“PROTECTIONISM BECOMES DESTRUCTIONISM; IT COSTS JOBS”
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, JUNE 28, 1986
US CHINA TRADE WAR MAY 19, 2016 UPDATE
The ITC has released its report on the Trans Pacific Partnership and a new 337 cases have been filed against US importers and Chinese companies on inflatable devices.
ITC RELEASES TPP REPORT
On May 18, 2016, The US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) released its attached report on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”), ITC TPP REPORT. The Main Findings of the ITC Report are set forth below. The Report was a mixed bag finding that the overall US economy would grow by 0.23% by $57.23 billion by year 15 of the Agreement (2032) with agriculture being the biggest winner followed by services with a modest increase in employment. But the ITC report also found that manufacturing, natural resources and the energy sectors would lose business by $10.8 billion (0.1 percent) lower with the TPP Agreement than it would be compared with baseline estimates without the agreement.
But the major gains with the TPP are in the other areas with the ITC finding that “the two new electronic commerce provisions that protect cross-border data flows and prohibit data localization requirements to be crucial to the development of cross-border trade in services. . . .”
Outside Parties emphasized:
“the importance of TPP chapters addressing intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, investment, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and state-owned enterprises.”
With the release of the ITC TPP Report, the Congress is free to take up the passage of the TPP. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman stated that the ITC’s report will be just one of the arguments the Administration will use to push Congress to vote on the ratification of the agreement before President Barack Obama leaves office. Froman specifically stated:
“The ITC report provides another strong argument for why TPP should be passed this year. It is part of a growing body of evidence that shows that TPP will benefit our economy at home and allow the U.S. to help set the rules of the road for trade in the Asia Pacific.”
Although Congressional experts originally indicated a possibility of taking the TPP up during the summer, the strong protectionist tide in the Presidential Election has prompted many experts both in and out of Congress to predict that the lame-duck session of Congress following the November elections as the first real opportunity for Congress to consider the TPP.
In a conference call with reporters, however, Froman revealed that USTR is moving forward with an expedited implementation of the TPP to make sure that the 11 other nations in the agreement are ready to comply with its terms as soon as the Agreement takes effect. Usually the implementation process does not begin until the deal is ratified, but as USTR Froman states:
“We’ve begun an accelerated implementation process to be sure that we can give members of Congress the confidence they need that by the time the agreement enters into force that our trading partners will have fully complied with the terms of the agreement and that their constituents will get the full benefit of the deal.”
The ITC’s Report Main Findings are:
“The Commission used a dynamic computable general equilibrium model to determine the impact of TPP relative to a baseline projection that does not include TPP. The model estimated that TPP would have positive effects, albeit small as a percentage of the overall size of the U.S. economy. By year 15 (2032), U.S. annual real income would be $57.3 billion (0.23 percent) higher than the baseline projections, real GDP would be $42.7 billion (0.15 percent) higher, and employment would be 0.07 percent higher (128,000 full-time equivalents). U.S. exports and U.S. imports would be $27.2 billion (1.0 percent) and $48.9 billion (1.1 percent) higher, respectively, relative to baseline projections. U.S. exports to new FTA partners would grow by $34.6 billion (18.7 percent); U.S. imports from those countries would grow by $23.4 billion (10.4 percent).
Among broad sectors of the U.S. economy, agriculture and food would see the greatest percentage gain relative to the baseline projections; output would be $10.0 billion, or 0.5 percent, higher by year 15. The services sector would benefit, with a gain of $42.3 billion (0.1 percent) in output. Output in manufacturing, natural resources, and energy would be $10.8 billion (0.1 percent) lower with the TPP Agreement than it would be compared with baseline estimates without the agreement.
Many stakeholders consider two new electronic commerce provisions that protect cross-border data flows and prohibit data localization requirements to be crucial to the development of cross-border trade in services, and vital to optimizing the global operations of large and small U.S. companies in all sectors.
TPP would generally establish trade-related disciplines that strengthen and harmonize regulations, increase certainty, and decrease trade costs for firms that trade and invest in the TPP region. Interested parties particularly emphasized the importance of TPP chapters addressing intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, investment, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and state-owned enterprises.
