging other nations in lowering trade barriers and the impact of the TPP on India:
“As more of its biggest trading partners stitch together their economies into low-tariff blocs, India risks getting edged out of key markets at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to rev up economic growth and further integrate his country into global supply chains.
A senior official in India’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that New Delhi didn’t want to join the new partnership and is worried the deal could slow WTO trade negotiations.
“WTO will lose much of its steam because the U.S. won’t have the appetite for it anymore” as it focuses on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the official said. “Nothing of the development agenda in the current round of talks [in the WTO] will be taken seriously.” . . . .
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, if approved by member governments, could make India less competitive in some of the world’s largest markets. A study last year by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade found that the pact would harm India’s exports, particularly in textiles, clothing and leather products, as countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia get cheaper access to the U.S. and other markets covered by the deal. But the negative fallout would be limited, the researchers said, because India already has tariff agreements with several partnership nations, including Japan and Malaysia. . . .”
The Wall Street Journal also reported on October 5th that the TPP was a setback for China:
“China had been invited to join the trade group, but Beijing has been reluctant to comply with many of the required rules, such as opening up the financial sector. By not being a founding member, experts say, China misses the opportunity to help shape an important pillar of the global trading system—a priority for President Xi Jinping.
“The key is whether China’s domestic reforms will be enough or sufficient. If they are not, it will have to follow the U.S. and lose its chance with the TPP to help make the rules,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University.
The trade deal is expected to help blunt Beijing’s efforts to chart its own course for the region. . . .
The world’s second-largest economy also misses out on a grouping that includes many technologically advanced countries at a time when it is working hard to introduce high tech innovation, analysts said. And its economy needs the pressure of foreign competition to give its stalled domestic reform agenda a push, as with the productivity burst China enjoyed after joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, they added.
Two years ago, Mr. Xi announced a broad overhaul to give markets greater sway in an effort to ward off a slowdown and shift the economy to services and consumption and away from industry. Restructuring, however, has been spotty, delayed by opposition from state companies, by the sharpness of the deceleration, corporate and local government debt and excess capacity in housing and industry. . . .
Beijing could face significant internal and external hurdles if it eventually moves to join the trade bloc, said University of Chicago professor Dali Yang, especially given concern among some that it hasn’t always followed the rules since joining the WTO. Even inside China, there is growing recognition that China’s somewhat capricious system—where regulations can be applied arbitrarily and state-owned companies still dominate large swaths of the economy—makes membership unlikely soon, he added.
“The Chinese economy needs a jolt. It really needs reform,” Mr. Yang said. “Many feel the TPP was borne out of a frustration after the WTO, that China went back on its word in telecommunication, for instance, by not letting foreigners have a major stake.”
On October 8th Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng of MOFCOM, China’s Ministry of Commerce, stated that China will evaluate the impact of the TPP based on the official text of the treaty and hopes it will complement other agreements, stating:
“China hopes the TPP pact and other free trade arrangements in the region can boost each other and contribute to the Asia-Pacific’s trade, investment and economic growth.
Chinese officials have stated that they would need to see the agreement enter into force and be in effect for several years before deciding whether it would be worthwhile for China to make all the legal and policy changes necessary to meet the commitments in the agreement and attempt to accede to the TPP.”
On October 6, 2015, in the attached article entitled Trans-Pacific Partnership and China’s Trade Strategy,Trans-Pacific Partnership and China’s Trade Strategy _ Zhaokang JIANG _ Link , Zhaokang Jiang, a well-known Chinese trade lawyer, states:
“As the result of a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive agreement promoting economic growth; enhancing innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raising living standards; reducing poverty in our countries; and promoting transparency, good governance, and enhancing labor and environmental protections, the TPP will be an important step toward the ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region and setting the example rules for the global commerce. . . .
The current TPP members cover 40% of the global trade, and 36% of the world GDP. Once the pact is ratified and signed into laws by the members for implementation, more regional economies such as Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan will have a chance to join. The TPP will also serve as a good example for additional trade negotiations, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“TTIP”), and even the WTO further negotiations. Since international trade is intertwined, the long term significance of the TPP shall not be downplayed, even for the non-member economies and other regions.
Since 1980’s, China has been the beneficiary and contributing party of trade globalization, liberalization and regional economic boom, and shall continue to welcome opportunities and accept the challenges in positive and active thinking, decision-making and behavior. In addition to the bilateral trade pacts, we believe China should seize this chance and embrace the TTP to more deeply participate in the regional trade arrangement, play more significant roles and enjoy more benefits. China should review and study the pact diligently and carefully and prepare to negotiate and join the regional trade deal for a beneficial trade growth.
At the same time, China can use this to adopt best practices for domestic reforms as they did in 2000 when it negotiated the WTO entry deal.
While details of the TPP are emerging in the near future, in additional to the general principles of rule of law, transparency, nondiscrimination, national treatment, the most-favored nation treatment, “minimum standard of treatment”, “negative list”, and due process, the Chinese side at least needs to focus the following key areas, for which the Chinese rules may have significant gaps . . . .
China, as the second largest economy of the world, is left out of the landmark trade deal, but the door is still open, and the future is in the hands of the Chinese leadership.
We hope China will take this rare opportunity in decades to review and accept the internationally recognized values, rules, and procedures for free and fair trade, enhance the trade, economic and legal reforms in China, collaborate with the trade partners, overcome the difficulties of economic and social changes, and finally reach the goal of being a nation of sustainable development, modernization, rule of law and democracy for the better-off of the people.”
TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP FINALIZED IN ATLANTA ROUND
On October 5, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia, Trade ministers from the U.S. and 11 other nations, including Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Malaysia, announced the agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will link up 40 percent of the world’s economy, following an exhausting round of last-minute negotiations that stretched over the weekend.
The scheduled two day session was extended by three days to deal with a number of contentious issues, including commercial exclusivity for biologic pharmaceuticals, automotive issues and market access for dairy products.
President Obama cannot sign the Agreement for a minimum of 60 days after the Agreement is published publicly. Congress cannot consider and pass the Agreement for a minimum of 30 days, after the 60 days, which places Congressional passage possibly in January. The process formally begins when President Barack Obama notifies Congress that he intends to sign the agreement and publishes it. From there, the administration will continue working to brief lawmakers on the contents of the agreement.
In response to the Agreement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch stated:
“A robust and balanced Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement holds the potential to enhance our economy by unlocking foreign markets for American exports and producing higher-paying jobs here at home. But a poor deal risks losing a historic opportunity to break down trade barriers for American made products with a trade block representing 40 percent of the global economy. Closing a deal is an achievement for our nation only if it works for the American people and can pass Congress by meeting the high-standard objectives laid out in bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority. While the details are still emerging, unfortunately I am afraid this deal appears to fall woefully short. Over the next several days and months, I will carefully examine the agreement to determine whether our trade negotiators have diligently followed the law so that this trade agreement meets Congress’s criteria and increases opportunity for American businesses and workers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the United States should not settle for a mediocre deal that fails to set high-standard trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come.”
Predictably, as soon as the deal was announced, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for President and bound at the hip with the labor unions, stated that the new trade deal was “disastrous,” and that he would work to defeat it. As Sanders further stated:
Wall Street and other big corporations have won again. It is time for the rest of us to stop letting multinational corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense. In the Senate, I will do all that I can to defeat this agreement. We need trade policies that benefit American workers and consumers, not just the CEOs of large multinational corporations.
On October 5th, Chairman Paul Ryan of the House Ways and Means Committee issued a press release, stating:
“A successful Trans-Pacific Partnership would mean greater American influence in the world and more good jobs at home. But only a good agreement—and one that meets congressional guidelines in the newly enacted Trade Promotion Authority—will be able to pass the House. I am reserving judgment until I am able to review the final text and consult with my colleagues and my constituents. In particular, I want to explore concerns surrounding the most recent aspects of the agreement. I’m pleased that the American people will be able to read it as well because TPA requires, for the first time ever, the administration to make the text public for at least 60 days before sending it to Congress for consideration. The administration must clearly explain the benefits of this agreement and what it will mean for American families. I hope that Amb. Froman and the White House have produced an agreement that the House can support.”
On October 4th and 5th, the United States Trade Representative issued the attached summary of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement _ United States Trade Rep Some of the salient parts of the Summary are as follows:
Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
On October 4, 2015, Ministers of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam – announced conclusion of their negotiations. The result is a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced agreement that will promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections. We envision conclusion of this agreement, with its new and high standards for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as an important step toward our ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.
Five defining features make the Trans-Pacific Partnership a landmark 21st-century agreement, setting a new standard for global trade while taking up next-generation issues. These features include:
Comprehensive market access. The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.
Regional approach to commitments. The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.
Addressing new trade challenges. The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state owned enterprises in the global economy.
Inclusive trade. The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade. It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments. It also includes specific commitments on development and trade capacity building, to ensure that all Parties are able to meet the commitments in the Agreement and take full advantage of its benefits.
Platform for regional integration. The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.
The TPP includes 30 chapters covering trade and trade-related issues, beginning with trade in goods and continuing through customs and trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; trade remedies; investment; services; electronic commerce; government procurement; intellectual property; labour; environment; ‘horizontal’ chapters meant to ensure that TPP fulfils its potential for development, competitiveness, and inclusiveness; dispute settlement, exceptions, and institutional provisions.
In addition to updating traditional approaches to issues covered by previous free trade agreements (FTAs), the TPP incorporates new and emerging trade issues and cross-cutting issues. These include issues related to the Internet and the digital economy, the participation of state-owned enterprises in international trade and investment, the ability of small businesses to take advantage of trade agreements, and other topics.
TPP unites a diverse group of countries – diverse by geography, language and history, size, and levels of development. All TPP countries recognize that diversity is a unique asset, but also one which requires close cooperation, capacity-building for the lesser-developed TPP countries, and in some cases special transitional periods and mechanisms which offer some TPP partners additional time, where warranted, to develop capacity to implement new obligations.
SETTING REGIONAL TRADE RULES
Below is a summary of the TPP’s 30 chapters. Schedules and annexes are attached to the chapters of the Agreement related to goods and services trade, investment, government procurement, and temporary entry of business persons. In addition, the State-Owned Enterprises chapter includes country-specific exceptions in annexes.
- Initial Provisions and General Definitions
Many TPP Parties have existing agreements with one another. The Initial Provisions and General Definitions Chapter recognizes that the TPP can coexist with other international trade agreements between the Parties, including the WTO Agreement, bilateral, and regional agreements. It also provides definitions of terms used in more than one chapter of the Agreement.
- Trade in Goods
TPP Parties agree to eliminate and reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers on industrial goods, and to eliminate or reduce tariffs and other restrictive policies on agricultural goods. The preferential access provided through the TPP will increase trade between the TPP countries in this market of 800 million people and will support high-quality jobs in all 12 Parties. Most tariff elimination in industrial goods will be implemented immediately, although tariffs on some products will be eliminated over longer timeframes as agreed by the TPP Parties. The specific tariff cuts agreed by the TPP Parties are included in schedules covering all goods. The TPP Parties will publish all tariffs and other information related to goods trade to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large companies can take advantage of the TPP. They also agree not to use performance requirements, which are conditions such as local production requirements that some countries impose on companies in order for them to obtain tariff benefits. In addition, they agree not to impose WTO-inconsistent import and export restrictions and duties, including on remanufactured goods – which will promote recycling of parts into new products. If TPP Parties maintain import or export license requirements, they will notify each other about the procedures so as to increase transparency and facilitate trade flows.
On agricultural products, the Parties will eliminate or reduce tariffs and other restrictive policies, which will increase agricultural trade in the region, and enhance food security. In addition to eliminating or reducing tariffs, TPP Parties agree to promote policy reforms, including by eliminating agricultural export subsidies, working together in the WTO to develop disciplines on export state trading enterprises, export credits, and limiting the timeframes allowed for restrictions on food exports so as to provide greater food security in the region. The TPP Parties have also agreed to increased transparency and cooperation on certain activities related to agricultural biotechnology.
- Textiles and Apparel
The TPP Parties agree to eliminate tariffs on textiles and apparel, industries which are important contributors to economic growth in several TPP Parties’ markets. Most tariffs will be eliminated immediately, although tariffs on some sensitive products will be eliminated over longer timeframes as agreed by the TPP Parties. The chapter also includes specific rules of origin that require use of yarns and fabrics from the TPP region, which will promote regional supply chains and investment in this sector, with a “short supply list” mechanism that allows use of certain yarns and fabrics not widely available in the region. In addition, the chapter includes commitments on customs cooperation and enforcement to prevent duty evasion, smuggling and fraud, as well as a textile-specific special safeguard to respond to serious damage or the threat of serious damage to domestic industry in the event of a sudden surge in imports.
- Rules of Origin
To provide simple rules of origin, promote regional supply chains, and help ensure the TPP countries rather than non-participants are the primary beneficiaries of the Agreement, the 12 Parties have agreed on a single set of rules of origin that define whether a particular good is “originating” and therefore eligible to receive TPP preferential tariff benefits. The product-specific rules of origin are attached to the text of the Agreement. The TPP provides for “accumulation,” so that in general, inputs from one TPP Party are treated the same as materials from any other TPP Party, if used to produce a product in any TPP Party. The TPP Parties also have set rules that ensure businesses can easily operate across the TPP region, by creating a common TPP-wide system of showing and verifying that goods made in the TPP meet the rules of origin. Importers will be able to claim preferential tariff treatment as long as they have the documentation to support their claim. In addition, the chapter provides the competent authorities with the procedures to verify claims appropriately.
- Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation . . . .
To help counter smuggling and duty evasion, the TPP Parties agree to provide information, when requested, to help each other enforce their respective customs laws.
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures
In developing SPS rules, the TPP Parties have advanced their shared interest in ensuring transparent, non-discriminatory rules based on science, and reaffirmed their right to protect human, animal or plant life or health in their countries. The TPP builds on WTO SPS rules for identifying and managing risks in a manner that is no more trade restrictive than necessary. . . .
- Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
In developing TBT rules, the TPP Parties have agreed on transparent, non-discriminatory rules for developing technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, while preserving TPP Parties’ ability to fulfill legitimate objectives. They agree to cooperate to ensure that technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary barriers to trade. . . .
- Trade Remedies
The Trade Remedies chapter promotes transparency and due process in trade remedy proceedings through recognition of best practices, but does not affect the TPP Parties’ rights and obligations under the WTO. The chapter provides for a transitional safeguard mechanism, which allows a Party to apply a transitional safeguard measure during a certain period of time if import increases as a result of the tariff cuts implemented under the TPP cause serious injury to a domestic industry. These measures may be maintained for up to two years, with a one-year extension, but must be progressively liberalized if they last longer than a year. . . .
In establishing investment rules, the TPP Parties set out rules requiring non-discriminatory investment policies and protections that assure basic rule of law protections, while protecting the ability of Parties’ governments to achieve legitimate public policy objectives. . . .
TPP Parties adopt a “negative-list” basis, meaning that their markets are fully open to foreign investors, except where they have taken an exception (non-conforming measure) in one of two country specific annexes: (1) current measures on which a Party accepts an obligation not to make its measures more restrictive in the future and to bind any future liberalization, and (2) measures and policies on which a Party retains full discretion in the future. . . .
- Cross-Border Trade in Services
Given the growing importance of services trade to TPP Parties, the 12 countries share an interest in liberalized trade in this area. TPP includes core obligations found in the WTO and other trade agreements . . . .
- Financial Services
The TPP Financial Services chapter will provide important cross-border and investment market access opportunities, while ensuring that Parties will retain the ability to regulate financial markets and institutions and to take emergency measures in the event of crisis. The chapter includes core obligations found in other trade agreements . . . . In addition, the TPP includes specific commitments on portfolio management, electronic payment card services, and transfer of information for data processing.
The Financial Services chapter provides for the resolution of disputes relating to certain provisions through neutral and transparent investment arbitration. It includes specific provisions on investment disputes related to the minimum standard of treatment, as well as provisions requiring arbitrators to have financial services expertise, and a special State-to-State mechanism to facilitate the application of the prudential exception and other exceptions in the chapter in the context of investment disputes. . . .
