Monday, July 02, 2018

Señor Trumpanzee FARTs-- Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act


Fucking Moron by Chip Proser

Mexico elected-- by a landslide-- a new president, a left-wing populist, in a landslide Sunday. Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Unlike Trump, whose election is arguably illegitimate, López Obrador can claim a mandate to make structural changes in his country.
Obrador- 24,127,452 (53.0%)
Anaya- 10,249,705 (22.5%)
Meade- 7,472,431 (16.4%)
Calderón- 2,339,431 (5.1%)
Zavala- 64,643 (0.1%)
He was elected because he campaigned on a platform of change, a platform to change the status quo in a country beset by corruption, violence and enduring poverty. He agenda included free access to the Internet, a doubling of pensions for the elderly, educational grants for students, an increase in the minimum wage and subsidies for small farmers and single mothers. None of the candidates were fans of Trump or his policies. That said, let's turn to a draft of the America illegitimate president who claims a mandate to shake up the status quo even though most voters cast their ballots for his opponent:
Hillary Clinton- 65,853,514 (48.2%)
Donald Trump- 62,984,828 (46.1%)
Gary Johnson- 4,489,235 (3.2%)
Jill Stein- 1,457,226 (1.06%)
Evan McMullin- 732,273 (0.53%)
That's not a mandate for structural change, although Trump is governing as though he had been elected in a massive landslide. He also campaigned on a platform of change. Trade was one of his issues, although, what he offered was a mishmash of incoherent ill-thought out ideas, populist slogans and emotional assertion of victimhood and blame, an agenda-- or at least its latest manifestation-- condemned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this morning This morning Axios reported his latest attempt to blow up the status quo, the FART Act, "America’s abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization rules." If Congress passes it-- unlikely-- it would prove Trump "license to raise U.S. tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned. The bill, titled the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act," would give Trump unilateral power to ignore the two most basic principles of the WTO and negotiate one-on-one with any country:

Trump was briefed on this draft in late May, according to sources familiar with the situation. Most officials involved in the bill's drafting-- with the notable exception of hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro-- think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable. USTR, Commerce and the White House are involved.
1- The "Most Favored Nation" (MFN) principle that countries can't set different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements;
2- "Bound tariff rates-- the tariff ceilings that each WTO country has already agreed to in previous negotiations.
"It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO and our commitments there without us actually notifying our withdrawal," said a source familiar with the bill.
"The good news is Congress would never give this authority to the president," the source added, describing the bill as "insane."
"It's not implementable at the border," given it would create potentially tens of thousands of new tariff rates on products. "And it would completely remove us from the set of global trade rules."
It's not going to happen. The only farting coming out of the White House will be Trump's when he eats fat food.
Trump was briefed on this draft in late May, according to sources familiar with the situation. Most officials involved in the bill's drafting-- with the notable exception of hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro-- think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable. USTR, Commerce and the White House are involved.
In a White House meeting to discuss the bill earlier this year, Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short bluntly told Navarro the bill was "dead on arrival" and would receive zero support on Capitol Hill, according to sources familiar with the exchange.
Navarro replied to Short that he thought the bill would get plenty of support, particularly from Democrats, but Short told Navarro he didn't think Democrats were in much of a mood to hand over moreauthority to Trump.
Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, "It is no secret that POTUS has had frustrations with the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the U.S. at a disadvantage. He has asked his team to develop ideas to remedy this situation and create incentives for countries to lower their tariffs. The current system gives the U.S. no leverage and other countries no incentive."
But Walters signaled that we shouldn't take this bill as anything like a done deal. "The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout, but it’s not," she said. "Principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade."
Between the lines: Note the specificity of Walters' quote above. Trump directly requested this legislation and was verbally briefed on it in May. But he hasn't met with the principals to review the text.
Congress is already concerned with how Trump has been using his trade authorities-- just look at recent efforts by Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet to roll back the president's steel and aluminum tariffs.

The bottom line: As a smart trade watcher told me: "The Trump administration should be more worried about not having their current authority restricted rather than expanding authority as this bill would do."
Meanwhile, the U.S.'s biggest trading partner, Canada, just slapped a retaliatory tariffs, to the tune of $12.6 billion, on a wide variety of U.S. goods. "Some U.S. products, mostly steel and iron, face 25% tariffs, the same penalty the United States slapped on imported steel at the end of May. Other U.S. imports, from ketchup to pizza to dishwasher detergent, will face a 10% tariff at the Canadian border, the same as America's tax on imported aluminum."
Trump had enraged Canada and other U.S. allies by declaring imported steel and aluminum a threat to America's national security and therefore a legitimate target for U.S. tariffs. Canada is the United States' second-biggest trading partner in goods, just behind China.

Speaking Sunday in Leamington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Canadians for standing united against President Trump's sanctions. He urged Canadians to "make their choices accordingly" in considering whether to buy American products.

The selection of Leamington, known as Canada's tomato capital, was no accident. The town is home to a food-processing plant that supplies tomato paste and other products to French's, a major competitor of Kraft Heinz. Heinz left Canada and sold its Leamington plant in 2014, after 105 years of Canadian operations.

The new Canadian tariffs, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, are hitting a long list of U.S. consumer goods, including ketchup and other Kraft Heinz products.

As part of his combative “America first” approach, Trump has repeatedly attacked the trade policies of the United States' northern neighbor, citing Canada's triple-digit tariffs on dairy products, which account for only about 0.1% of U.S.-Canada trade. The United States, in fact, last year enjoyed a $2.8-billion overall trade surplus with Canada.

Trump has also tried to pressure Canada and Mexico into agreeing to rewrite the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement to shift more auto production and investment to the United States. But that effort has stalled, and Trump said Sunday that he didn't expect a deal that he could support until after the U.S. midterm elections in November.
The Washington Post reported this morning that Señor T is defiantly standing by his tariffs "as Canada hit back hard, Mexico elected a new leader who seems prepared to confront him, and the European Union issued a scathing condemnation of his policy as 'in effect, a tax on the American people.' Instead of backing down, Trump brushed off the mounting pressure from businesses and world leaders to scale back the taxes before they cause additional job losses and slower economic growth."

Also this morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that farm belt, which helped deliver the White House to Trump, "drawn to his promises to revive rural America and deregulate industry," is feeling that his "global trade offensive is threatening the livelihoods of many farmers... Mounting trade disputes, spurred by U.S. threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods from key trading partners, have cut U.S. agricultural exports and sent commodity prices tumbling. Many farmers, who depend on shipments overseas for one-fifth of the goods they produce, say they are anxious, especially because they are already expecting bumper harvests or grappling with a dairy glut."

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At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He was elected because he campaigned on a platform of change . . ."

So did obamanation. Forgot how that worked out?

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see I have friends who are annoyingly prompt in their responses. could be worse.

Note: I would NEVER presume this congress would not cede ALL their constitutional duties to the unitary.

Give FARTS some faux noose time, put another Nazi on the sc, a bleakish-looking November, a few noxious tweets... I can see the Nazi congress basically giving everything over to trump.

I also don't see the democraps even whispering any dissent. Going fetal under duress is what they do best.


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