NEW SECTION 337 CASE FILED AGAINST CHINA
On May 19, 2016, Intex Recreation Corp. and Intex Marketing Ltd. filed a new section 337 case against imports of Inflatable Products and Processes for Making the Same from China. The respondent companies are in China and Hong Kong. Please see relevant notice below:
Letter to Lisa R. Barton, Secretary, USITC; requesting that the Commission conduct an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, regarding Certain Inflatable Products and Processes for Making the Same. The proposed respondents are: Bestway (USA) Inc., Phoenix, Arizona; Bestway Global Holdings Inc., China; Bestway (Hong Kong) International Ltd., Hong Kong; Bestway Inflatables & Materials Corporation, China; and Bestway (Nantong) Recreation Corp., China.
If anyone wants a copy of the complaint, please feel free to contact me.
US CHINA TRADE WAR MAY 12, 2016 BLOG POST
As mentioned in my last blog post, as of May 1, 2016, I am no longer at the Dorsey law firm. The transition is complete and my new law firm is Harris Moure, here in Seattle and my new e-mail address is email@example.com. The US China Trade War blog and newsletter are now coming from Harris Moure.
As also mentioned, Dan Harris, my partner, has a very famous blog, www.chinalawblog.com, which is followed by many companies that are interested in doing business in and with China. Dan is determined to enlarge my readership so he is pushing me to write more smaller articles and take long articles, such as those on the TPP and the rise of protectionism in the US, and make them a series.
In that light, set forth below is the first of a several part series on how weak free trade arguments have led to the sharp rise of protectionism of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and the probable demise of the TPP. The first article will outline the problem and why this is such a sharp attack on the Trans Pacific Partnership and some of the visceral arguments against free trade. The second article will explore in depth the protectionist arguments and the reason for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and the weak free trade arguments to counter the protectionism. The final article will focus on the Probable Demise of the TPP, failure of Congressional Trade Policy and what can be done to provide the safety net that will allow Congress again to vote for free trade agreements so that the United States can return to its leadership in the Free Trade area.
The Congress has to fix the trade situation now before the US and the World return to the Smoot Hawley protectionism of the 1930s.
In addition, set forth are several developments involving steel trade litigation, antidumping and countervailing duty reviews against Chinese companies and a new 337 patent case against Chinese companies.
WEAK FREE TRADE ARGUMENTS CREATE THE RISE OF TRUMP/SANDERS PROTECTIONISM AND PROBABLE DEMISE OF TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (“TPP”)
Three weeks ago former Democratic Congressman Don Bonker, a good friend, told me “The TPP is dead”. Don has always been very skeptical that the Trans Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) would pass Congress.
Don also believes Hilary Clinton will beat Trump in a landslide, and the Democrats will take both the Senate and the House. Although Clinton may win, I do not believe that it will be a blowout and do not believe the Republicans will lose both the Senate and especially the House.
Don told me he did not know one person voting for Trump. My 95 old mother voted for Trump in the Massachusetts primary because as a former Republican state committeewomen, she saw a groundswell of Trump support from Democrats, with many, such as her hairdresser, asking “how do I become a Republican to vote for Trump”. The last time she saw that was 1980 when Reagan won the Presidency and took Massachusetts. In fact, the Massachusetts Registry of Voters has reported 100s of thousands of Democrats switching parties to vote for Trump. Massachusetts is a very, very Blue Democratic state.
Another good friend, a Oregon factory owner, told me he is voting for Trump and all of his friends are voting for Trump. A recent Quinnipac poll has Trump and Clinton in a dead heat in the three crucial swing states—Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
This is momentum and the momentum at the present time is with Trump. With momentum Trump will be able to expand his base, but it is questionable whether Clinton can do so.
But it is the second point of Don’s argument that is of interest to this audience. If the Democrats take the Congress, he firmly believes the US will become much more protectionist because of the Democratic relationship to the labor unions. All the labor unions are opposed to the TPP.
So the Democrats are becoming even more protectionist as well as the Republicans under Donald Trump. This is a huge groundswell of US protectionism on both sides of the political equation, which could very well kill the TPP and move the United States down a very protectionist path.