- Temporary Entry for Business Persons
The Temporary Entry for Business Persons chapter encourages authorities of TPP Parties to provide information on applications for temporary entry, to ensure that application fees are reasonable, and to make decisions on applications and inform applicants of decisions as quickly as possible. TPP Parties agree to ensure that information on requirements for temporary entry are readily available to the public, including by publishing information promptly and online if possible, and providing explanatory materials. The Parties agree to ongoing cooperation on temporary entry issues such as visa processing. Almost all TPP Parties have made commitments on access for each other’s business persons, which are in country-specific annexes.
TPP Parties share an interest in ensuring efficient and reliable telecommunications networks in their countries. . . .
- Electronic Commerce
In the Electronic Commerce chapter, TPP Parties commit to ensuring free flow of the global information and data that drive the Internet and the digital economy, subject to legitimate public policy objectives such as personal information protection. The 12 Parties also agree not to require that TPP companies build data centers to store data as a condition for operating in a TPP market, and, in addition, that source code of software is not required to be transferred or accessed. The chapter prohibits the imposition of customs duties on electronic transmissions, and prevents TPP Parties from favoring national producers or suppliers of such products through discriminatory measures or outright blocking. . . .
- Government Procurement
TPP Parties share an interest in accessing each other’s large government procurement markets through transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory rules. In the Government Procurement chapter, TPP Parties commit to core disciplines of national treatment and non-discrimination. They also agree to publish relevant information in a timely manner, to allow sufficient time for suppliers to obtain the tender documentation and submit a bid, to treat tenders fairly and impartially, and to maintain confidentiality of tenders. . . ..
- Competition Policy
TPP Parties share an interest in ensuring a framework of fair competition in the region through rules that require TPP Parties to maintain legal regimes that prohibit anticompetitive business conduct, as well as fraudulent and deceptive commercial activities that harm consumers. . . . TPP Parties agree to adopt or maintain national competition laws that proscribe anticompetitive business conduct and work to apply these laws to all commercial activities in their territories. . . .
The chapter is not subject to the dispute settlement provisions of the TPP, but TPP Parties may consult on concerns related to the chapter.
- State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Designated Monopolies
All TPP Parties have SOEs, which often play a role in providing public services and other activities, but TPP Parties recognize the benefit of agreeing on a framework of rules on SOEs. The SOE chapter covers large SOEs that are principally engaged in commercial activities. Parties agree to ensure that their SOEs make commercial purchases and sales on the basis of commercial considerations, except when doing so would be inconsistent with any mandate under which an SOE is operating that would require it to provide public services. They also agree to ensure that their SOEs or designated monopolies do not discriminate against the enterprises, goods, and services of other Parties. Parties agree to provide their courts with jurisdiction over commercial activities of foreign SOEs in their territory, and to ensure that administrative bodies regulating both SOEs and private companies do so in an impartial manner. TPP Parties agree to not cause adverse effects to the interests of other TPP Parties in providing non-commercial assistance to SOEs, or injury to another Party’s domestic industry by providing non-commercial assistance to an SOE that produces and sells goods in that other Party’s territory. TPP Parties agree to share a list of their SOEs with the other TPP Parties and to provide, upon request, additional information about the extent of government ownership or control and the non-commercial assistance they provide to SOEs. There are some exceptions from the obligations in the chapter, for example, where there is a national or global economy emergency, as well as country-specific exceptions that are set out in annexes.
- Intellectual Property
TPP’s Intellectual Property (IP) chapter covers patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs, geographical indications, trade secrets, other forms of intellectual property, and enforcement of intellectual property rights, as well as areas in which Parties agree to cooperate. The IP chapter will make it easier for businesses to search, register, and protect IP rights in new markets, which is particularly important for small businesses.
The chapter establishes standards for patents, based on the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement and international best practices. On trademarks, it provides protections of brand names and other signs that businesses and individuals use to distinguish their products in the marketplace. The chapter also requires certain transparency and due process safeguards with respect to the protection of new geographical indications, including for geographical indications recognized or protected through international agreements. These include confirmation of understandings on the relationship between trademarks and geographical indications, as well as safeguards regarding the use of commonly used terms. . . .
In addition, the chapter contains pharmaceutical-related provisions that facilitate both the development of innovative, life-saving medicines and the availability of generic medicines, taking into account the time that various Parties may need to meet these standards. . . .
Finally, TPP Parties agree to provide strong enforcement systems, including, for example, civil procedures, provisional measures, border measures, and criminal procedures and penalties for commercial-scale trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy. In particular, TPP Parties will provide the legal means to prevent the misappropriation of trade secrets, and establish criminal procedures and penalties for trade secret theft, including by means of cyber-theft, and for cam-cording.
All TPP Parties are International Labour Organization (ILO) members and recognize the importance of promoting internationally recognized labour rights. TPP Parties agree to adopt and maintain in their laws and practices the fundamental labour rights as recognized in the ILO 1998 Declaration, namely freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; elimination of forced labour; abolition of child labour and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour; and elimination of discrimination in employment. They also agree to have laws governing minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health. These commitments also apply to export processing zones. The 12 Parties agree not to waive or derogate from laws implementing fundamental labour rights in order to attract trade or investment, and not to fail to effectively enforce their labour laws in a sustained or recurring pattern that would affect trade or investment between the TPP Parties. In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labour in their own countries, the Labour chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labour or child labour, or that contain inputs produced by forced labour, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP Party.
Each of the 12 TPP Parties commits to ensure access to fair, equitable and transparent administrative and judicial proceedings and to provide effective remedies for violations of its labour laws. They also agree to public participation in implementation of the Labour chapter, including establishing mechanisms to obtain public input.
The commitments in the chapter are subject to the dispute settlement procedures laid out in the Dispute Settlement chapter. To promote the rapid resolution of labour issues between TPP Parties, the Labour chapter also establishes a labour dialogue that Parties may choose to use to try to resolve any labour issue between them that arises under the chapter. This dialogue allows for expeditious consideration of matters and for Parties to mutually agree to a course of action to address issues. The Labour chapter establishes a mechanism for cooperation on labour issues, including opportunities for stakeholder input in identifying areas of cooperation and participation, as appropriate and jointly agreed, in cooperative activities.
As home to a significant portion of the world’s people, wildlife, plants and marine species, TPP Parties share a strong commitment to protecting and conserving the environment, including by working together to address environmental challenges, such as pollution, illegal wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illegal fishing, and protection of the marine environment. The 12 Parties agree to effectively enforce their environmental laws; and not to weaken environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment. . . .
The chapter is subject to the dispute settlement procedure laid out in the Dispute Settlement chapter. . . .
- Cooperation and Capacity Building . . ..
- Competitiveness and Business Facilitation
The Competitiveness and Business Facilitation chapter aims to help the TPP reach its potential to improve the competitiveness of the participating countries, and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. . . .
The TPP Parties seek to ensure that the TPP will be a high-standard model for trade and economic integration, and in particular to ensure that all TPP Parties can obtain the complete benefits of the TPP, are fully able to implement their commitments, and emerge as more prosperous societies with strong markets. . . .
- Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
TPP Parties have a shared interest in promoting the participation of small- and medium-sized enterprises in trade and to ensure that small- and medium-sized enterprises share in the benefits of the TPP. . . .
- Regulatory Coherence
TPP’s Regulatory Coherence chapter will help ensure an open, fair, and predictable regulatory environment for businesses operating in the TPP markets by encouraging transparency, impartiality, and coordination across each government to achieve a coherent regulatory approach. . . .
- Transparency and Anti-Corruption
The TPP’s Transparency and Anti-Corruption chapter aims to promote the goal, shared by all TPP Parties, of strengthening good governance and addressing the corrosive effects bribery and corruption can have on their economies. . . .
- Administrative and Institutional Provisions
The Administrative and Institutional Provisions Chapter sets out the institutional framework by which the Parties will assess and guide implementation or operation of the TPP, in particular by establishing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission, composed of Ministers or senior level officials, to oversee the implementation or operation of the Agreement and guide its future evolution. This Commission will review the economic relationship and partnership among the Parties on a periodic basis to ensure that the Agreement remains relevant to the trade and investment challenges confronting the Parties.. . .
- Dispute Settlement
The Dispute Settlement chapter is intended to allow Parties to expeditiously address disputes between them over implementation of the TPP. TPP Parties will make every attempt to resolve disputes through cooperation and consultation and encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms when appropriate. When this is not possible, TPP Parties aim to have these disputes resolved through impartial, unbiased panels. The dispute settlement mechanism created in this chapter applies across the TPP, with few specific exceptions. . . .
Should consultations fail to resolve an issue, Parties may request establishment of a panel, which would be established within 60 days after the date of receipt of a request for consultations or 30 days after the date of receipt of a request related to perishable goods. Panels will be composed of three international trade and subject matter experts independent of the disputing Parties, with procedures available to ensure that a panel can be composed even if a Party fails to appoint a panelist within a set period of time. These panelists will be subject to a code of conduct to ensure the integrity of the dispute settlement mechanism. . . .
To maximize compliance, the Dispute Settlement chapter allows for the use of trade retaliation (e.g., suspension of benefits), if a Party found not to have complied with its obligations fails to bring itself into compliance with its obligations. Before use of trade retaliation, a Party found in violation can negotiate or arbitrate a reasonable period of time in which to remedy the breach.
The Exceptions Chapter ensures that flexibilities are available to all TPP Parties that guarantee full rights to regulate in the public interest, including for a Party’s essential security interest and other public welfare reasons. This chapter incorporates the general exceptions provided for in Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 to the goods trade-related provisions, specifying that nothing in the TPP shall be construed to prevent the adoption or enforcement by a Party of measures necessary to, among other things, protect public morals, protect human, animal or plant life or health, protect intellectual property, enforce measures relating to products of prison labour, and measures relating to conservation of exhaustible natural resources. . . .
In addition, it specifies that no Party is obligated to furnish information under the TPP if it would be contrary to its law or public interest, or would prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of particular enterprises. A Party may elect to deny the benefits of Investor-State dispute settlement with respect to a claim challenging a tobacco control measure of the Party.
- Final Provisions
The Final Provisions chapter defines the way the TPP will enter into force, the way in which it can be amended, the rules that establish the process for other States or separate customs territories to join the TPP in the future, the means by which Parties can withdraw, and the authentic languages of the TPP. It also designates a Depositary for the Agreement responsible for receiving and disseminating documents. . . .
THREE CHINA CANARDS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE VICTIMHOOD
In light of President Xi’s recent trip to the United States and the many arguments thrown at China by the Press and US Politicians, it is time to look at the three major trade/economic attacks against China in detail: cyber- attacks, currency manipulation and dumping. When one digs down, one finds that the arguments are based on misunderstandings and misperceptions and often are not based on complete or actual facts. There are a lot of holes in the US arguments.
In fact, often these arguments are the pot, the United States, calling the kettle, China, black or in Chinese, the crow calling the pig black. What the US accuses the Chinese government of doing, the US government itself is doing against China and other countries.
In truth, the Chinese government can take actions, which are totally unfair, but US government officials should get their facts right and make sure that the attacks on China are based on actual economic reality and the US Government’s actual position.
More importantly, the problem with these attacks is that they lead to a US mindset among companies and unions of globalization/international trade victimhood. The whole world and especially China is out to get the US and we US companies and US workers cannot compete with imports into the US because all are unfairly traded so let’s put up protectionist walls.
This mindset, however, leads to corrosion of a company’s competitive instincts and makes them less able to compete in the modern world and US market. Protectionism leads to the decline of the US industry and the loss of jobs. As President Reagan so eloquently put it the attached June 28, 1968 speech on international trade, BETTER COPY REAGAN IT SPEECH:
international trade is one of those issues that politicians find an unending source of temptation. Like a 5-cent cigar or a chicken in every pot, demanding high tariffs or import restrictions is a familiar bit of flimflmmaery in American politics. But cliches and demagoguery aside, the truth is these trade restrictions badly hurt economic growth. You see, trade barriers and protectionism only put off the inevitable.
Sooner or later, economic reality intrudes, and industries protected by the Government face a new and unexpected form of competition. It may be a better product, a more efficient manufacturing technique, or a new foreign or domestic competitor.
By this time, of course, the protected industry is so listless and its competitive instincts so atrophied that it can’t stand up to the competition. And that, my friends, is when the factories shut down and the unemployment lines start. . . .
As indicated below, this last paragraph would appear to fit exactly the Steel Industry.
The inconvenient truth for a Donald Trump and the Republican protectionists is that President Ronald Reagan, who Republicans hold up as their icon, was a true free trader and not a false prophet. So let’s look at these three arguments in detail.
As stated more below, although the US Press, including Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times along with a number of US politicians, including Senators McCain and Ayotte, vehemently attack China for its cyber- attacks, when one digs down it turns out that part of the problem is the United States.
As indicated below, on September 29, 2015, in response to specific questions from Senator Manchin in the Senate Armed Services Committee, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified that China cyber- attacks to obtain information on weapon systems are not cyber- crime. It is cyber espionage, which the United States itself engages in. As Dr. Clapper stated both countries, including the United States, engage in cyber espionage and “we are pretty good at it.” Dr. Clapper went on to state that “people in glass houses” shouldn’t throw stones. See http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/15-09-29-united-states-cybersecurity-policy-and-threats at 1hour 8 minutes to 10 minutes.
In response to a specific question from Senator Ayotte, Director Clapper also specifically admitted that the attack on OPM and theft of US government employee data is state espionage and not commercial activity, which the US also engages in. See above hearing at 1 hour 18 and 19 minutes.
During the same hearing, Administration officials acknowledged that the recent Cyber Agreement with China is a good first step.
What does this mean? It means that the US government never asked China for a comprehensive agreement to stop cyber hacking, because the US government is engaged in cyber espionage too and “we are pretty good at it. . . . People in glass houses…”. This illustrates the hypocrisy of much of the political attacks on China regarding cyber-attacks on US security interests and OPM, which are based on incorrect definitions as set down by the US government itself.
What the US Government did demand on the threat of economic sanctions was for the Chinese government to stop cyber-attacks on commercial interests, including the theft of intellectual property. The Chinese government agreed, not only because of the threats of economic sanctions, but also because they realize how important the US China economic/trade relationship is for China, the Chinese people and the entire World.
Although the Press reports that the cyber- attacks still continue, as President Xi specifically mentioned, the Chinese government cannot unilaterally stop all private cyberattacks that come from China, just as the US government cannot unilaterally stop all private cyber- attacks from the US. These are criminal acts.
At the Armed Services hearing, Senator McCain stated that he was astonished at the statement by Director Clapper. What is astonishing is that high level Senators, who launched cynical attack after attack on the Chinese government, do not know the position of their own government and the distinction between state espionage and commercial cyber- attacks. The Senators do not realize or do not want to acknowledge that the pot (the US) is calling the kettle (China) black.
Recently, in an October 6, 2015 article on Energy Wire, entitled “DOE cold case shows limits of U.S.-China cyber cooperation” at http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060025891[10/6/2015 10:41:38 AM] about the Justice Department accusing Chinese officials in the People’s Liberation Army of hacking, Robert Cattanach, co-chairman of the cybersecurity practice group at Dorsey, stated with regards to the provisions in the China Cyber Agreement:
“to end “cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors” . . . the framework’s omissions are telling. “The U.S. clearly signaled that it was still fine for China to do whatever it wished in the area of national security cyberespionage – and the subtext there is, because we’re doing it, too. Problems come up right away, however, due to the fact that “it’s not at all clear where the dividing line is between ‘acceptable’ cyber hacking and ‘unacceptable’ cyber hacking,”
The same problem exists with currency manipulation. First, the general definition of currency manipulation is that a country artificially lowers the value of its currency, to undervalue the currency, so as to have a competitive advantage and encourage exports.