On the Republican side, Trump himself has condemned the TPP and in Cosa Mesa, California and subsequent speeches stated that in a Trump Administration there will be no free trade agreements. In fact, in an April 28, 2016 editorial on Trump’s recent Foreign Policy speech, the Wall Street Journal’s one sharp disagreement with Trump is his trade policy:
“Mr. Trump’s threats of trade wars with China, Mexico and Japan may please nationalists, but such brinkmanship could well provoke another global recession. American interests must come first but the trade-offs are inevitably complex Republican and Democratic Presidents since the 1930s have concluded that trade is a net benefit to the economy. . . .”
In an April 27, 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How Trump Killed Reaganism”, William Galston states:
Economic issues were secondary, which permitted business-oriented Republican elites to dominate their party’s economic agenda with free trade, a welcoming immigration policy and efforts to “reform”—that is, cut—major entitlement programs. As late as George W. Bush’s second term, these concerns remained paramount.
With the onset of the Great Recession, however, the alliance between the white working class and business elites began to fray. Workers blamed trade for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, and blamed immigrants for declining wages as well as for rising welfare expenditures and social disorder. Amid rising economic uncertainty, these voters were in no mood to put their remaining sources of economic reassurance—Social Security and Medicare—on the chopping block. “Limited government” meant cutting programs for the undeserving poor, not for working- and middle-class households.
Enter Donald Trump, who proposes to turn Reaganism on its head. . . . Mr. Trump rejects current trade treaties as bad bargains struck by inept U.S. negotiators and paints immigration as an assault on American workers and society itself.
So it has come to this: A mercantilist isolationist is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination. Whether or not he goes on to win the general election, the Republican Party cannot return to what it once was.
The Reagan era has ended, and what comes next is anyone’s guess.
With the Indiana primary, Trump consolidated his position as the nominee for the Republican party, but what about Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side? He won the Indiana primary and recently the West Virginia primary. In response to my last article on the Trump Impact on Trade Policy, one Canadian exporter/US importer contacted me to say that Trump’s position on international trade is why it is better to support Senator Bernie Sanders:
I read your interview on LinkedIn about the Trump effect on International trade if he becomes President. It was short, and sweet and pretty well summed up most people’s feelings who are in business. We debate both him and Bernie Sanders up here in Canada and find it all fascinating. The people who are supporting Trump would actually be better served supporting Sanders for his beliefs, with his policies better serving the “less” educated. Trumps policies will bury his followers and they don’t seem to grasp it at all. Protectionism is SO PASSE it’s scary they are even discussing it.
The e-mail illustrates an important problem with the Bernie Sanders alternative. When it comes to international trade, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are two peas in a pod. Frankly, on trade Bernie Sanders may be more protectionist than Donald Trump. Why??
Trump has said that when he talks about high tariffs on Chinese imports, that is only a threat, a bargaining ploy to get better leverage in any negotiation with China and other countries. Thus during the Florida debate Donald Trump clarified his stance on increased tariffs for foreign goods, stating that he would consider massive hikes as “threats” designed to force China and other countries to “behave.”
In the Florida debate, Trump specifically called the 45 percent “tax” on Chinese imports a threat:
It was not a tax, it was a threat. It will be a tax if they don’t behave. Take China as an example. I have many friends, great manufacturers, they want to go into China. They can’t. China won’t let them. We talk about free trade. It’s not true free trade, it’s stupid trade.
Trump went on to state that China is dumping its goods into the US market with “no tax, no nothing, no problems.” Trump further argued that U.S. manufacturers cannot get into the Chinese market:
I have the best people, manufacturers, they can’t get in. When they get in, they have to pay a tremendous tax. If [China and other countries] don’t follow the rules and regulations so that we can have it equal on both sides, we will tax you. It doesn’t have to be 45, it could be less. But it has to be something because our country and our trade and our deals and most importantly our jobs are going to hell.
On the Democratic side, Bernie, who wants to keep labor union support, is not making threats. In fact, Bernie Sanders on trade is just as protectionist, if not more protectionist than Donald Trump as illustrated on his Presidential website, which states, in part:
Bernie Sanders believes that the top priority of any trade deal should be to help American workers. Unfortunately, as Bernie has warned year after year, American trade policy over the last 30 years has done just the opposite. Multinational corporations – who have helped to write most of these trade deals – have benefited greatly while millions of American jobs have been shipped overseas.
American trade policy should place the needs of American workers and small businesses first.
Bernie’s strong opposition to destructive “free trade” deals began with NAFTA in 1993. . . . As with NAFTA, Bernie warned in 2000 that Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China would help multinational corporations at the expense of workers and the environment. ….
The TPP follows in the footsteps of the previous pro-corporate trade deals. It lacks safeguards to protect American jobs and the environment while giving massive benefits to large multinational corporations. . . .
Bernie has stated repeatedly that his top priority is making sure that all Americans have access to good paying jobs. For this reason he has been a leader in Congress in the fight against the free trade agreements that have been negotiated over the past three decades. Bernie’s passionate warnings against these deals have, unfortunately for American workers, all been proven right as these trade deals have offshored a massive amount of decent paying jobs and have closed tens of thousands of factories across our country. . . .
Why is Bernie against most trade agreements?
He believes that free trade agreements like NAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement have allowed too many American jobs to move overseas. . . .
As he said in 1993 on the House floor before voting against it, “NAFTA may be a good deal for the people who own our corporations, but it is a bad deal for American workers, for our family farmers, and it is bad for the environment.”
And Bernie is nothing if not consistent. Here he is over 20 years later warning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
“Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system.
With regard to trade with China, Bernie Sanders states on his Presidential website:
Bernie firmly believes that current trade relations with China are detrimental to job growth and wealth equality in the United States. Referring specifically to the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership [which does not include China], Bernie has decried trade deals with China as being “designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy.” . . .
Time and time again, Bernie has voted against free trade deals with China. In 1999, Bernie voted in the House against granting China “Most Favored Nation” status. In 2000, Bernie voted against Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China which aimed to create jobs, but instead lead to the loss of more than 3 million jobs for Americans.
“Let’s be clear: one of the major reasons that the middle class in America is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider is due to our disastrous unfettered free trade policy.” . . .
With these statements, Bernie Sanders sounds just like Donald Trump. To see Bernie Sanders in action on trade, see his statements on the Senate floor against the Trans Pacific Partnership and China. See http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-trade/ and http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-china/.
In his China speech, just like Senator Sessions, who advises Donald Trump on trade, Sanders confuses normal trade relations with China with a Free Trade Agreement, stating that PNTR was a free trade agreement with China. When the US gave normal trade relations with China, it did not set up a Free Trade Agreement with China. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (“PNTR”) only means that China is treated like all other countries, such as Iran, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries. There is no unfettered free trade agreement with China.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans have now made international trade and free trade agreements one of the burning issues in the Presidential election. On March 10, 2016, CNN Reporter Stephen Collinson in an article entitled, “How Trump and Sanders tapped America’s Economic Rage” stated:
Finally, somebody is listening. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders might be poles apart in their politics and temperament, but they are voicing visceral feelings of economic disenfranchisement and alienation among pessimistic voters who feel they’ve been ignored for years.
The billionaire and the democratic socialist are in different ways speaking for vast populations of Americans who feel threatened by globalization, who question the benefits of “free trade” that political leaders have peddled for decades and who believe distant elites control the economy in ways detrimental to their lives and prospects.
It is turning out to be a potent electoral brew –which has lifted insurgent candidates like Trump and Sanders throughout the 2016 cycle and challenged foes like Hillary Clinton and establishment Republicans who have found it tougher to reconcile the grass-roots anger. . . .
Trump’s message is explosive, identifying culprits in what he sees as the corrupt cabal of Washington politicians and supposedly sinister outsiders, like illegal immigrants, job-stealing Chinese firms or tough negotiators who run rings around effete U.S. officials in places like Vietnam and Japan. To his backers, he is the fiercest shark in a global pool who, if nothing else, will have the rest of the world again fearing America’s bite. . . .
The story was similar on the Democratic side, where 57% of Democratic voters in Michigan said trade takes away U.S. jobs. Among people who thought so, Sanders was the most popular candidate.
“I think the key to him winning in Michigan was his clear message on the trade policies,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN . . . . “Michigan is a state that has been devastated by bad trade deals. He has opposed every one and Secretary Clinton has supported almost every one. People in Michigan know what the real impact of that is.”
But Sanders has established a narrative difficult to counter. His approach to Americans’ anxieties is to offer a “political revolution,” one that would rewrite the rules of the American economy — and the global one — according to a much more progressive blueprint.