But the problem with this issue is that like cyber-attacks there is no internationally approved definition of currency manipulation, and both the Obama Administration, including President Obama and Secretary of Treasury Lew, along with free trade Senators and Congressmen are worried that without an internationally approved definition, currency manipulation could be used to retaliate against the United States. Remember the Federal Reserve’s Policy of Quantitative Easing.
Regarding China, originally, when the argument was first made in 2004, the Chinese Yuan was worth about 8.2 or 8.3 to the dollar, making the Chinese yuan relatively weak as compared to the US dollar. Since 2004 because of the Currency manipulation argument, China has allowed the Yuan to float within in very short range and gradually strengthened the Chinese yuan to 6.35 yuan today.
Keep in mind that China is worried about strengthening its currency too much, not because of the United States, but because of its Asian competitors. Vietnam, for example, exports more furniture and other products as compared to China because its wages are lower than China. Much of the textile business has now left China to go to Bangladesh, where wages are much lower than China.
For more than 10 years, the US Steel Industry and the Unions have been using the currency manipulation to attack China. But another inconvenient truth is that on May 26, 2015, the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) determined that China’s currency is no longer unvalued. The IMF specifically stated:
“On the external side, China has made good progress in recent years in reducing the very large current account surplus and accumulation of foreign exchange reserves. . . .While undervaluation of the Renminbi was a major factor causing the large imbalances in the past, our assessment now is that the substantial real effective appreciation over the past year has brought the exchange rate to a level that is no longer undervalued.
In addition, the major argument of many Democratic Senators and Congressmen and even some Republicans is that the Trans Pacific Partnership is not a good deal because there are no enforceable rules against currency manipulation. But the inconvenient truth is that enforceable provisions were not in the Bill because Democratic President Obama and Democratic Secretary of Treasury Lew threatened to veto the TPA bill if enforceable provisions were included.
On May 22, 2015, on the Senate floor during the debate on Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”) Senator Hatch made a very strong argument against the Currency Amendment proposed by Senators Stabenow and Portman, which would have required enforceable provisions on currency manipulation, stating that the President will veto the TPA bill and if passed could lead to international sanctions against the United States by international tribunals. See Testimony of Senators Wyden and Hatch at http://www.c-span.org/video/?326202-1/us-senate-debate-trade-promotion-authority&live.
As Senator Hatch stated:
Mr. President, I want to take some time today to talk about proposals to include a currency manipulation negotiating objective in trade negotiations and the impact this issue is having on the debate over renewing Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.
Currency manipulation has, for many, become the primary issue in the TPA debate. . . .
However, I want to be as plain as I can be on this issue: While currency manipulation is an important issue, it is inappropriate and counterproductive to try to solve this problem solely through free trade agreements. . . .
But, first, I think we need to step back and take a look at the big picture. I think I can boil this very complicated issue down to a single point: The Portman-Stabenow Amendment will kill TPA.
I’m not just saying that, Mr. President. It is, at this point, a verifiable fact.
Yesterday, I received a letter from Treasury Secretary Lew outlining the Obama Administration’s opposition to this amendment. The letter addresses a number of issues, some which I’ll discuss later. But, most importantly, at the end of the letter, Secretary Lew stated very plainly that he would recommend that the President veto a TPA bill that included this amendment.
That’s pretty clear, Mr. President. It doesn’t leave much room for interpretation or speculation. No TPA bill that contains the language of the Portman-Stabenow Amendment stands a chance of becoming law. . . .
at this point, it is difficult – very difficult, in fact – for anyone in this chamber to claim that they support TPA and still vote in favor of the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. The two, as of yesterday, have officially become mutually exclusive. . . .
But, regardless of what you think of Secretary Lew’s letter, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment raises enough substantive policy concerns to warrant opposition on its own. Offhand, I can think of four separate consequences that we’d run into if the Senate were to adopt this amendment, and all of them would have a negative impact on U.S. economic interests.
First, the Portman-Stabenow negotiating objective would put the TPP, agreement at grave risk, meaning that our farmers, ranchers, and manufactures – not to mention the workers they employ – would not get access to these important foreign markets, resulting in fewer good, high-paying jobs for American workers.
We know this is the case, Mr. President. Virtually all of our major negotiating partners, most notably Japan, have already made clear that they will not agree to an enforceable provisions like the one required by the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. No country that I am aware of, including the United States, has ever shown the willingness to have their monetary policies subject to potential trade sanctions. Adopting this amendment will have, at best, an immediate chilling effect on the TPP negotiations, and, at worst, it will stop them in their tracks.
If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the letter we received from 26 leading food and agriculture organizations . . . urging Congress to reject the Portman-Stabenow amendment because it will, in their words, “most likely kill the TPP negotiations” Put simply, not only will this amendment kill TPA, it will very likely kill TPP as well.
Second, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment would put at risk the Federal Reserve’s independence in its ability to formulate and execute monetary policies designed to protect and stabilize the U.S. economy. While some in this chamber have made decrees that our domestic monetary policies do not constitute currency manipulation, we know that not all of our trading partners see it that way.
Requiring the inclusion of enforceable rules on currency manipulation and subsequent trade sanctions in our free trade agreements would provide other countries with a template for targeting U.S. monetary policies, subjecting our own agencies and policies to trade disputes and adjudication in international trade tribunals. We have already heard accusations in international commentaries by foreign finance ministers and central bankers that our own Fed has manipulated the value of the dollar to gain trade advantage.
If the Portman-Stabenow language is adopted into TPA and these rules become part of our trade agreements, how long do you think it will take for our trading partners to enter disputes and seek remedies against Federal Reserve quantitative easing policies? Not long, I’d imagine.
If the Portman-Stabenow objective becomes part of our trade agreements, we will undoubtedly see formal actions to impose sanctions on U.S. trade, under the guise that the Federal Reserve has manipulated our currency for trade advantage. We’ll also be hearing from other countries that Fed policy is causing instability in their financial markets and economies and, unless the Fed takes a different path, those countries could argue for relief or justify their own exchange-rate policies to gain some trade advantage for themselves.
While we may not agree with those allegations, the point is that, under the Portman-Stabenow formulation, judgments and verdicts on our policies will be taken out of our hands and, rather, can be rendered by international trade tribunals. . . .
Put simply, we cannot enforce rules against unfair exchange rate practices if we do not have information about them. Under the Portman-Stabenow Amendment, our trading partners are far more likely to engage in interventions in the shadows, hiding from detection out of fear that they could end up being subjected to trade sanctions.
Mr. President, for these reasons and others, the Portman-Stabenow Amendment is the wrong approach. Still, I do recognize that currency manipulation is a legitimate concern, and one that we need to address in a serious, thoughtful way.
Toward that end, Senator Wyden and I have filed an amendment that would expand on the currency negotiating objective that is already in the TPA bill to give our country more tools to address currency manipulation without the problems and risks that would come part and parcel with the Portman-Stabenow Amendment. . . .
Why are enforceable provisions against currency manipulation wrong? Because all of “international/WTO” trade law is based on reciprocity. What the United States can do to other countries, those countries can do back to the United States. In effect, if enforceable currency manipulation provisions had been included in the TPP, the United States could be hoisted by its own petard, killed by its own knife.
That is the reason Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, are so concerned about currency manipulation. Currency manipulation is a negotiating objective as set forth in the TPA. But enforcing currency manipulation is a problem because there is no internationally accepted definition of currency manipulation. When the US Federal Reserve used quantitative easing in the last financial crisis, was that currency manipulation? Could other countries retaliate against the US for using quantitative easing? That is the fear of free traders. In international trade what goes around comes around.
Currency manipulation was include in the Trade Promotion Authority bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law, but there were no enforceable provisions. The specific provision in the TPA states in part:
“Foreign Currency Manipulation—The principal negotiating objective of the United States with respect to unfair currency practices is seek to establish accountability through enforceable rules, transparency, reporting, monitoring, cooperative mechanisms, or other means to address exchange rate manipulation involving protracted large scale intervention in one direction in the exchange markets and a persistently undervalued foreign exchange rate to gain an unfair competitive advantage in trade over other parties to a trade agreement consistent with existing obligations of the United States as a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.”
In the TPP Agreement, which was concluded in Atlanta, in a currency manipulation side deal, apparently the nations pledged not to devalue their currencies in such a way as to gain an edge on their competitors, but it will not have any enforcement provisions. Country representatives will meet at least once a year to discuss the commitments and to try to coordinate macroeconomic policies.
The specific details of the currency manipulation side agreement are still being negotiated so it is difficult to believe that Hilary Clinton has actually read the Agreement, when it has not been finalized yet.
The side agreement, however, apparently centers around three key commitments countries would undertake as part of this side deal. First, the TPP countries would commit to not devalue their currencies so as to make their exports cheaper. Second, they would upgrade the transparency of their respective monetary policies and decision-making. Finally, the countries would set up a multilateral forum to discuss exchange rate policies and broader macroeconomic issues.
It is not clear, however, how often officials would meet in this configuration, or at what level. Government sources, however, indicate that the TPP countries are very close to coming to an agreement on these points and are entering a technical review of the side deal.
On the day the TPP agreement was announced, Treasury released a joint statement by the TPP countries:
“We are pleased to announce today that we are working to strengthen macroeconomic cooperation, including on exchange rate issues, in appropriate fora. The work to be undertaken reflects our common interest in strengthening cooperation on macroeconomic policies, and will help to further macroeconomic stability in the TPP region as well as help ensure that the benefits of TPP are realized. Keeping in mind the diverse circumstances of the TPP countries, we are currently undertaking a technical review.”
On October 19, 2015, Treasury Secretary Lew stated that the TPP provides a “very powerful set of tools,” with tough provisions to get participating countries to “keep their word” on currency.
It is interesting to note that on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, in his Seattle speech, President Xi of China specifically agreed to a similar provision:
“We will stick to the purpose of our reform to have the exchange rate decided by market supply and demand and allow the RMB to float both ways. We are against competitive depreciation or a currency war. We will not lower the RMB exchange rate to boost exports. To develop the capital market and improve the market-based pricing of the RMB exchange, is the direction of our reform. This will not be changed by the recent fluctuation in the stock market.”
In other words, China has agreed to abide by the same currency manipulation deal struck in the TPP Agreement.
But that brings us to another problem, recently China allowed the Yuan to float and it lost 2 to 3% of its value and immediately the China critics in the United States cried currency manipulation. As stated above, the International Monetary Fund has already determined that the Chinese RMB is not undervalued. If anything, with the very difficult economic situation in China right now, the Chinese RMB may be overvalued. In fact, if Chinese RMB were actually floated on the market, there might be a sharp decline.
The natural economic course is for currencies to become weaker when economies become weaker. The IMF has already determined that China’s currency is not undervalued. But right now, China’s economy is going through a downturn.
As Treasury Secretary Lew stated on October 19th regarding China’s currency:
“There’s still room for the renminbi to appreciate. Right now, there’s downward pressure on the renminbi. Some of it is as a result of the policies that they made and the way they announced them over the summer. We have to make sure that China understands that it’s very important that they need to keep their commitment to let the renminbi go up as well as down.”
On October 1, 2015, the Wall Street Journal on its front page, reported “A Painful Quarter for Markets” stated:
“Stocks had their worst quarter since 2011 amid growth worries as daily swings grew bigger as investors fretted over China while a commodity selloff [in part because of China] and rising junk-bond yields added to the anxiety.”
On October 7, 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Chinese Central bank interventions” to shore up the yuan ate into China’s foreign-exchange reserves in September, stating.:
“The People’s Bank of China on Wednesday said currency reserves fell $43.3 billion in September to $3.51 trillion as more funds left the country, the fifth consecutive monthly drop but a less sharp one than the record $93.9 billion plunge the previous month. That came after the central bank first devalued the yuan in a mid-August surprise and then saw itself forced to step up selling of dollar assets, particularly U.S. Treasuries, to prevent a free fall in the currency. . . .”
On October 7th, the Wall Street Journal further reported that, “Once the Biggest Buyer, China Starts Dumping U.S. Government Debt Shift in Treasury holdings is latest symptom of emerging-market slowdown hitting global economy”. The Article states:
“Central banks around the world are selling U.S. government bonds at the fastest pace on record, the most dramatic shift in the $12.8 trillion Treasury market since the financial crisis.
Sales by China, Russia, Brazil and Taiwan are the latest sign of an emerging-markets slowdown that is threatening to spill over into the U.S. economy. Previously, all four were large purchasers of U.S. debt. . . .
In the past decade, large trade surpluses or commodity revenues permitted many emerging-market countries to accumulate large foreign-exchange reserves. Many purchased U.S. debt because the Treasury market is the most liquid and the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. . . .
But as global economic growth weakened, commodity prices slumped and the dollar rose in anticipation of expected Federal Reserve interest-rate increases, capital flowed out of emerging economies, forcing some central banks to raise cash to buy their local currencies.
In recent months, China’s central bank in particular has stepped up its selling of Treasuries. The People’s Bank of China surprised investors by devaluing the yuan on Aug. 11. The heavy selloff that followed—triggered by concerns that Beijing would permit more weakening of the yuan to help spur growth—caught officials at the central bank somewhat off guard, according to the people.
To contain the selloff, the PBOC has been buying yuan and selling dollars to prevent the yuan from weakening beyond around 6.40 per dollar. Internal estimates at the PBOC show that it spent between $120 billion and $130 billion in August alone in bolstering the yuan’s value, according to people close to the central bank.”
On October 20, 2015, it was reported that total capital outflows from China could have been as high as $850 billion from the start of 2015 to the end of September. This estimate assumes China has had to sell foreign exchange reserves ($329 billion until the end of September, mostly in U.S. Treasuries) to keep the exchange rate stable.
Does this sound like a country that is intentionally trying to undervalue its currency to get a competitive advantage? In fact, China is spending 100s of billions of dollars to prevent the exchange rate from falling by keeping its currency strong and not undercutting the dollar. Why? To keep up the standard of living of its people and to avoid the currency manipulation argument aimed at China by the United States.
Many China critics point to China as the second largest economy, but that is a distortion. When looked at the GDP on a per capita/per person basis, China is much lower. As reported by the International Monetary Fund, the United States is ranked number 10 with a per capita GDP of $54,370GDP, where China is ranked number 88 with a per capita income of $13, 224 after the Maldives. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita#List_of_countries_and_dependencies.
China is the largest country in the World by population with 1.376 billion. The United States has a population of 321 million. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, when it comes to competitiveness, the United States ranks number 3 and China ranks number 28 after Israel, but before Estonia. See http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015/rankings/; Global Competitiveness http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2015-2016/economies/#economy=USA.
Why is this important? Because as President Xi recently stated in Seattle, China is still a developing country and it has 100s of millions of people in poverty. As President Xi stated:
“At the same time, we are civilly-aware that China is still the world’s largest developing country. Our per capita GDP is only two-thirds that of global average and one-seventh that of the United States, ranking around 80th in the world. By China’s own standard, we still have over 70 million people living under the poverty line. If measured by world bank standard, the number would be more than 200 million. . . .”
President Xi went on to state that his focus has to be development and raising the standard of living for his people:
“I know that we must work still harder before all our people can live a better life. That explains why development remains China’s top priority. To anyone charged with the governance of China, their primary mission is to focus all the resources on improving people’s living standard and gradually achieve common prosperity.”
The bottom line is that the Chinese leadership knows that it is still a developing country and it needs the relationship with the US to continue to lift is population out of poverty. But China also knows that the US China relationship must be a win-win relationship in which the United States also benefits. That is the reason the US is exporting close $200 billion in exports to China.
On September 26, 2015, while in Beijing I went to a Supermarket in the Guomao, Business District of Beijing. The “Ole” supermarket chain was having a major sales event of US agricultural products, selling US pork, apples, potatoes, seafood, wine, cheese, grapes and raisins. The event was sponsored by USDA, US Commercial Service, US Pork Producers, US Meat, US raisins, Alaska Seafood, Washington Apples, US Potatoes, California Grapes and Raisins. I was the only foreigner in the supermarket and the checkout girls had little US flags on their lapel.
The US China Trade relationship is also why China was quickly willing to negotiate and come to agreement with the United States on Cyber Attacks and Currency manipulation. But willingness to negotiate and discuss the issues is not good enough for the protectionist forces in the United States.
But if cyber-attacks and currency manipulation do not work, the US press and politicians can always argue that the United States is a dumping ground for Chinese products. In fact, the United States presently has antidumping orders blocking more than $20 billion in imports from China, all based on fake numbers.
Antidumping orders cover products as diverse as Furniture ($1 billion), almost all steel products (billions), Solar Cells and Solar Panels ($4 billion), Aluminum Extrusions, including aluminum auto parts, curtain walls, the sides of buildings and lighting equipment (billions), Tires ($7 billion), and Paper (billions), not to mention food products, such as honey, garlic, crawfish and shrimp.
Dumping is generally defined as selling products in the United States at lower prices than in the home/China market or below the fully allocated cost of production. But as readers of this blog know, in contrast to almost every country in the World, including Iran, Syria, Russia, and Ukraine, the Commerce Department considers China to be a nonmarket economy country and refuses to look at actual prices and costs in China. Instead Commerce constructs a cost from consumption factors in China and multiplies those factors times surrogate values, which it obtains from import statistics in five to 10 different countries.
But those surrogate countries can change from preliminary to final determinations and from initial investigation to the multiple review investigations against Chinese products. In the Hardwood Plywood case, for example, Commerce used import statistics in Philippines in the Preliminary resulting in a 0% antidumping rate, and then in the final determination switched to import statistics in Bulgaria, resulting in a 57% antidumping rate. In a Mushrooms review investigation, Commerce switched from India, which it had used in more than five past review investigations, to Columbia and the rate went from single digits to over 400% because of surrogate values for cow manure and hay from Columbia Import statistics.
If you think about it, how much cow manure and hay is imported into Columbia. Because Commerce’s almost always relies on import statistics in one of the 5 to 10 different countries, it always uses inflated surrogate values because imports by definition must be higher priced than the domestic product. By using hyper-inflated surrogate values, it is always easy to find dumping rates against China, but they are not based on reality.
With regards to Countervailing Duty orders against China, Commerce refuses to use benchmark prices in China to value the subsidies. As explained more below, this refusal along with the Commerce Department’s decision that every raw material product supplied by every state-owned company is subsidized, has led to a major loss for the United States at the WTO overturning dozens of Commerce Department CVD determinations for violations of the WTO’s Countervailing Duty Agreement.
More importantly, US importers pay antidumping and countervailing duties, not Chinese companies, and when antidumping and countervailing duties go up in administrative review investigations, US importers are retroactively liable for the difference plus interest. Thus an importer can wake up one morning when an antidumping rate has gone from 0 to 157% and owe millions in retroactive antidumping duties to the US government. But since Commerce does not use real prices and costs in China and can switch from surrogate country to surrogate country, the Chinese companies cannot know whether they are dumping and what the rate will be and neither can the US importers. Thus the Commerce Department fiction exposes US importers to potentially millions of dollars in retroactive liability through no fault of the importer. Thus, when antidumping and countervailing duty orders are issued against China, over time all imports of the specific product stop because importers are scared of the huge risk that could bankrupt their company if they import under an antidumping or countervailing duty order against China.
But the real problem with these three attacks on China is that it encourages a mindset among US producers and US workers of Globalization/International Trade Victimhood, which corrodes the competitive spirit. This phrase was not coined by me, but by the Mid Atlantic Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, which uses the term in a video about how four US companies used the TAA for Companies program to save their business — http://mataac.org/howitworks/.
Moreover, we have a perfect experiment/example to make this point—the US steel industry. This Industry has had some form of protection from steel imports under US antidumping and countervailing duty laws and other trade statutes for 40 years. Is the Steel industry thriving? Is it expanding with all the protection from imports that it has received? No, the industry continues to decline even though US Steel companies and the Unions have spent tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and to keep political pressure up on Congress and the Government.
When I first started work at the International Trade Commission in 1980, there were numerous large steel companies with production operations all over the United States, including Bethlehem Steel, Jones & Laughlin and Lone Star Steel. Those companies had 40 years of protection from steel imports, but that did not stop the decline of the industry.
But what the Steel industry and the Union wants and Congress is prepared to give is more protection from steel and other imports by making it easier to bring antidumping and countervailing duty cases and win them at Commerce and the ITC. The decision apparently is let’s simply build the protectionist walls higher. The scary point is that in many ways the US Steel industry and the Unions have an inordinate impact on US trade policy because of their power in the Democratic party.
But the crown jewels of US manufacturing are not the Steel Industry, but the US High Tech industry, which is among the most efficient in the World. As the Democratic opposition to the TPP indicates, many Democrats in Congress are willing to sacrifice the very successful new High Tech industry, which employs numerous workers, for the benefit of the much older and smaller US Steel industry when the total employment in the US Steel industry is less than one high tech company!
What is the answer to this import problem? Not more protection. Instead, I firmly believe the answer lies in the small program—the TAA for Companies (also called TAA for Firms or TAAF). This is a $12 million program, which helps small and medium size business (SMEs) and helps them adjust to import competition. The Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (“NWTAAC”), which I have been working with, has an 80% survival rate since 1984, which is certainly a much higher survival rate than US antidumping and countervailing duty cases. If you save the company, you save the jobs that go with the company and all the tax revenue paid into the Federal, State and Local governments. This is the Transformative Power of TAA for Companies. TAA for Companies does not cost the government money. It makes money for the government.
Recently, I have learned that sometimes larger companies through this program can obtain access to more funds to help them adjust and get out of Globalization /International Trade victimhood. The Congress supplies $450 million to retrain workers in the TAA for Workers program, but only $12 million to help the companies adjust. But if you save the company, you save the jobs that go with that company.
Moreover, the TAA video, http://mataac.org/howitworks/, describes one US company, which uses steel as an input, and was getting smashed by Chinese imports. After getting into the program, not only did the company become prosperous and profitable, it is now exporting products to China. This is the transformative power of TAA for Companies and the more important point of changing the mindset from Globalization/International Trade victimhood of US companies and workers so that they become internationally competitive in the World market.
All US antidumping and other trade cases can do is slow the decline in an industry. The only program that cures the disease is the TAA for Companies program . As Ronald Reagan predicted in his attached 1986 speech, BETTER COPY REAGAN IT SPEECH, the problem with antidumping and countervailing duty cases is that they do not work and they invite retaliation:
Sometimes foreign governments adopt unfair tariffs or quotas and subsidize their own industries or take other actions that give firms an unfair competitive edge over our own businesses. On those occasions, it’s been very important for the United States to respond effectively, and our administration hasn’t hesitated to act quickly and decisively. . . .
But I think you all know the inherent danger here. A foreign government raises an unfair barrier; the United States Government is forced to respond. Then the foreign government retaliates; then we respond, and so on. The pattern is exactly the one you see in those pie fights in the old Hollywood comedies: Everything and everybody just gets messier and messier. The difference here is that it’s not funny. It’s tragic. Protectionism becomes destructionism; it costs jobs.
Blaming international trade and other countries and bringing trade case does not solve the business problems of these companies. All the trade cases do is slow the decline and prolong the agony, because the company and the workers have not changed their mindset.
One Economic Development Council here in Washington State has the motto Compete Every Day, with Every One in Every Country Forever. That is the type of mindset that turns companies around. That is the type of mindset TAA for Companies promotes, not US Antidumping and Countervailing Duty laws.
IMPORT ALLIANCE FOR AMERICA
This is also why the Import Alliance for America is so important for US importers and US end user companies. The real targets of antidumping and countervailing duty laws are not Chinese companies. The real targets are US companies, which import products into the United States from China and use raw materials in downstream production process.
There are approximately 130 antidumping and countervailing duty orders against various products from China, but approximately 80 of the orders cover raw material inputs, such as chemicals, metals and steel, which are used in downstream production. Through these orders we spread the Globalization victimhood disease affecting the upstream industry to the higher value added, higher profit downstream industries because the downstream companies cannot compete with Chinese and other foreign companies that have access to the lower cost raw materials.
As mentioned in prior newsletters, we are working with APCO, a well-known lobbying/government relations firm in Washington DC, on establishing a US importers/end users lobbying coalition to lobby against the expansion of US China Trade War and the antidumping and countervailing duty laws against China for the benefit of US companies.
On September 18, 2013, ten US Importers agreed to form the Import Alliance for America. The objective of the Coalition will be to educate the US Congress and Administration on the damaging effects of the US China trade war, especially US antidumping and countervailing duty laws, on US importers and US downstream industries.
See the Import Alliance website at http://www.importallianceforamerica.com.
We will be targeting two major issues—working for market economy treatment for China in 2016 as provided in the US China WTO Agreement for the benefit of importers and downstream companies and working against retroactive liability for US importers. The United States is the only country that has retroactive liability for its importers in antidumping and countervailing duty cases.
On November 17 and 18, 2015, importers in the Alliance will be meeting Congressmen and Congressional Trade Staff in Washington DC to discuss these issues. See the attached announcement. FINAL IAFA_November2015_Flyer The Alliance welcomes all US importers and downstream companies, If you are interested in this effort, please feel free to contact the Import Alliance or myself directly.
IMPRESSIONS OF CHINESE PRESIDENT XI’S TRIP TO THE US—VIEWS FROM BEIJING
During most of September I was in China, and in Beijing during the key week of September 21 to 26th. Watching the US press and listening to US politicians in Washington DC during President Xi’s visit as compared to the Press in China was like watching people on different planets. In the United States, news outlets and politicians were very bellicose, very cynical, and expecting China simply to trick the US and out negotiate them. Shades of Donald Trump. In direct and distinct contrast, China was having a love fest with the United States.
In the United States, especially before and after the Washington DC trip, commentators and newspapers attacked China on cyber-hacking, currency manipulation, foreign policy and every other rock that could be thrown at China.
During that same week that President Xi was in China, Chinese speaking television was running a TV series to every day Chinese, somewhat like Roots, entitled Life and Death Commitment. The series was about how during the War against Japan, which became the Second World War, 100s if not 1,000s of Chinese peasants gave their lives to protect a specific American Flying Tiger pilot that had been shot down. The series showed entire villages and families executed by the Japanese for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of the American pilot. What made the series so powerful is that it is based on a true story.
I realized how powerful an impact this series was having on Chinese people because on Friday September 25th while climbing a mountain at the Red Snail Temple outside Beijing with a Group of Chinese, at a pavilion we ran into a Chinese peasant looking for plastic bottles. He immediately asked the Chinese in my Group, where is the foreigner from. They answered United States and he got excited and said “Flying Tiger”.
As President Xi mentioned in his Seattle speech, China will not forget the sacrifice of American lives in World War 2 against Germany and Japan. Even before World War 2, however, there were many examples of the United States coming to the aide of China. In the early 1900s, the United States was the only foreign country to pay China back for money paid as reparations by the Chinese government as a result of the Boxer rebellion. The US used the Chinese reparations money to establish a famous Chinese university and hospital in Beijing and send Chinese to study in the US. In other words, based on history, the Chinese truly like Americans, and that is a fundamental reason and basis for future US/China cooperation.
In contrast, I was told by one Chinese that Russia and China simply use each other. There is no trust between China and Russia. In the early 1950, because Chairman Mao refused to follow the commands of Joseph Stalin, Russia pulled out of China, destroying all the instruction books to the machinery, rail cars and other products provided to China. That action plus the Great Leap Forward led to a famine in China in which millions died. Chinese do not forget.
In contrast to Washington DC, high tech companies and businessmen in Washington State were very welcoming to President Xi, listening to his every word, because for Washington State China is its largest export market with $20 billion in exports every year to China and that is not just Boeing airplanes.
US High tech companies are making billions in China selling their products and consumer technology to China. Qualcomm’s income was $10 billion with $5 billion coming from China. On the plane to China, I sat next to a Marketing official from a large high tech company that was selling touch screen products to China. He told me that he was on the plane to China every other week.
While in China, on the CCTV English channel I saw one US Administration official stating that we see the US China relationship is “too big to fail”. At least someone in the US government and Obama Administration understands the importance of the US China relationship. In the Bush Administration, Treasury Secretary Paulson stated that he believed the US China relationship was the most important economic relationship in the World.
During my trip to Beijing, Chinese English TV was following the President Xi trip closely putting specific emphasis on the dialogue between the United States. I became convinced that China truly believes in a Win Win situation for China and the United States and that is not just a slogan.
Before President Xi’s trip to China, one article featured a panda and Uncle Sam walking arm and arm together. On September 27, the Chinese Global Times reported on the front page:
China and the US have agreed to continue building a new model for major country relationship based on mutual cooperation. . . .Aside from agreeing to build a new model for major-country relationship, the two countries said they would maintain close communication and exchanges at all levels, further expand practical cooperation at bilateral, regional and global levels and manage differences to a constructive way to achieve new concrete results in Sino-US relations. . . .
Another article in the Global Times urged the United States to reciprocate China’s goodwill. But the cynicism of many in the US press and US politicians seemed to undercut much of the Chinese goodwill.
President Xi’s US trip started well in Seattle. On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at a speech in Seattle, Henry Kissinger introduced President Xi by stating that his vision of a Win Win scenario, which emphasizes the economic interdependence of China and the United States based on mutual interests and importance of the economic development of the other country was very important. Kissinger specifically stated that partnership between two potential advisories can replace antagonism between them.
As President Xi further indicated in his speech, he understands how important the US China relationship is and his government will do everything in their power to maintain it. President Xi specifically stated in Seattle:
. . . Washington is the leading state in U.S. exports to China and China is the No. 1 trading partner of the Port of Seattle. Washington and Seattle have become an important symbol of the friendship between Chinese and American people and the win-win cooperation between the two countries. As the Chinese saying goes, the fire burns high when everyone brings wood to it. It is the love and care and hard work of the national governments, local authorities, friendly organizations, and people from all walks of life in those countries that have made China-U.S. relations flourish. . . .
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends. Since the founding of the People’s Republic, especially since the beginning of reform and opening up, China has set out on an extraordinary journey. The Chinese of my generation have had some first-hand experience. Toward the end of the 1960s, when I was in my teens, I was sent from Beijing to work as a peasant in a small village, where I spent seven years. At that time, the villagers and I lived in earth caves and slept on earth beds. Life was very hard. There was no meat in our diet for months. . . .
At the spring festival earlier this year, I returned to the village. It was a different place now. I saw black top roads. Now living in houses with bricks and tiles, the villagers had Internet access. Elderly folks had basic old-age care, and all villagers had medical care coverage. Children were in school. Of course, meat was readily available. This made me kindly aware that the Chinese dream is, after all, a dream of the people.
We can fulfill the Chinese dream only when we link it with our people’s yearning for a better life.
What has happened in [my village] is but a microcosm of the progress China has made through reform and opening up. In a little more than three decades, we have turned China into the world’s second largest economy, lifted 1.3 billion people from a life of chronic shortage, and brought them initial prosperity and unprecedented rights and dignity.
This is not only a great change in the lives of the Chinese people, but also a huge step forward in human civilization, and China’s major contribution to world peace and development.
At the same time, we are civilly-aware that China is still the world’s largest developing country. Our per capita GDP is only two-thirds that of global average and one-seventh that of the United States, ranking around 80th in the world. By China’s own standard, we still have over 70 million people living under the poverty line. If measured by world bank standard, the number would be more than 200 million. . . .
During the past two years, I have been to many poor areas in China and visited many poor families. I wouldn’t forget the look in their eyes longing for distant, happy life.
I know that we must work still harder before all our people can live a better life. That explains why development remains China’s top priority. To anyone charged with the governance of China, their primary mission is to focus all the resources on improving people’s living standard and gradually achieve common prosperity. To this end, we have proposed the two centenary goals mentioned by Dr. Kissinger, namely to double the 2010 GDP and per capita income of the Chinese and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020 and to build a prosperous, strong, democratic … harmonious, modernist socialist country that realizes the great renew of the Chinese nation by the middle of the century.