His denunciations of Wall Street “oligarchs” and complaints of a “rigged” economy and a “corrupt” campaign finance system play into the feelings of his supporters that they are powerless to address the worsening conditions of their lives.
He hammers NAFTA and pacts with China, that have boosted global trade flows, fed America’s addiction for cheap goods from abroad, but also left a trail of victims in industrial states where the manufacturing base just could not compete with the low-wage rising economies of Asia and elsewhere.
And Clinton has also yet to come up with an effective riposte to assaults by Sanders on her paid speeches to Wall Street firms after she stepped down as secretary of state.
The Sanders win in Michigan has some of his supporters sensing that a campaign that seems inexorably trending away from him may at least thrive through the journey through primaries in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin that often turn on blue-collar issues.
And even if he cannot catch Clinton, Sanders can take credit for dragging her to her left on economic questions, as she now speaks in her stump speech about the need to make hollowed out American communities “whole” again. . . .
To see the entire article, see http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/09/politics/sanders-trump-econom… 3/11/2016
Although it is certain that Hilary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders has forced Clinton to move to the left and take a much tougher stance on international trade. There is talk that Hilary may take Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, as her Vice President, a very strong protectionist, who is viscerally opposed to the TPP.
The hot protectionist rhetoric of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have made international trade one of the center points of the election. The simple truth is that when weak academic, theoretical economic arguments for free trade meet the hard visceral arguments of bombed out US factories and the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, the free trade arguments melt away.
On March 15, 2016, the New York Times in an article entitled, “On Trade, Angry Voters Have a Point” stated:
Were the experts wrong about the benefits of trade for the American economy? . . .
Voters’ anger and frustration, driven in part by relentless globalization and technological change, may not propel either candidate to the presidency. But it is already having a big impact on America’s future, shaking a once-solid consensus that freer trade is, necessarily, a good thing.
“The economic populism of the presidential campaign has forced the recognition that expanded trade is a double-edged sword,” wrote Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
What seems most striking is that the angry working class — dismissed so often as myopic, unable to understand the economic trade-offs presented by trade — appears to have understood what the experts are only belatedly finding to be true: The benefits from trade to the American economy may not always justify its costs. . . .
In another study they wrote with Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price from M.I.T., they estimated that rising Chinese imports from 1999 to 2011 cost up to 2.4 million American jobs. . . .
The Chinese export onslaught, however, left a scar on the American working class that has not healed. That disproportionate impact suggests Washington officialdom might do well to reassess its approach to future trade liberalization. . . .
Perhaps most important, the new evidence from trade suggests American policy makers cannot continue to impose all the pain on the nation’s blue-collar workers if they are not going to provide a stronger safety net.
That might have been justified if the distributional costs of trade were indeed small and short-lived. But now that we know they are big and persistent, it looks unconscionable. (emphasis added.)
One of the reasons for the sharp rise in protectionism is the weak safety net, trade adjustment assistance, especially trade adjustment assistance for companies, which will be discussed in follow-up articles on this topic,
On March 15, 2016, Phyllis Schafly, a well-known Republican pundit, stated on Invstors.com that the Republican candidates are turning against trade deals, stating:
The first question asked of the presidential candidates at the most recent Republican debate, hosted by CNN in Miami on March 10, was “whether trade deals have been good for the American workers.”
Moderator Jake Tapper observed that one of Donald Trump’s “signature issues” has been his criticism of “disastrous trade deals” that have destroyed many good middle-class jobs that existed a generation ago. . . .
Ohio Gov. John Kasich likes to remind everyone that he “grew up in a blue collar family,” but votes he cast during his 18 years in Congress helped to decimate the manufacturing base of his home state. Kasich voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, and in 2000 he voted to grant the “normal” trading privileges, which allowed China to enter the World Trade Organization. . . .
Sen. Ted Cruz once voted in favor of presidential trade authority before reversing himself on the subsequent vote last year. Cruz now says he opposes the TPP, but Congress has never rejected a trade deal after giving the president the authority to negotiate it.