Whatever we do now is aimed at fulfilling these goals. To succeed in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we must comprehensively deepen reform, advance the law-based governance, and apply strict … discipline. That is what our proposed 4-pronged strategy is all about. . . .
China’s economy will stay on a steady course with fairly fast growth. The Chinese economy is still operating within a proper range. It grew by 7 percent in the first half of this year, and this growth rate remains one of highest in world. It has not come by easily, given the complex and volatile situation in world economy. At present, all economies are facing difficulties, and our economy is also under downward pressure. But this is only a problem in the course of progress. It will take … steps to achieve stable growth, deepen reform, adjust structure, improve livelihood, and prevent risks while strengthening and innovating macro-regulation to keep the growth at medium-to-high rate.
Currently, China is continuing to move forward in this new type of industrialization, digitalization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization. With a high savings rate, a huge consumption potential, a hard working population, and a rising proportion of middle income people — now we have 300 million middle income earnings in China — China enjoys enormous space … to grow in terms of market size and potential. China will focus more on improving the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and accelerating the shift of growth model and adjustment in economic structure. I will lay greater emphasis on innovation and consumption-driven growth — in this way, we will solve the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development, and enable the Chinese economy to successfully transform itself and maintain strong momentum of growth.
Recent abnormal ups and downs in China’s stock market has caused wide concern. Stock prices fluctuating accordance with your inherent laws and it is the duty of the government to ensure an open, fair, and just market order and prevent massive panic from happening. This time, the Chinese government took steps to stabilize the market and contain panic in the stock market, and thus avoided the systemic risk. Mature markets in various countries have tried similar approaches. Now, China’s stock market has reached the phase of self-recovery, and self-adjustment.
On the 11th of August, China moved to improve its RMB central parity quotation mechanism, giving the market a greater role in determining the exchange rates. Our efforts have achieved initial success in correcting the exchange rate deviation. Given the economic and financial situation at home and abroad, there is no basis for continuous depreciation of the RMB. We will stick to the purpose of our reform to have the exchange rate decided by market supply and demand and allow the RMB to float both ways. We are against competitive depreciation or a currency war. We will not lower the RMB exchange rate to boost export. To develop the capital market and improve the market-based pricing of the RMB exchange, is the direction of our reform. This will not be changed by the recent fluctuation in the stock market.
The key to China’s development lies in reform. Our reform is aimed at modernizing the country’s governance system, and governance capabilities so that the market can play a decisive role in the allocation of resources. The government can play a better role and there is faster progress in building the socialist market economy, democracy, advanced culture, harmonious society, and soundly environment. . . .
We have the results and guts to press ahead, and take reform forward. We will stick to the direction of market economy reform and continue to introduce bold and result-oriented reform measures concerning the market, taxation, finance, investment and financing, pricing, opening up, and people’s livelihood.
China will never close its open door to the outside world. Opening up is a basic state policy of China. Its policies that attract foreign investment will not change, nor will its pledge to protect legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in China, and to improve its services for foreign companies operating in China. We respect the international business norms and practice of non-discrimination, observe the …principle of national treatment commitment, treat all market players — including foreign-invested companies — fairly, and encourage transnational corporations to engage in all forms of cooperation with Chinese companies.
We will address legitimate concerns of foreign investors in timely fashion, protect their lawful rights and interests, and work hard to provide an open and transparent legal and policy environment, an efficient administrative environment, and a level playing field in the market, with a special focus on IPR protection so as to broaden the space of cooperation between China and the United States and other countries.
China will follow the basic strategy of the rule of law in governance. Law is the very foundation of governance. We will coordinate our efforts to promote the rule of law in governance and administration, for the building of the country, the government and society on solid basis of the rule of law, build greater trust in judicial system, and ensure that human rights are respected and effectively upheld. China will give fair treatment to foreign institutions and foreign companies in the country’s legislative, executive, and judicial practices. We are ready to discuss rule of law issues with the U.S. side in the spirit of mutual learning for common progress.
China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. It is also a victim of hacking. The Chinese government will not, in whatever form, engage in commercial thefts or encourage or support such attempts by anyone. Both commercial cyber theft and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with law and relevant international treaties. The international community should, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust, work together to build a peaceful, secure, open, and cooperative cyberspace. China is ready to set up a high-level joint dialogue mechanism with United States on fighting cyber crimes. . . .
China will continuing fighting corruption. As I once said, one has to be very strong if he wants to strike the iron. The blacksmith referred to here is the Chinese communist party. The fundamental aim of the party is to serve the people’s heart and soul. The party now has over 87 million members and unavoidably, it has problems of one kind or another. If we let these problems go unchecked we will risk losing the trust and support of the people. That is why we demand strict enforcement of party discipline as the top priority of governance. In our vigorous campaign against corruption, we have punished both tigers and flies —corrupt official — irrespective of ranking, in response to our people’s demand. This has nothing to do with power struggle. In this case, there is no House of Cards. . . .
China will keep to the path of peaceful development. We have just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people’s resistance against Japanese aggression and the world anti-fascist war.
An important lesson history teaches us is that peaceful development is the right path, while any attempt to seek domination or hegemony through force is against the historical trend and doomed to failure.
The Chinese recognized as early as 2,000 years ago that though a country is now strong, bellicosity will lead to its ruin. China’s defense policy is defensive in nature and its military strategy features active defense. Let me reiterate here that no matter how developed it could become, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.
To demonstrate our commitment to peaceful development, I announced not long ago that the size of China’s military will be cut by 300,000. China is ready to work with other countries to build a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at its core, replacing confrontation and domination with win-win cooperation and adopting a new thinking of building partnerships so as to jointly open a new vista of common development and shared security.
As far as the existing international system is concerned, China has been a participant, builder, and contributor. We stand firmly for the international order and system that is based on the purposes and principles of the UN charter. . . .
China has benefitted from the international community and development, and China has in turn made its contribution to global development. Our Belt and Road initiative, our establishment of the Silk Road fund, and our proposal to set up the AAIB, are all aimed at helping the common development of all countries, rather than seeking some kind of spheres of political influence. The Belt and Road initiative is open and inclusive; we welcome participation of the U.S. and other countries, and international organizations.
We have vigorously promoted economic integration in the Asia Pacific and the Free Trade area of the Asia Pacific in particular because we want to facilitate the shaping of a free, open, convenient, and dynamic space for development in the Asia Pacific. We … for an outlook of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security because we want to work with other countries in the region and the rest of the international community to maintain peace and security in the Asia Pacific.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends. In our Sunnylands meeting in 2013, President Obama and I reached the important agreement to jointly build a new model of major country relationship between the two countries.
This was a major strategic choice we made together on the basis of historical experience, our respective national conditions and the prevailing trend of world. Over past two years and more, the two sides have acted in accordance, with the agreement steadily moving forward by actual coordination and cooperation in various fields, and made important progress. We worked hand-in-hand to cope with aftermath of international financial crisis and promoted global economic recovery. We deepened pragmatic exchanges and cooperation in all fields, which brought about tangible benefits to the two people’s. Last year, actual trade, two-way investment stock, and total number of personnel exchanges all hit a record high. . . .
As an old Chinese saying goes, peaches and plums do not talk, yet a path is formed beneath them. These worthy fruits of cooperation across the Pacific Ocean speaks eloquently to the vitality and potential of China-U.S. relations.
This leads to the question: What shall we do to advance the new model of major country relationship between China and the U.S. from a new starting point and how we can work together to promote world peace and development. The answer is to stick to the right direction of such a new model of relationship and make gradual, solid progress.
An ancient Chinese said, after taking into account the past, the future, and the normal practices, a decision can be made.
A number of things are particularly important for our efforts. First, we must read each other’s strategic intentions correctly. Building a new model of major country relationship with the United States that features no confrontation, no conflicts, mutual respect and willing cooperation is the priority of China’s foreign policy. We want to deepen mutual understanding with the U.S. on each other’s strategic orientation and development path. We want to see more understanding and trust; less estrangement and suspicion in order to … misunderstanding and miscalculation.
We should strictly base our judgment on facts, lest we become victim to hearsay, paranoid, or self-imposed bias. … Should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.
Second, we must firmly advance win-win cooperation. Cooperation is the only right choice to bring about benefits, but cooperation requires mutual accommodation of each other’s interest and concerns, and the quest of the great common ground of converging interest. If China and the U.S. cooperate well, they can become a bedrock of global stability and a booster of world peace. Should they enter into conflict or confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large.
The areas where we should and can cooperate are very broad. For instance, we should help improve the global governance mechanism and work together to promote sustained growth of world economy and maintain stability in the global financial market.
We should conclude as soon as possible a balanced and high quality BIT, deepen the building of a new type of mill-to-mill relations, expand pragmatic cooperation on clean energy and environmental protection, strengthen exchanges in law enforcement, anti-corruption, health, and local affairs, and tap the corporation potential in infrastructural development. We should deepen communication and cooperation at the United Nations A-PEC, G-20, and other multi-electoral mechanisms, as well as our major international and regional issues and global challenges so as to make a bigger contribution to world peace, stability, and prosperity.
Third, we must manage our differences properly and effectively. As a Chinese saying goes, the sun and moon shine in different ways yet their brightness is just right for the day and night, respectively. It is precisely because of so many differences that the world has become such a diverse and colorful place, and that the need to broaden common ground and iron out differences has become so important. A perfect, pure world is non-existent, since disagreements are a reality people have to live with. China and the U.S. do not see eye to-eye on every issue and it is unavoidable that we may have different positions on some issues. What matters is how to manage the differences and what matters most is that we should respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, take a constructive approach to understanding … and spare no effort to turn differences into areas of cooperation.
Fourth, we must foster friendly sentiments among the peoples. People-to-people relations underpin state-to state relations. Though geographically far apart, our peoples boast a long history of friendly exchanges.
Some 230 years ago, Empress of China, a U.S. merchant ship, sailed across the vast oceans to the shores of China. Some 150 years ago, tens of thousands of Chinese workers joined their American counterparts in building the Transcontinental Pacific Railway. Some 30 years ago, China and the United States, as allies in World War II, fought shoulder-to-shoulder to defend world peace and justice. In that war, thousands of American soldiers laid down their precious lives for the just cause of the Chinese people.
We will never forget the moral support and invaluable assistance the American people gave to our just resistance against aggression and our struggle for freedom and independence. The Chinese people have always held American entrepreneurship and creativity in high regards. . . .
I believe it’s always important to make an effort to get deep a understanding of the cultures and civilizations that are different from our own. The Chinese character Ren, or people, is in a shape of two strokes supporting each other. The foundation of the China-U.S. friendship has its roots in the people and its future rests with the youth. . . .
Ladies and gentlemen. Dr. Kissinger wrote in his book, World Order, that, and I quote, each generation will be judged by whether the greatest and most consequential issues of the human condition have been faced.
And Martin Luther King said, ‘the time is always right to do the right thing. Today we have come once again to a historical juncture. Let us work together to bring about an even better future for China-U.S. relations and make an even greater contribution the happiness of our two people’s and well-being of the world.”
For the full text of President Xi’s speech, see http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/944177.shtml and http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2015xivisitus/2015-09/24/content_21964069.htm To see the entire speech, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9aQPvus8Tw.
After Seattle, President Xi flew to Washington DC. Although Washington State is not wallowing in international trade victimhood, Washington DC is not Washington State. Just as President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington DC, John Brinkley at Forbes illustrated the hard line on China stating:
Xi Jinping In Washington: No Glad Tidings From The East
WASHINGTON — It’s hard to recall a visit to Washington by a head of state that has aroused as much apprehension and preoccupation as that of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived here Thursday night.
Given the abundance of requests and demands that await him here, you might expect him to be wearing a red suit and a long white beard. But Xi has not come bearing gifts.
Issue No. 1 for the Obama administration is Chinese hacking.
China is the most prolific source of cyber-attacks against the U.S. government and business sector and it costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year, according to FBI Director James Comey. Xi has expressed a willingness to combat it, but he denies that his government has anything to do with it. He says China too is a victim of cyber-attacks.
Maybe so, but that’s like saying Microsoft is threatened by Atari.
Last Spring, Chinese hackers broke into the U.S. General Services Administration’s servers and stole Social Security numbers, fingerprints and other identifying data on about 4 million current and former government employees.
President Obama is incensed about this and is expected to read the riot act to Xi. Given the pervasiveness of the problem, though, even Xi’s best efforts are not going to solve it or even make a dent in it anytime soon.
China also leads the world in counterfeiting of consumer products and intellectual property theft. It accounts for 50% to 80% of all IP theft from the United States, according to the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
Since arriving in Seattle on Tuesday, Xi has been getting an earful about this and he’ll get more when he comes to Washington, D.C. . . .
China recently devalued its currency, the renminbi, against the dollar and that caused the American anti-trade camp to scream bloody murder. They said it was a blatant ploy to make Chinese exports to the U.S. cheaper and U.S. exports to China more expensive. A gazillion American jobs would be lost as a result.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. Xi said in a speech in Seattle on Tuesday that the renminbi had been devalued “in order to stabilize the market and contain panic in the stock market,” not to increase exports. “We are against competitive depreciation or a currency war,” he said. “We will not lower the RMB exchange rate to boost exports.” We should take him at his word.
China’s human rights performance continues to be deplorable, but Xi doesn’t seem willing to acknowledge this. His predecessors, when criticized about human rights violations, usually said: mind your own business. Xi’s rhetoric has not been much of an improvement. In Seattle, he said the government would “ensure that human rights are respected and effectively upheld.” Isn’t that comforting? . . . .
One might expect a meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies to produce some tangible outcomes. Don’t bet on it. More likely, they’ll say they had “frank and fruitful” discussions, made “good progress” (isn’t all progress good?), and agreed on “a way forward.”
Making measurable progress on cyber-attacks and intellectual property theft will take years, maybe decades.
Unlike other heads of state, Xi considers his country to be America’s equal. So, he won’t be cowing to Obama or expressing contrition.
On the bright side, Xi is hell-bent on stamping out corruption in his government. That might be a better reason for hope than anything that might transpire during his two days in Washington.
For full article, see http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbrinkley/2015/09/25/xi-jinping-in-washington-no-glad-tidings-from-the-east/.
The Brinkley Article was followed by strong US press attacks on the Cyber Agreement between the US and China. On September 26, 2015, the International New York Times in an Editorial stated as follows:
DOUBLE TALK FROM CHINA
The Xi government has a long way to go in protecting the rights of foreign companies and fighting cybercrime. . . .
Chinese officials are believed to be behind some of the .many cyberattacks against American companies and government agencies. Some of these hackers clearly work for the government and are stealing corporate secrets to help Chinese companies, American officials and cybersecurity experts say. Mr Xi’s government denies that it is involved in the attacks.
Aside from cybersecurity issues, the Xi government has also proposed regulations that could make it impossible for American technology companies to operate there. They would be forced to store data about Chinese customers in China and provide the Chinese government backdoor access to their systems and encrypted communications.
Mr. Xi and his officials need to realize that trade and investment has to be a two-way street. Many Chinese firms are trying to expand by acquiring companies, real estate and other assets in the United States and elsewhere. But if the Xi government continues to put up roadblocks to foreign companies, China cannot expect the-rest of the world to open its doors to more investment without reciprocity.
On September 27, 2015, the Wall Street Journal stated in an editorial:
The Obama-Xi Cyber Mirage
A digital arms deal that is full of promises but no enforcement.
Not long before Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington last week, the Obama Administration leaked that it might sanction Chinese companies and individuals for digitally plundering U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property. That followed an April executive order that declared “significant malicious cyber-enabled activities” to be a “national emergency” punishable by visa bans, asset freezes and other means.
“We’re not going to just stand by while these threats grow,” one Administration official told the Washington Post at the time. “If you think you can just hide behind borders and leap laws and carry out your activities, that’s just not going to be the case.”
Well, never mind. On Friday Presidents Xi and Obama announced a new cyber-agreement that is supposed to put the unpleasantness to rest. A White House fact sheet notes that both sides agreed that “neither country’s government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.”
Other steps include information exchanges; legal cooperation in investigating cybercrimes “in a manner consistent with their respective national laws”; a “high-level joint dialogue mechanism” with regularly scheduled meetings; a “hotline for the escalation of issues”; and a U.N.-influenced effort to “further identify and promote appropriate norms of state behavior in cyberspace.”
All of this is an elaborate way of saying that the two sides agreed to nothing. Though Mr. Obama hailed the deal for creating “architecture to govern behavior in cyberspace that is enforceable and clear,” it transparently is neither. Mr. Xi still insists that his government “does not engage in theft of commercial secrets in any form,” or encourage Chinese companies to do so, as he told The Wall Street Journal last week. So what’s the problem?
As for enforceability, the line about abiding by “respective national laws” gives the game away. In China the Communist Party is by definition above the law, as are the companies and entities it controls. If Mr. Xi won’t admit to the problem, his minions won’t either. Knowing this, U.S. officials will also be reluctant to disclose much of what they know about Chinese cyber-espionage abuses lest they compromise U.S. sources and methods.
All of this means the Chinese are unlikely to be deterred from engaging in the kind of cybertheft that has served them so well, such as the 2007 hack of one of the military contractors building the F-35 fighter jet, which allowed the Chinese to develop the copycat J-20 and J-31 stealth planes. Other victims of suspected Chinese cyberespionage include Canada’s once-giant Nortel Networks, which was driven into bankruptcy in 2009 partly due to the hacking, as well as media companies like Bloomberg and this newspaper.
The agreement gives Mr. Xi the opportunity to play the diplomatic games China has specialized in for years regarding the South China Sea, known to Beijing-watchers as “talk and take.” In the South China version, Beijing has become adept at negotiating endlessly with its Asian neighbors over disputed claims and codes of conduct—all while seizing control of disputed reefs, building islands, and interfering in maritime traffic. To adapt Clausewitz, diplomacy for the Chinese is the continuation of cyberespionage by other means.
The agreement also ignores China’s cyberassaults on U.S. government targets, such as last year’s mega-hack of the Office of Personnel Management. Washington may have good reasons not to codify principles that would prohibit the U.S. from responding to such an attack, but if so it would be good to know if the Administration is forgiving the OPM hack.
In his press conference with Mr. Xi, Mr. Obama said the U.S. would use sanctions and “whatever other tools we have in our tool kit to go after cybercriminals, either retrospectively or prospectively.” But nearly seven years into his Presidency, Mr. Obama isn’t famous for follow through.
The cyber accord looks like another case of Mr. Obama claiming an imaginary moral high ground that sounds tough but is likely to be unenforceable. Expect more digital theft until Beijing pays a price for it, presumably in a future U.S. Administration.
But on September 29, 2015, in response to specific questions from Senator Manchin in the Senate Armed Services Committee, James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified that China cyber- attacks to obtain information on weapon systems are not cyber- crime. It is cyber espionage, which the United States itself engages in. As Dr. Clapper stated both countries, including the United States, engage in cyber espionage and “we are pretty good at it.” Dr. Clapper went on to state that “people in glass houses” shouldn’t throw stones. See http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/15-09-29-united-states-cybersecurity-policy-and-threats at 1 hour 8 minutes to 10 minutes.
In response to a question from Senator Ayotte, Director Clapper also specifically admitted that the attack on OPM and theft of US government employee data is state espionage and not commercial activity, which the US also engages in. See above hearing at 1 hour 18 and 19 minutes. This illustrates the hypocrisy of much of the political attacks on China regarding cyber-attack on OPM, which are based on incorrect definitions as set down by the US government itself.
Senator McCain stated that he was astonished by Director Clapper’s statements. What is astonishing is the at Senior Senators, such as John McCain, which have engaged in relentless attacks on China, do not know the specific policy of the United States government.
During the same hearing, in response to questions from Senator Hirano of Hawaii, Administration officials stated that the Cyber Agreement with China will be very helpful if the Chinese government live up to it. As Senator Hirano stated, now we have an agreement between the US and China to talk about it. The officials stated that the Agreement is a confidence building measure because it requires annual meetings at the very high ministerial level between the United States and China at which the US Attorney General and Head of Homeland Security will participate. In other words, according to Administration officials this is a good first step.
What does this mean? It means that the US government never asked China for a comprehensive agreement to stop cyber hacking, because the US government is engaged in cyber espionage too and “we are pretty good at it. . . . People in glass houses…”. The US government may have already hacked the Chinese government and obtained all the personal information on their government workers. We simply do not and cannot know.
But more importantly, the US government did not request the Chinese government to agree to stop all cyber-attacks on the US government. What the US Government did demand on the threat of economic sanctions was for the Chinese government to stop cyber-attacks on commercial interests, including the theft of intellectual property. The Chinese government agreed, not only because of the threats of economic sanctions but also because they realize how important the US China economic/trade relationship is for China, the Chinese people and the entire World. This Agreement is not just a President Xi face saving gesture. The Chinese government and people understand how important the US China economic relationship is, even if many in the US Congress and US government do not understand the reality of the situation.
What did the Chinese government specifically agree to do on Cyber crime?
As the attached September 25, 2015 White House Fact Sheet Press related to President Xi’s visit,FACT SHEET_ President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to the United States _ whiteh , states:
FACT SHEET: President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to the United States
On September 24-25, 2015, President Barack Obama hosted President Xi Jinping of China for a State visit. The two heads of state exchanged views on a range of global, regional, and bilateral subjects. President Obama and President Xi agreed to work together to constructively manage our differences and decided to expand and deepen cooperation in the following areas: . . .
The United States and China agree that timely responses should be provided to requests for information and assistance concerning malicious cyber activities. Further, both sides agree to cooperate, in a manner consistent with their respective national laws and relevant international obligations, with requests to investigate cybercrimes, collect electronic
evidence, and mitigate malicious cyber activity emanating from their territory. Both sides also agree to provide updates on the status and results of those investigation to the other side, as appropriate.
o The United States and China agree that neither country’s government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.
o Both sides are committed to making common effort to further identify and promote appropriate norms of state behavior in cyberspace within the international community. The United States and China welcome the July 2015 report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of
International security, which addresses norms of behavior and other crucial issues for international security in cyberspace. The two sides also agree to create a senior experts group for further discussions on this topic.
o The United States and China agree to establish a high-level joint dialogue mechanism on fighting cybercrime and related issues. China will designate an official at the ministerial level to be the lead and the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Justice, and the State Internet and Information Office will participate in the dialogue. The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney General will co-chair the dialogue, with participation from representatives
from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Intelligence Community and other agencies, for the United States. This mechanism will be used to review the timeliness and quality of responses to requests for information and assistance with respect to malicious cyber activity of concern identified by either side. As part of this mechanism, both sides agree to establish a hotline for the escalation of issues that may arise in the course of responding to such requests. Finally, both sides agree that the first
meeting of this dialogue will be held by the end of 2015, and will occur twice per year thereafter.
The fact sheet lists other very important areas for further cooperation and discussion, including Nuclear Security, Strengthening Development Cooperation, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Food Security, Public Health and Global Health Security, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response. In addition, with regards to Strengthening Bilateral Relations, China and the United States agreed specifically with regard to Military Relations:
Building on the two Memoranda of Understanding on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) signed by the United States and China in November 2014, the two sides completed new annexes on air-to-air safety and crisis communications. The two sides committed to continue discussions on additional annexes to the Notification of Major Military Activities CBM, with the United States prioritizing completion of a mechanism for informing the other party of ballistic missile launches. The U.S. Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard have committed to pursue an arrangement whose intended purpose is equivalent to the Rules of Behavior Confidence Building Measure annex on surface-to-surface encounters in the November 2014 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Department of Defense and the People’s Republic of China Ministry of National Defense.
In other words, in distinct contrast to Russia, the Chinese government agreed to hold periodic high level meetings at the ministerial level to discuss cyber- crime and military issues with the United States. Does this sound like a country that wants to invade other countries and follow Vladimir Putin in a military expansion?
EXIM BANK MAY RISE FROM THE DEAD THROUGH AN EXTRAORDINARY MEASURE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
On October 9, 2015, Republican House Members took a drastic measure filing a discharge petition to fast-track the EX-Im Bank bill to the floor of the US House. The EX-Im Bank provides export financing and credit terms to help US companies export products to other countries. The help provided by the EX-Im Bank is mirrored by export financing and credit terms provided by numerous foreign countries, including the EC, Japan, Korea and China.
To save the Ex-Im Bank, 50 Republicans in the House joined with almost the entire Democratic Caucus to file the discharge petition. This rarely used procedural mechanism allows Representatives in the House to bypass both committees and the leadership to call up legislation signed by a majority of the House. This is procedural measure in the House that was last executed 13 years ago and only five times in the last eight decades.
Congressman Denny Heck of Washington State that led the charge on the Democratic side and is a member of the New Democratic Coalition stated, “This is a once-in-a-generation thing.”
Since 218 members signed the petition, that means a majority of Congressmen support the bill and it should pass on October 26.
Once the Bill passes the House, however, it still has to jump over hurdles in the Senate, which has no equivalent process to quickly force a vote in the upper chamber. Although some have speculated that the Senate will not bring up the bill because Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell does not personally support the bill, McConnell has also stated that he knows that a majority of the Senators that support the Ex-Im Bank have the votes to pass the bill. In fact, the passage of the TPA through the Senate happened only because Washington State Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell along with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham obtained an agreement from Mitch McConnell for a vote on the Senate floor on Ex-Im bank in exchange for their vote on TPA. Once bipartisan majorities are established in both the House and Senate, final passage should be only a matter of time.
The broader significance of the move is that dozens of House Republicans dared to try it at all and push back the conservative Republicans, who for purist free market ideological reasons have blocked the EX-Im bank.
The little-known lending agency has long supported U.S. jobs by helping companies find markets overseas, but conservatives have turned its demise into a rallying cry against corporate welfare. Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the Financial Services and Ohio Congressman, has made it a personal mission to kill the bank.
As the three Republican members that led the discharge movement, Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Chris Collins, R-N.Y., stated that they simply had no choice but to pursue the drastic parliamentary move:
“This Republican-led petition is a procedure to stand up to Washington’s broken system that is killing thousands of American jobs and jeopardizing thousands more. Our constituents expect us to fight for them and get the job done, but Congress has failed to even hold a vote to reform and reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.”
Republican and Democratic Representatives have been under intense pressure from business groups complaining that the expiration of the bank’s charter has resulted in job losses for companies big and small.
It is ironic that a Congressman from Ohio, which is hurting for manufacturing and other jobs, is the one leading the charge to stop the Ex-Im Bank, which will result in thousands of jobs leaving the United States.
Because of the failure to authorize the Ex-IM Bank and its U.S.-based export credit financing, General Electric Co. stated that it would be forced to move 500 turbine manufacturing jobs to China and Europe. The failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank may also explain Boeing’s recent announcement to assemble airplanes in Tianjin, China.
Ideological purity, just like protectionism, destroys jobs in the United States. Just because a Conservative minority with an ideological purity agenda decides the United States should not provide such export financing does not mean that the EC, China, India, Japan, Korea and other countries will make the same decision. A decision not to authorize the Ex-Im Bank simply makes the United States not competitive with other countries. Just as US companies must meet the challenges of global competition so must the United States Government.
WTO GIVES UNITED STATES DEADLINE TO SOLVE CVD PROBLEM IN MANY CASES AGAINST CHINA
On October 9, 2015, the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) gave the US government an April 1, 2016 deadline to comply with a WTO decision overturning 17 US countervailing duty determinations against China, including cases against Solar Cells and Solar Products, Wind Towers, Oil Country Tubular Goods, and other Steel cases. The Arbitrator specifically stated:
In the light of the … considerations relating to the quantitative and qualitative aspects of implementation in the present case, and the margin of flexibility available to the implementing member within its legal system, the arbitrator considers that the particular circumstances of this case justify a reasonable period of time for implementation close to the 15-month guideline.
The WTO overturned the Commerce Department CVD decisions on several grounds, but one of the more important was the decision/presumption that Chinese state-owned companies enterprises are “public bodies” under WTO rules. Therefore, according to Commerce, when a Chinese company purchases a raw material input from such state-owned company, by definition the product is subsidized. In contrast, the WTO ruled that the key criterion for evaluating public bodies is not state ownership but whether the entities in question have the authority to carry out governmental functions.
The WTO panel decision in its July 2014 decision found the US Commerce Department in violation of the Subsidies Agreement based on several different principles, including State-Owned Companies and the failure to consider benchmarks in China to value the subsidy. The US appealed, but the WTO Appellate Panel not only affirmed the panel report, but found many other problems with the Commerce Department determinations
On determining the time for Commerce to comply with the WTO determinations, the WTO arbitrator did not have much sympathy for the Commerce Department argument that it should be given more time to comply with the determination, stating:
It is to be recalled that the implementing member is expected to use all available flexibilities within its legal system to ensure ‘prompt compliance’ with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. Prioritizing these investigations reflects the exercise of a flexibility that is available to the USDOC and which it is expected to utilize.
THE ONGOING STEEL CASES
Many companies have been asking me about the ongoing Steel antidumping and countervailing duty cases so this section will address the Steel cases in more detail.
THE OCTG STEEL STORY — COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE OVERTURNS COMMERCE OCTG DETERMINATION AGAINST KOREA
One of the more interesting cases is the appeal of the Commerce Department’s determination against Korea in the Oil Country Tubular Goods (“OCTG”) case. The OCTG story starts with the US OCTG industry along with the union bringing an antidumping case against China. Since Commerce does not real use real numbers in China cases, it was easy to wipe out $4 billion in Chinese imports by using import statistics in India as surrogate values and coming up with rates ranging from 32 to almost 100%. The Chinese left the US market because of the artificial antidumping rates.
The US Steel Industry and the Union assumed that US companies would get the Chinese tonnage that was blocked by the Commerce Department order and, of course, that is not what happened. Instead, OCTG producers in Korea, India, Taiwan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Thailand and Turkey replaced the Chinese. Saying that this was unfair and accusing the other companies of dumping, in 2013 the US OCTG industry and Steel Union brought another round of antidumping and countervailing duty cases against these countries.
But since the countries are market economy countries, the Commerce Department had to use real prices and costs in the countries in question to determine whether dumping is taking place. So what were the Antidumping rates in the attached February 2014 preliminary determination fact sheet, OCTG PRELIMINARY AD DETERMINATION FACT SHEET, in the new round of OCTG cases—Korea 0%, India 0% for the company that cooperated, Philippines 8.9%, Saudi Arabia 2.92%, Taiwan 0 and 2.65%, Thailand 118% because they did not cooperate, Turkey 0% and 4.87%, Ukraine 5.31%, and Vietnam 9.57%.
The OCTG case against Korea, in particular, was a very difficult problem for the US Steel industry and Union because if the 0% Korean Preliminary Determination had remained, no antidumping order would be issued against Korean OCTG and they would have been free to continue shipping substantial quantities to the US market. Moreover, the Korean producers were the ones that took most of the Chinese market share.
In looking at these rates, however, one has to keep these cases in perspective. The first OCTG case against Korea was filed in 1983 to 1984. How do I know, because the first OCTG cases were my cases as a line attorney at the US International Trade Commission. The point is that market economy companies can use computer programs to run their prices and costs and make sure they are not dumping and “dump proof” the company. Since the Korean steel companies know that they will be targeted with these cases, this is just what they did.
This is not gaming the system. The Antidumping and Countervailing are unfair trade statues, and the companies simply eliminated their unfair acts.
As a result of the February 2014 preliminary determinations, predictably the US OCTG Industry and Union were outraged and went to Congress. On June 25, 2014 at a hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee, the most powerful trade committee in the US Congress, the Industry and Union screamed about unfairness. See http://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=e2227102-5056-a032-5262-9d177c5f753f Move the buffering slider to minute 41 when the hearing starts. There is a recess in the hearing so you need to move the buffering slider to 1 hour 47 minutes when the hearing resumes.