“I am different in one primary respect, and that’s trade,” Trump insisted in the debate, explaining that “trade deals are absolutely killing our country.” He has proposed tariffs to offset abusive practices such as currency devaluation by “certain countries that are taking advantage of the United States and laughing at our stupidity.” . . . .
According to the 200-year-old theory of free trade, workers who lose manufacturing jobs to China should be able to find new jobs in other industries that benefit from a trade surplus, such as the pharmaceutical industry, or in non-tradable industries such as medicine and legal services. But millions of these workers, many of whom are men struggling to support their families, have not found adequate replacement jobs.
Some settle for lower-paying jobs, while others give up entirely, creating a social issue as well as an economic one. The percentage of men between 25 and 54 years old who are not employed has tripled in the last half century, and many who had been working at $40-per-hour manufacturing jobs are now receiving only $10-per-hour jobs at Wal-Mart or fast-food joints. . . .
In the general election in November, there will be millions of voters ready to cast their ballots for a candidate who stands up for American workers rather than catering to lobbyists who seek free-trade deals.
Pat Buchanan, a well-known Republican conservative, who also ran for the Presidency, stated in an April 4, 2016 commentary entitled “What Trump has Wrought,” states:
But this city of self-delusion should realize there is no going back for America. For, whatever his stumbles of the last two weeks, Trump has helped to unleash the mightiest force of the 21st century: nationalism. Transnationalism and globalism are moribund.
Buchanan further states that Trump’s first issue is illegal immigration and building a wall along the Southern border to keep illegal immigrants out, but then goes on to state:
If immigration is the first issue where Trump connected with the people, the second is trade. Republicans are at last learning that trade deficits do matter, that free trade is not free. The cost comes in dead factories, lost jobs, dying towns and the rising rage of an abandoned Middle America whose country this is and whose wages have stagnated for decades.
Economists who swoon over figures on consumption forget what America’s 19th-century meteoric rise to self-sufficiency teaches, and what all four presidents on Mount Rushmore understood.
Production comes before consumption. Who owns the orchard is more essential than who eats the apples. We have exported the economic independence Hamilton taught was indispensable to our political independence. We have forgotten what made us great.
China, Japan, Germany – the second, third and fourth largest economies on earth – all owe their prosperity to trade surpluses run for decades at the expense of the Americans. . . .
Patriotism, preserving and protecting the unique character of our nation and people, economic nationalism, America First, staying out of other nation’s wars – these are as much the propellants of Trumpism as is the decline of the American working and middle class.
Trump’s presence in the race has produced the largest turnout ever in the primaries of either party. He has won the most votes, most delegates, most states. Wisconsin aside, he will likely come to Cleveland in that position.
If, through rules changes, subterfuge and faithless delegates, party elites swindle him out of the nomination, do they think that the millions who came out to vote for Trump will go home and say: We lost it fair and square?
Do they think they can then go back to open borders, amnesty, a path to citizenship, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and nation building?
Whatever happens to Trump, the country has spoken. And if the establishment refuses to heed its voice, and returns to the policies the people have repudiated, it should take heed of John F. Kennedy’s warning: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
For full article, see http://www.wnd.com/2016/04/what-trump-has-wrought/
The point is that both political wings of the the United States are becoming very protectionist in response to strong pressure from US voters. On the right, Donald Trump, who is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican party, is firmly against all trade agreements, including the TPP. On the left, Bernie Sanders in many ways is more protectionist than Trump and has succeeded in pulling Clinton to a much more protectionist position.
Understand that one reason newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal, are attacking Trump on trade is that the Republican party traditionally has been very free trade, while the Democratic party, which relies on labor union support, has been much more protectionist. The only reason that the TPP was completed is because Trade Promotion Authority was enacted into law last summer in 2015. The only reason TPA passed the Congress is that the Republicans won both the Senate and the House.
Prior to the election, Senator Harry Reid, who heads the Democrats in the Senate, blocked all the trade bills, including the TPA, from coming to the Floor of Congress.
So to my liberal friends who think that Bernie Sanders would be more free trade than Donald Trump and the Republicans, that is simply not the fact.
Sanders has succeeded in pushing Hilary to be more protectionist and that is not good for the passage of the TPP. As John Brinkely of Forbes predicted several months ago, in a Presidential year with regards to the TPP, anything can happen and it has. The United States is becoming much more protectionist.
Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which has been a driving force for trade liberalization for over 100 years, recently stated:
There are always winners and losers in trade deals, but the losses tend to be short-term and specific while the gains are usually long-term and diffuse. So you’ve got a growing mass of cranky, alienated voters.
Daniel Ikenson, director of the free market oriented Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Studies, recently stated:
It’s almost like there’s a reckoning coming due here. The base of the Republican party is really growing increasingly skeptical of trade and Trump is the perfect demagogue to tap into that sentiment and magnify the concerns.
The next article in this series will deal first with the visceral gut wrenching arguments against free trade and the weak free trade arguments in response. The article after that will deal with the probable demise of the TPP and finally the solution to the trade crisis, truly creating a safety net to help companies and workers adjust to import competition. Only when there is a true safety net will the dialogue on free trade change.
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.
NEW STEEL ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY CASE
On April 8, 2016 Arcelormittal USA LLC, Nucor Corp., and SSAB Enterprises LLC filed a new antidumping and countervailing duty case against imports of Certain Carbon and Alloy Steel-Cut-To-Length Plate from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan and Turkey.
APRIL 12 AND 13 USTR COMMERCE HEARINGS ON STEEL
On April 12, 2016, at a hearing in Washington DC members of Congress, union representatives and steel executives pushed the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to initiate antidumping proceedings at the Commerce Department against huge imports of subsidized and antidumping Chinese steel imports arguing that the administration needs to step in to protect domestic industry.
At the present time, however, there are very few major Chinese steel products not blocked by US antidumping and countervailing duty measures. Preliminary determinations have been issued against galvanized and cold-rolled steel from China with very high antidumping and countervailing duty rates against both products, wiping them out of the US market. Many, many Chinese steel products from China are currently covered by an antidumping (“AD”) order and often also a countervailing duty (“CVD”) order, including carbon steel plate, hot rolled carbon steel flat products, circular welded carbon quality steel pipe, light walled rectangular pipe and tube, circular welded carbon quality steel line pipe, circular welded austenitic stainless pressure pipe, steel threaded rod, oil country tubular goods, prestressed concrete steel wire strand, seamless carbon and alloy steel standard line and pressure pipe, high pressure steel cylinders, prestreessed concrete steel rail tire wire, non-oriented electrical steel, and carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod.
Despite 100s of outstanding AD and CVD orders against steel imports from China and other countries, the American steel market has shrunk to 86 million tons of production, competing against the more than 100 million tons China exports, out of 1.2 billion tons of total production. But most of that Chinese steel was exported to other countries and third country imports from countries, such as Korea, Taiwan, India, and other countries, with low if not 0%, antidumping and countervailing duty rates are entering the United States.
Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, said the best way to save the American steel industry is for the Obama administration to step out publicly and get involved in initiating antidumping proceedings.
Although transshipment has been a substantial problem, if legitimate importers are involved, they expose themselves to criminal prosecution for Customs fraud. US Customs law is certainly not a toothless as it is portrayed.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also urged the Commerce Department and Department of Homeland Security to step up enforcement at the nation’s ports, including increased inspections and possibly turning away ships carrying illegally subsidized steel.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, in opening statements as well as questions to the panelists, pointed to more than $1 billion in recent U.S. exports of steel products and touted the 149 current AD and CVD orders against imported steel, $900,000 in seizures for flouting those duty orders and a 10 percent increase in Commerce Department staff to work on unfair trade practice proceedings.
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Hilary Clinton’s possible running mate, urged the administration to support a section 201 petition if brought by a segment of the steel industry, which he said should lead to quick imposition of “appropriate” tariffs. Steel pipe and tube producers seem to be most interested in the section 201 option. Other steel industry segments see it as too uncertain, given that the World Trade Organization has overturned all but one global safeguard the U.S. imposed in the past, including the 2001 section 201 steel case.
Senator Brown raised another option: WTO cases against China’s overcapacity, which appears to refer to a challenge claiming that the exports of its excess capacity driven by subsidies are undercutting or depressing the price of steel in the World market. “The only way to address this is with a WTO case,” Brown said. “China is in violation of its WTO obligations.”