During the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senators called for aggressive trade enforcement in antidumping and countervailing duty cases, including Steel and in particular Oil Country Tubular Goods (“OCTG”), and against China. The Senators described the importance of the legislation they have introduced to stop transshipment and make sure that antidumping and countervailing duty laws are enforced.
The two most prominent witnesses at the Senate Finance Committee were Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers, and Mario Longhi, President of the United States Steel Corporation. Mr. Gerard proudly claimed at the hearing that the USW has brought antidumping and countervailing duty cases blocking billions of dollars in imports from China.
The hearing was stacked with US producers and a union complaining about China and other countries. No US importers were allowed to testify and present the other side of the argument. When Congress decides to listen to only one side of the trade argument, there is no fair and balanced portrayal of trade problems. The trade war simply gets worse and everyone loses.
At the hearing, Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers (“USW”), stated:
USW members and non-union workers alike know firsthand the pain inflicted by foreign predatory, protectionist and unfair trade practices. In industry after industry, they have seen other nations target the U.S. market to fuel their own economic policies, to create jobs for their people and capture the dollars of our consumers. These practices have increasingly resulted in the downsizing of manufacturing and the loss of good family supportive jobs, as companies have offshored and outsourced their production.
The USW has been as successful as it can be in its efforts to counter unfair trade, but it’s a losing game. Indeed, the only way we win is by losing. Lost profits, lost jobs, closed factories, hollowed out communities – that is the price the trade laws demand to show sufficient injury to provide relief. In the year or more it takes to bring a trade case and obtain relief, foreign companies can continue to flood the market. By the time that relief may be provided, the industry is often a shadow of its former self, too many workers have lost their jobs and their families and the communities in which they live have paid a heavy, and often irrevocable, price. . . .
First, as many of the Members of the Committee know, the USW is fighting to ensure that the Department of Commerce carefully review the facts in the Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) case in which they issued a preliminary finding that imports from South Korea would not be subject to dumping margins. We believe this preliminary finding is flawed. Indeed, Senators sent a letter to the Administration asking for a careful review and that effort was mirrored by more than one-third of the House joining in that call. . . .
The second issue, and a critical one, is the issue of currency manipulation. China is the worst culprit, but other nations are following their lead. China has been able to essentially subsidize its exports and tax imports into its market through currency cheating.
Mario Longhi, President, United States Steel Corporation, stated:
. . . . The approach and manner in which foreign companies are dumping thousands of tons of products into the U.S. market leads business leaders such as me to conclude that American steel companies are being targeted for elimination. . . .
Let me illustrate for you how this harm occurs. . . . A year ago, U. S. Steel and other domestic Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) producers filed a trade case against nine countries based on the enormous 113-percent increase of imported OCTG products into this market between 2010-2012. Primarily South Korean companies are the main violators, but companies from India, Vietnam, Turkey and several other countries also dump very significant volumes. . . .
China tried to do the same thing in 2008. We fought and won an OCTG dumping case in 2009, but not before many facilities were idled, thousands of steelworkers lost their jobs, and our communities and our families sustained significant and long-lasting injury.
After we won the case, Chinese producers essentially abandoned the U.S. OCTG market, a clear sign that they could not compete when the playing field was leveled.
As the American economy and our energy demands rebounded, American steel companies spent billions of dollars to improve OCTG facilities across the country. In the past 5 years, U. S. Steel spent more than $2.1 billion across our facilities, $200 million on new facilities at our Lorain Tubular Operations in the last two years alone. However, the respite for the OCTG industry from illegally dumped products was short-lived. Foreign producers quickly seized this opportunity and began flooding our market.
The only difference between 2009 and today is that South Korean and other foreign OCTG producers are cleverer. South Korean companies are effectively targeting our market since they do not sell this product in their own home market or (in substantial volumes) to other nation. Over 98% of what is produced in South Korea is exported directly to the U.S.
Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce issued disappointing preliminary findings that failed to recognize and punish illegally dumped South Korean products. After decades of dumping practice, it appears that these companies have learned to circumvent our trade laws and illegally dump massive amounts of steel products in this market with ease and agility.
So it is not surprising that in advance of the impending final decision by the Department of Commerce, last month, the total OCTG imports hit a high of 431,866 net tons, a 77.4% percent change year/year. The South Koreans exported to the U.S. nearly 214,000 net tons of OCTG in May, an increase from the monthly average of 27,000 net tons in the prior 12 months. They are trying to dump as much product as they can before the final ruling.
The South Korean gamesmanship of our system of laws is disquieting. Their efforts are unchecked and repugnantly effective. . . .
So with enormous Congressional pressure on Commerce, in the final determination the rates for the Korean companies went to 9 to 15%. The only problem for US Steel and the Unions is that Commerce Department determinations can be appealed to the Court of International Trade. It is now clear that the only one who gamed the US trade laws was US Steel itself.
In the attached final determination, factsheet-multiple-octg-ad-cvd-final-071114, to push Korean antidumping rate up, instead of using the actual lower profit rates for Korean OCTG producers and Korean sales of other comparable steel products of about 5 to 6%, which Commerce used in the preliminary determination, Commerce used a 26.11% profit for Tenaris, SA (Tenaris), an Argentinian global producer and seller of OCTG, as described in a research paper prepared by a student at the University of Iowa School of Management. Sounds reasonable right?
On September 2, 2015, in the attached Hu Steel v. United States and US Steel et al., CIT KOREA OCTG, Judge Restani in the Court of International Trade reversed the Commerce Department’s determination in the OCTG from Korea case. Judge Restani first noted:
When using constructed value to calculate the normal value, the constructed value is to include “the actual amounts incurred and realized by the specific exporter or producer being examined . . . for selling, general, and administrative expenses, and for profits, in connection with the production and sale of a foreign like product, in the ordinary course of trade, for consumption in the foreign country.” 19 U.S.C. § 1677b(e)(2)(A). If such data is unavailable, however, Commerce must resort to one of three alternatives for calculating an appropriate amount for selling, general, and administrative expenses, and profits:
(i) the actual amounts incurred and realized by the specific exporter or producer being examined in the investigation or review for selling, general, and administrative expenses, and for profits, in connection with the production and sale, for consumption in the foreign country, of merchandise that is in the same general category of products as the subject merchandise,
(ii) the weighted average of the actual amounts incurred and realized by exporters or producers that are subject to the investigation or review (other than the exporter or producer described in clause (i)) for selling, general, and administrative expenses, and for profits, in connection with the production and sale of a foreign like product, in the ordinary course of trade, for consumption in the foreign country,
(iii) the amounts incurred and realized for selling, general, and administrative expenses, and for profits, based on any other reasonable method, except that the amount allowed for profit may not exceed the amount normally realized by exporters or producers (other than the exporter or producer described in clause (i)) in connection with the sale, for consumption in the foreign country, of merchandise that is in the same general category of products as the subject merchandise, [i.e., what is commonly referred to as the “profit cap.”] . . . .
For the Preliminary Determination, Commerce considered three possible options for CV profit: . . . “[(1)] the 5.3% profit reflected in the audited financial statements for seven Korean OCTG producers, [(2)] the profit earned by HYSCO on its home market sales of non-OCTG pipe products, and [(3)] the 26.11% profit for Tenaris, SA (Tenaris), an Argentinian global producer and seller of OCTG,” as described in a research paper prepared by a student at the University of Iowa School of Management.
The Court noted that the domestic industry’s petition itself used a profit number of 7.19 and 7.22%
Judge Restani went to state that US Steel, in effect, gamed the system because it submitted the Tenaris number in the Iowa Student study after the preliminary determination during the final investigation in such a way that the Korean producers could not provide alternative evidence to rebut the Tenaris number:
In conclusion, the court determines that this was not a simple technical violation that can be overlooked, but rather plaintiffs were substantially prejudiced by Commerce’s acceptance and use of U.S. Steel’s untimely submitted new factual information. On remand, Commerce may simply remove this information from the record and reconsider its CV profit determination based on the information that was submitted in accordance with the regulatory deadlines.
Alternatively, Commerce must determine if and how, at this late date, the prejudice caused by accepting the Tenaris financial statement in violation of the regulations can be rectified.
In a footnote, Judge Restani also stated:
Moreover, this appears to be the first time that Commerce had relied upon a CV profit source that was not based on either production or sales in the home market. . . . The court recognizes that Commerce might have legitimate justifications for this departure, but it does not change the fact that Commerce used data that was submitted late to come to a conclusion that was seemingly at odds with its prior practice, with the result being a large increase in the respondents’ dumping margins sufficient to support an order. This is a make or break issue and Commerce should do its utmost to be fair in such circumstances.
Finally Judge Restani also reversed the Commerce Department because it refused to consider the “Profit Cap” in the statute which limits the profit amount so as not to “exceed the amount normally realized by exporters or producers (other than the exporter or producer described in clause (i)) in connection with the sale, for consumption in the foreign country . . . .” Judge Restani stated:
Even when the record evidence is deficient for the purposes of calculating the profit cap, Commerce must attempt to calculate a profit cap based on the facts otherwise available, and it may dispense with the profit cap entirely only if it provides an adequate explanation as to why the available data would render any cap based on facts available unrepresentative or inaccurate.
The use of an appropriate profit cap seems especially important in this case. The goal in calculating CV profit is to approximate the home market profit experience of the respondents. . . . The profit data imbedded in Tenaris’s financial statement does not appear to be based on any sales or production in Korea. It therefore appears to be a relatively poor surrogate for the home market experience. Additionally, record evidence suggests that Tenaris is a massive producer of OCTG with production and associated services around the world. . . . Record evidence also suggests that Tenaris’s profits are among the highest in the world and that this profit figure is due in large part to Tenaris’s sales of unique, high-end OCTG products and global services. . . .
The Korean producers, on the other hand, appear to be rather modest in comparison, both in the size of their operations and in the products and services they offer. . . . As Commerce recognized in the preamble to its own regulations, “the sales used as the basis for CV profit should not lead to irrational or unrepresentative results.” . . . It appears that dispensing with the profit cap requirement entirely in this case could run the risk that the CV profit rate will be unrepresentative of the respondents’ expected home market experience.
This case is a major defeat for the US Steel industry. We still have to wait and see what Commerce does on remand but if they do what they did in the original preliminary determination, the antidumping order will be lifted on OCTG from Korea.
WELDED LINE PIPE FROM KOREA AND TURKEY
On October , 2015, in the attached fact sheet, factsheet-multiple-welded-line-pipe-ad-cvd-final-100615, the Commerce Department announced the preliminary determination in Welded Line Pipe from Korea and Turkey. The Antidumping rates for the Korean companies range from 2.53% to 6.19%. The antidumping rates for Turkey range from 6 to 22.9%.
Commerce also terminated the Countervailing Duty investigation against Korea because it found the subsidies were de minimis.
COLD ROLLED STEEL PRODUCTS FROM BRAZIL, CHINA, INDIA, JAPAN, KOREA, RUSSIA AND UNITED KINGDOM
On September 10, 2015, the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a preliminary affirmative injury determination and now the case continues at the Commerce Department.
OTHER TRADE CASES AGAINST CHINA
On October 2, 2015, the Commerce Department issued the attached final determination in the 2013 to 2014 antidumping review investigation. Activated Carbon 13-14 AR Decision Memo Final Results AD AR 10-2-15 Activated Carbon 13-14 AR Final Results AD AR 10-5-15 The Antidumping Rates range from 0% to $1.05 a kilogram and increased because Commerce switched surrogate countries from Philippines to Thailand.
Although there are rumbles of possible negotiations of a US China agreement on Solar Cells and Solar Product, there is no concrete evidence of an actual agreement yet.
As stated before, the real victims of US China Trade War and Antidumping and Countervailing Duty cases are upstream and downstream US producers. Of the approximately 130 antidumping and countervailing duty orders against China, approximately 80 of them are raw material inputs, such as chemicals, metals and steel.
In the Solar Cells/Solar Products case, the real victims are the upstream producers, world class US producers of polysilicon, which goes into Chinese and other solar cells. Because, as President Reagan predicted, China reacted to the US Solar Cells/Solar Products cases by bringing their own case against $2 billion in US exports of polysilicon, major US producers, such Dow and REC Silicon, are in serious trouble.
On September 23, 2015, the Montana Standard reported that REC Silicon in Moses Lake, Washington may have to close its production facility:
REC Silicon — which has a production plant near Butte — could lay off 400 workers at its plant in Moses Lake, Washington, if a snarl over Chinese-imposed tariffs isn’t resolved soon.
It’s unclear exactly how the Moses Lake layoff would affect the Butte REC plant, which employs 260 full-time workers about five miles southwest of town. But a company spokeswoman said Moses Lake will “likely” suffer the majority of cuts, if it comes to that.
The potential cuts — and possible shut-down of the Moses Lake plant — are due to a four-year solar trade dispute between China and the United States.
In the Article, Francine Sullivan, REC counsel and vice president of legal and business development, stated:
There are no confirmed layoffs in Butte. “It’s not a shut-down notice, but if the trade case continues, we may be forced to close down Moses Lake. We haven’t made a final decision about Moses Lake. . . . putting the Moses Lake plant at risk because 80 percent of the plant’s polysilicon goes to customers in China.
Tore Torvund, REC Silicon CEO stated that they were looking for a US China Solar agreement every day:
We are at a critical juncture. We are looking at this every day. If we can’t get a resolution in the short term, we will be faced with this tough decision.”
Sullivan further stated:
It’s logical that most of the costs will come out of Moses Lake. We’ll look to do anything we can to keep the plant alive.
BOLTLESS STEEL SHELVING
On October 21, 2015, Commerce published in the Federal Register the attached antidumping and countervailing duty orders in the Boltless Steel Shelving Units from China case, STEEL SHELVING AD ORDER STEEL SHELVING CVD ORDER.
PET RESIN FROM CHINA
In the attached fact sheet, PET RESIN PRELIM CHINA, the Commerce Department issued a preliminary determination in Certain Polyethylene Terephthalate Resin from China and a number of other countries. Although the antidumping rates for the other countries were in the single digits, based on surrogate values from import statistics in Thailand, the Commerce Department found antidumping rates ranging from 125.12 to 145.94% for the Chinese companies.
In deciding to use Thailand as the surrogate country, Commerce looked at a list of the following potential surrogate countries: Bulgaria, Ecuador, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, and Ukraine.
OCTOBER ANTIDUMPING ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS
On October 1, 2015, Commerce published the attached Federal Register notice, OCT REVIEWS, regarding antidumping and countervailing duty cases for which reviews can be requested in the month of October. The specific antidumping cases against China are: Barium Carbonate, Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide, Helical Spring Lock Washers, Polyvinyl Alcohol, and Steel Wire Garment Hangers.
For those US import companies that imported Barium Carbonate, Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide, Helical Spring Lock Washers, Polyvinyl Alcohol, and Steel Wire Garment Hangers from China during the antidumping period October 1, 2014-September 30, 2015 or if this is the First Review Investigation, for imports imported after the Commerce Department preliminary determinations in the initial investigation, the end of this month is a very important deadline. Requests have to be filed at the Commerce Department by the Chinese suppliers, the US importers and US industry by the end of this month to participate in the administrative review.
This is a very important month for US importers because administrative reviews determine how much US importers actually owe in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty cases. Generally, the US industry will request a review of all Chinese companies. If a Chinese company does not respond in the Commerce Department’s Administrative Review, its antidumping and countervailing duty rate could well go to the highest level and for certain imports the US importer will be retroactively liable for the difference plus interest.