NEW SECTION 337 UNFAIR TRADE CASE AGAINST ALL CHINESE CARBON ALLOY STEEL COMPANIES AND ALL STEEL PRODUCTS FROM CHINA
As mentioned in the last newsletter, on April 26, 2016, US Steel Corp filed a major 337 unfair trade case against all the Chinese steel companies seeking an exclusion order to bar all imports of carbon and alloy steel from China.
U.S. Steel Corp. is accusing Chinese steel producers and their distributors of conspiring to fix prices, stealing trade secrets and false labeling to avoid trade duties. It is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) to issue an exclusion order excluding all the Chinese steel from the US market and also cease and desist orders prohibiting importers from selling any imported steel that has already been imported into the United States.
Having worked at the ITC on 337 cases and later in private practice, section 337 is generally aimed at imports that infringe intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks or copyrights. Moreover, one provision of section 337(b)(3) provides that when any aspect of a section 337 case relates to questions of dumping or subsidization, the Commission is to terminate the case immediately and refer the question to Commerce.
Also in the past when section 337 was used to bring antitrust cases, there was intense push back by the Justice Department. Customs and Border Protection also may not be happy with the use of section 337 to enforce US Custom law.
But section 337 cases are not antidumping and countervailing duty cases. There are no mandatory companies and lesser targets. All the Chinese steel companies are targets, and this will be intense litigation with very tight deadlines. If the individual Chinese steel companies do not respond to the complaint, their steel exports could be excluded in 70 days to six months. Section 337 cases are hard- nosed litigation on a very fast track.
If you are interested in a copy of the complaint, please feel free to contact me.
On April 27, 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) urged the ITC and US government to reject U.S. Steel’s request to ban all imports from China’s biggest steel mills over allegations of price-fixing and trade-secret theft.
MOFCOM stated that U.S. Steel’s request for an investigation under Section 337 of the Tariff Act was better suited for intellectual property disputes than for commodities like steel. The country said the complaint should be dismissed in favor of “dialogue, communication and joint efforts to address the problem of excess capacity” in the steel market.
UNION FILES SECTION 201 CASE ON ALUMINUM, BUT THEN WITHDRAWS IT
As mentioned in my last blog post, on April 18, 2016 the United Steelworkers Union filed a section 201 safeguard case against aluminum imports from all countries at the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”).
But after intense pressure from the US Aluminum producers, on April 22nd the Union withdrew the petition. Apparently, the US Aluminum producers have production facilities in Canada and also part of the Union was in Canada and not happy with the case.
MAY ANTIDUMPING ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS
On May 2, 2016, Commerce published the attached Federal Register notice, REVIEWS MAY 2016, regarding antidumping and countervailing duty cases for which reviews can be requested in the month of May. The specific antidumping cases against China are: Aluminum Extrusions, Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Line Pipe, Citric Acid and Citrate Salt, Iron Construction Castings, Oil Country Tubular Goods, Pure Magnesium, and Stilbenic Optical Brightening Agents.
The specific countervailing duty cases are: Aluminum Extrusions and Citric Acid and Citrate Salt.
For those US import companies that imported : Aluminum Extrusions, Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Line Pipe, Citric Acid and Citrate Salt, Iron Construction Castings, Oil Country Tubular Goods, Pure Magnesium, and Stilbenic Optical Brightening Agents during the antidumping period May 1, 2015-April 30, 2016 or the countervailing duty period of review, calendar year 2015, 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.
Recently, there are many examples of Chinese solar companies or US importers, which did not file requests for a review investigation. In one instance, although the Chinese companies obtained separate rates during the initial investigation, the Petitioner appealed to the Court. Several Chinese companies and US importers did not know the case was appealed, and the importers now owe millions in antidumping duties because they failed to file a request for a review investigation in December 2015.
NEW 337 CASE AGAINST CHINA
On May 5, 2016, Aspen Aerogels Inc. filed a 337 patent case at the ITC against imports of Composite Aerogel Insulation Materials and Methods for Manufacturing from China against Nano Tech Co., Ltd. and Guangdong Alison Hi-Tech Co., Ltd. In China.
If anyone wants a copy of the complaint, please feel free to contact me.
If anyone has any questions about these cases or about the US trade policy, trade adjustment assistance, customs, 337, IP/patent, products liability, US/China antitrust or securities law in general, please feel free to contact me.