In my experience, many US importers do not realize the significance of the administrative review investigations. They think the antidumping and countervailing duty case is over because the initial investigation is over. Many importers are blindsided because their Chinese supplier did not respond in the administrative review, and the US importers find themselves liable for millions of dollars in retroactive liability. In the recent Solar Cells 2012-2013 final review determination, for example, the following Chinese companies were determined to no longer be eligible for a separate antidumping rate and to have the PRC antidumping rate of 238.95%:
(1) Shanghai Suntech; (2) Wuxi Sunshine; (3) Changzhou NESL Solartech Co., Ltd.; (4) CSG PVTech Co., Ltd.; (5) Era Solar Co., Ltd.; (6) Innovosolar; (7) Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd.; (8) Jiawei Solarchina Co., Ltd.; (9) Jinko Solar Co., Ltd.; (10) LDK Solar Hi-tech (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.; (11) Leye Photovoltaic Science Tech.; (12) Magi Solar Technology; (13) Ningbo ETDZ Holdings, Ltd.; (14) ReneSola; (15) Shanghai Machinery Complete Equipment (Group) Corp., Ltd.; (16) Shenglong PV-Tech; (17) Solarbest Energy-Tech (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd.; (18) Suzhou Shenglong PV–TECH Co., Ltd.; (19) Zhejiang Shuqimeng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.; (20) Zhejiang Xinshun Guangfu Science and Technology Co., Ltd.; (21) Zhejiang ZG-Cells Co., Ltd.; (22) Zhiheng Solar Inc.; and (23) LDK Hi-Tech (Nanchang Co., Ltd.
RUSSIA—US SANCTIONS AS A RESULT OF UKRAINE CRISIS
On July 30, 2015, OFAC issued an Advisory, entitled “Obfuscation of Critical Information in Financial and Trade Transactions Involving the Crimea Region of Ukraine,” to call attention to practices that have been used to circumvent or evade the Crimean sanctions. While billed as an “Advisory,” the agency’s release stands as a warning to the financial services and international trade sectors of their obligation to implement adequate controls to guard against such evasive practices and ensure compliance with their obligations under the Crimean sanctions.
On May 21, 2015, the Commerce Department filed changes to the export rules to allow unlicensed delivery of Internet technology to Crimea region of Ukraine, saying the change will allow the Crimean people to reclaim the narrative of daily life from their Russian occupants. Under a final rule, which is attached to my blog, www.uschinatradewar.com, individuals and companies may deliver source code and technology for “instant messaging, chat and email, social networking” and other programs to the region without first retaining a license from the federal government, according to Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
“Facilitating such Internet-based communication with the people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine is in the United States’ national security and foreign policy interests because it helps the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine communicate with the outside world.”
On September 3, 2014, I spoke in Vancouver Canada on the US Sanctions against Russia, which are substantial, at an event sponsored by Deloitte Tax Law and the Canadian, Eurasian and Russian Business Association (“CERBA”). Attached to my blog are copies of the PowerPoint or the speech and a description of our Russian/Ukrainian/Latvian Trade Practice for US importers and exporters. In addition, the blog describes the various sanctions in effect against Russia.
Pursuant to the OFAC regulations, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting transactions, dealings, or business with Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDNs). The blocked persons list can be found at http://sdnsearch.ofac.treas.gov/. See also: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/pages/ukraine.aspx . The list includes the Russian company, United Shipbuilding, and a number of Russian Banks, including Bank Rossiya, SMP Bank, Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank OAO, Russian Agricultural Bank, VEB, and VTB Bank. The “Sectoral Sanctions Identification List” (the “SSI List”) that identifies specific Russian persons and entities covered by these sectoral sanctions can be found at www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/pages/ssi_list.aspx.
The sanctions will eventually increase more with the Congressional passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which is attached to my blog, which President Obama signed into law on December 19, 2014. Although the law provides for additional sanctions if warranted, at the time of the signing, the White House stated:
“At this time, the Administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the Administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.”
The law provides additional military and economic assistance to Ukraine. According to the White House, instead of pursuing further sanctions under the law, the administration plans to continue collaborating with its allies to respond to developments in Ukraine and adjust its sanctions based on Russia’s actions. Apparently the Administration wants its sanctions to parallel those of the EU. As President Obama stated:
“We again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and implement the obligations it signed up to under the Minsk agreements.”
Russia, however responded in defiance with President Putin blasting the sanctions and a December 20th Russian ministry statement spoke of possible retaliation.
One day after signing this bill into law, the President issued an Executive Order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine” (the “Crimea-related Executive Order”). President Obama described the new sanctions in a letter issued by the White House as blocking:
New investments by U.S. persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine
Importation of goods, services, or technology into the United States from the Crimea region of Ukraine
Exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply of goods, services, or technology from the United States or by a U.S. person to the Crimea region of Ukraine
The facilitation of any such transactions.
The Crimea-related Executive Order also contains a complicated asset-blocking feature. Pursuant to this order, property and interests in property of any person may be blocked if determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, that the person is operating in Crimea or involved in other activity in Crimea.
The EU has also issued sanctions prohibiting imports of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, and providing financing or financial assistance, as well as insurance and reinsurance related to the import of such goods. In addition, the EU is blocking all foreign investment in Crimea or Sevastopol.
Thus any US, Canadian or EU party involved in commercial dealings with parties in Crimea or Sevastopol must undertake substantial due diligence to make sure that no regulations in the US or EU are being violated.
CUSTOMS, LACEY ACT VIOLATIONS AND PRODUCTS LIABILITY
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES THAT LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PLEADS GUILTY TO CUSTOMS AND LACEY ACT VIOLATIONS AND AGREES TO PAY MORE THAN $13 MILLION IN FINES
On October 22, 2015, the Justice Department announced that Lumber Liquidators has pled guilty to a felony conviction for import of illegal timber from China and agreed to pay at $13 million penalty, the largest fine ever under the Lacey Act. In the attached announcement, Lumber Liquidators Inc. Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crimes and Agrees to, the Justice Department states:
Virginia-based hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. pleaded guilty today in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, to environmental crimes related to its illegal importation of hardwood flooring, much of which was manufactured in China from timber that had been illegally logged in far eastern Russia, in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world. . . .
Lumber Liquidators was charged earlier this month in the Eastern District of Virginia with one felony count of importing goods through false statements and four misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act, which makes it a crime to import timber that was taken in violation of the laws of a foreign country and to transport falsely-labeled timber across international borders into the United States. The charges describe Lumber Liquidators’ use of timber that was illegally logged in Far East Russia, as well as false statements on Lacey Act declarations which obfuscated the true species and source of the timber. This is the first felony conviction related to the import or use of illegal timber and the largest criminal fine ever under the Lacey Act.
“Lumber Liquidators’ race to profit resulted in the plundering of forests and wildlife habitat that, if continued, could spell the end of the Siberian tiger,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Lumber Liquidators knew it had a duty to follow the law, and instead it flouted the letter and spirit of the Lacey Act, ignoring its own red flags that its products likely came from illegally harvested timber, all at the expense of law abiding competitors. Under this plea agreement, Lumber Liquidators will pay a multi-million dollar penalty, forfeit millions in assets, and must adhere to a rigorous compliance program. We hope this sends a strong message that we will not tolerate such abuses of U.S. laws that protect and preserve the world’s endangered plant and animal species.” . . .
“Companies knowingly accepting illegally sourced materials need to recognize there are far-reaching consequences to their actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Clark E. Settles of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. “In this case, in addition to violating U.S. customs law, Lumber Liquidators contributed to the potential eradication of an endangered species simply to increase profit margins.” . . . .
According to a joint statement of facts filed with the court, from 2010 to 2013, Lumber Liquidators repeatedly failed to follow its own internal procedures and failed to take action on self-identified “red flags.” Those red flags included imports from high risk countries, imports of high risk species, imports from suppliers who were unable to provide documentation of legal harvest and imports from suppliers who provided false information about their products. Despite internal warnings of risk and noncompliance, very little changed at Lumber Liquidators.
For example, Lumber Liquidators employees were aware that timber from the Russian Far East was considered, within the flooring industry and within Lumber Liquidators, to carry a high risk of being illegally sourced due to corruption and illegal harvesting in that remote region. Despite the risk of illegality, Lumber Liquidators increased its purchases from Chinese manufacturers using timber sourced in the Russian Far East. . . .
Under the plea agreement, Lumber Liquidators will pay $13.15 million, including $7.8 million in criminal fines, $969,175 in criminal forfeiture and more than $1.23 million in community service payments. Lumber Liquidators has also agreed to a five year term of organizational probation and mandatory implementation of a government-approved environmental compliance plan and independent audits. In addition, the company will pay more than $3.15 million in cash through a related civil forfeiture. The more than $13.15 million dollar penalty is the largest financial penalty for timber trafficking under the Lacey Act and one of the largest Lacey Act penalties ever.
IP/PATENT AND 337 CASES
NEW PATENT AND TRADEMARK COMPLAINTS AGAINST CHINESE, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN COMPANIES
On August 21, 2015, Lusida Rubber Products, Inc. filed the attached trade secret unfair competition case against Point Industrial, LLC, Zu Guo 16 (Michael) Xu, Wei Wei (Jackie). Lusida Shanghai complaint
On August 28, 2015, Willis Electric Co., Ltd. filed the attached patent case against Polygroup Limited (Macao Commercial Offshore), Polygroup Macau Limited (BVI), and Polytree (H.K.) Co. Ltd. POLYGROUP
On September 8, 2015, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., and Valve Corporation filed the attached copyright case against Lilith Games (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., uCool, Inc., and uCool Ltd. BLIZZARD COPYRIGHT
On September 11, 2015, Segway Inc., Deka Products Limited Partnership and Ninebot (Tianjin_ filed the attached patent complaint against Inventist, Inc. Segway v Inventist complaint
There have been developments in the antitrust area.
CHINA ANTI-MONOPOLY CASES
T&D JANUARY REPORT
In September and October T&D also sent us their attached August and September reports on Chinese competition law, T&D Monthly Antitrust Report of August 2015 TD Monthly Antitrust Report of September 2015.
Securities Update October 2015
Recent Developments in Chinese Reverse Mergers and Corporate Governance
A decade after the heyday of “reverse mergers” of Chinese companies who entered the U.S. securities market through U.S. registered companies, some of these deals are beginning to unravel. There are recent federal enforcement actions and prosecution of some key persons who arranged such deals. The U.S. government alleges that the participants violated U.S. securities law by engaging in practices that misrepresented the actual value of the company’s stocks and personally profiting from such practices.
On September 10, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced criminal charges against Benjamin Wey, a New York-based financier. Wey gained a reputation for orchestrating reverse mergers of Chinese companies with publicly traded companies in the United States in order to sell securities in the United States. The charges against Wey include wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Wey allegedly conspired with family members and a Swiss stock broker to control large blocks of stocks in companies that he helped to engage in reverse mergers from 2007 to 2011. He allegedly manipulated the prices of those stocks in order to sell his shares at a significant profit. U.S. federal agents arrested Wey during a dawn raid on his home, and he posted bail for $10 million, secured in part by his $2 million house.
Also on September 10, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order against Shawn A. Becker, an unlicensed broker who participated in the reverse merger of several Chinese firms (China Auto Logistics Inc., Guanwei Recycling Corp., and Kandi Technologies Corp.). These companies entered the U.S. securities market through an engineered acquisition of a U.S. shell company. Becker allegedly drove up the closing price of the company’s unregistered stocks (a practice called, “marking the close”), in order to induce investors to purchase the stocks from 2009 to 2012.
Becker allegedly profited from the arrangement by taking commission from the sales of the pink-sheet stocks, while the principals of the shell company profited by offloading their shares in the company. Under the terms of Becker’s settlement and the S.E.C. order, he is barred from participating in brokerage activities. In order to apply to engage in brokerage services, he would first need to disgorge profits and satisfy any arbitral awards against him as a result of his activities.
There are also developments involving allegations of corporate misgovernance by some companies. On September 30, 2015, Focus Media of Shanghai, a major Chinese digital display advertising company, agreed to a $55.6 million settlement with the SEC. The U.S. government alleges that Focus Media failed to disclose the fact that the company sold shares in a subsidiary to company insiders at a favorable price several months before they resold these shares to a private equity firm at six times the previous price. The investigation allegedly uncovered deficiencies in the company’s books and records for documentation regarding these transactions. It appears that the circumstances of the transactions may not have been properly disclosed to the company’s board of directors. SEC thus accused Focus Media and its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Jiang, with providing materially inaccurate information to the board of directors regarding the transactions and with failure to maintain books and records as required by securities law. Focus Media agreed to pay $34.6 million in penalties. Jiang agreed to pay $21 million in penalties, disgorgement of profits, and pre-judgment interest. The SEC order further notes that Jiang’s liability is a personal debt that is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Like Focus Media, some other companies also face accusations that they did not properly maintain books and records. In a recently filed case in the Delaware Court of Chancery, stockholders allege that China Integrated Energy, a Delaware company that registered its common stock with the SEC in 1999, has failed to make required annual and periodic financial disclosures for the years 2012 through 2015. In 2014, the company filed an annual Form 10-K statement that disclosed the fact that the company’s shares fell from $8.30 per share in 2010 to $0.80 per share in 2011. The plaintiffs seek access to the company’s books and records under Delaware law.
These developments involving Chinese companies in the United States come at a time of increasing regulatory scrutiny of the securities market in China. Because of the recent upheavals in stock prices in China, the Chinese government directly intervened in the markets by prohibiting the sales of stocks by major shareholders who hold more than 5% of common stock in companies for a period of six months. The China Securities Regulatory Commission recently announced eight penalty cases against persons who violated that order, totaling RMB 22 million (U.S. $4.5 million) in fines.
FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
Recently, Dorsey& Whitney LLP issued its attached September 2015 Anti-Corruption Digest,AntiCorruptionDigestSept2015. The Digest states with regards to China:
Continental, the German supplier of automobile parts, is reported to have replaced its tire sales management team in China due to allegations of corruption. The new management, which has been in charge since July, is said not to be commenting on the matter while the investigation is in process.
The matter reportedly involves allegations that members of the previous management team gained financial benefits on a personal level through business deals conducted by the company. Further reports state that the extent to which the former employees allegedly enriched themselves is currently unknown.
On September 29, 2015, Malcolm Cork, Vision Capital Advantage Fund LP, et al filed the attached complaint against China Integrated Energy, Inc. in Delaware Court alleging that the company had failed to make required annual and periodic financial disclosures for the years 2012 through 2015. DELAWARE COMPLAINT CHINA ENERGY
On October 5, 2015, Gary Buelow filed the attached partial class action securities case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Jack Ma and a number of banks and securities companies. BUELOWSMA
On October 9, 2015, Guangyi Xu filed the attached class action securities case against China Cache International Holdings Ltd., Song Wang, Jing An, and Ken Vincent Qingshi Zhang. CHINA CACHE CASE
On October 21, 2015 Rustem Nurlybayev filed the attached partial class action securities case against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Jack Ma and a number of banks and security companies. RUSTEMSMALL
If you have any questions about these cases or about the US trade, trade adjustment assistance, customs, 337, patent, US/China antitrust or securities law in general, please feel free to contact me.
 B. Van Voris, “New York Global Group’s Wey Charged in Reverse-Merger Fraud,” Bloomberg Business, Sept. 10, 2015, available at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-10/new-york-global-group-founder-charged-with-securities-fraud.
 In the Matter of Shawn A. Becker, No. 3-16805 (S.E.C. Sept. 10, 2015), available at http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2015/34-75891.pdf.
 A. Wolf, “Ex-Stock Broker Sanctioned Over Reverse Merger Scheme,” Law360, Sept. 10, 2015, available at http://www.law360.com/articles/701620/print?section=securities.
 E. Beeson, “China’s Focus Media, CEO Settle With SEC For $55.6M,” Law360, Sept. 30, 2015, available at http://www.law360.com/articles/709353/print?section=securities; see In the Matter of Focus Media Holdings, Ltd., No. 3-16852 (S.E.C. Sept. 30, 2015), available at http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2015/33-9933.pdf.
 Verified Complaint, Cork v. China Integrated Energy, Inc. (Del. Ch. Ct. Sept. 29, 2015).
 A. Rubeinstein, “China Imposes $4.5M In Fines In Illegal Trading Crackdown,” Law360, Sept. 30, 2015, available at http://www.law360.com/articles/709035/print?section=securities.