World Not Waiting for America: Pacific Nations Continue Trade Deal

Prime Ministers Shinzō Abe of Japan and Justin Trudeau of Canada speak in Washington DC, March 31, 2016
Prime Ministers Shinzō Abe of Japan and Justin Trudeau of Canada speak in Washington DC, March 31, 2016 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

In another sign that the world isn’t waiting for the United States, eleven countries in Asia and Latin America have announced their intention to keep the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) alive.

One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to withdraw from the trade pact.

Japan and Mexico stepped into America’s place to salvage it.

Both have also intensified their trade negotiations with the EU, which itself is rushing to defend globalization from a suddenly protectionist America. Read more “World Not Waiting for America: Pacific Nations Continue Trade Deal”

Trump’s Welcome Change of Heart on South Korea Trade Deal

Presidents Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Donald Trump of the United States meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, October 2
Presidents Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Donald Trump of the United States meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, October 2 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

American president Donald Trump appears to have changed his mind about a trade deal with South Korea.

As recently as a month ago, there were reports Trump was on the verge of withdrawing from the agreement.

Now American and Korean trade negotiators have agreed to amend the treaty in order to make it “fair” and “reciprocal”.

I doubt changes will really make the pact fairer and not more favorable to the United States. But that would still be better than canceling it. Read more “Trump’s Welcome Change of Heart on South Korea Trade Deal”

Canceling South Korean Trade Deal Would Be a Mistake

View from the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea
View from the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea (Unsplash/Jeonguk Ha)

Various American media report this weekend that President Donald Trump is thinking of canceling a trade agreement with South Korea.

This may be bluster: an attempt to force the South Koreans to make concessions. It’s the way Trump “negotiates”.

But if he makes good on this threat, it would be another self-inflicted wound for American commerce and a setback for America’s strategy in East Asia. Read more “Canceling South Korean Trade Deal Would Be a Mistake”

Europe, Japan Send “Strong Signal” with Trade Deal

Tokyo Japan
View from the World Trade Center Building in Tokyo, Japan (Unsplash/Louie Martinez)

European and Japanese leaders have announced a landmark trade agreement on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where America’s president, Donald Trump, is expected to press his case for protectionism.

The treaty has yet to be finalized. A summit in Brussels was hastily arranged to “send a strong signal,” as the EU’s trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, put it earlier this week.

“We believe we should not build walls or raise protectionism,” she said. Read more “Europe, Japan Send “Strong Signal” with Trade Deal”

In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders

Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29
Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29 (La Moncloa)

European leaders are preparing for a showdown on trade when they meet Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg next month.

“Whoever believes that the world’s problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told her parliament on Thursday.

French president Emmanuel Macron chimed in: “If free trade is questioned by a member state then we need to address this.”

He added that he hopes “others will see reason” on issues like climate change and terrorism, which require multilateral cooperation.

Europe and the United States account for half the world’s economic output and a third of its trade. Read more “In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders”

Can Canada Resist Trump’s Offensive on NAFTA?

Justin Trudeau Donald Trump
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, February 13 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Act, but President Donald Trump does not.

After campaigning on a promise to repeal the act, then adapting his position to that of merely supporting the act’s renegotiation, Trump recently announced that he would no longer tolerate the status quo arrangement for American imports of dairy and forestry products originating from Canada. Read more “Can Canada Resist Trump’s Offensive on NAFTA?”

Trump Is Not the First American Leader to Criticize German Exports

Angela Merkel Barack Obama
American president Barack Obama listens to German chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, May 2, 2014 (Bundesregierung)

American president Donald Trump has reportedly chided the Germans for selling more goods and services to his country than they buy from it, calling them “very, very bad”.

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We’ll stop it,” Trump was quoted as saying in Der Spiegel, which cited EU diplomats. (No matter that German carmakers are responsible for tens of thousands of jobs in the United States.)

Coming after Trump criticized NATO leaders for failing spend more on their defense, which came on the heels of a trip to Saudi Arabia where he promised the United States would no longer criticize the monarchy for its human rights abuses, the comments are disconcerting. Trump berates liberal democrats but cozies up to authoritarians.

He earlier praised Egyptian strongman Abdul Fatah Sisi for his war on terror, Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte for his war on drugs and complimented Russia’s autocrat, Vladimir Putin, on his “strong leadership”.

Canadian and European allies get a dressing down. Read more “Trump Is Not the First American Leader to Criticize German Exports”

China, Europe Seek Closer Ties in Era of Trump

Li Keqiang Angela Merkel
China’s premier Li Keqiang speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 26, 2013 (Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann)

China and the European Union are stepping up their cooperation in the era of Donald Trump.

Reuters reports that the two are keen on a summit in the next few months in order to promote free trade and international cooperation.

For the Chinese, it’s about sending a sending a message to Washington that it has friends in Europe.

The Europeans seek Chinese support for international institutions like the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, which Trump has chided.

But that doesn’t mean a new great-power entente is in the works. Read more “China, Europe Seek Closer Ties in Era of Trump”

As America Turns Inward, Europe and Mexico Double Down on Trade

European Union flags
Flags of the European Union outside the Berlaymont building in Brussels, July 22, 2016 (European Commission)

The European Union and Mexico have committed to deepening their economies ties in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States.

In a statement released last week, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Mexican economy secretary Ildefonso Guajardo announced that they would hold talks in April and June to renew a 2000 trade agreement between the two sides.

The EU hopes to expand the trade deal to broaden property rights protection, lower tariffs and include public tenders as well as trade in energy products and raw materials. Read more “As America Turns Inward, Europe and Mexico Double Down on Trade”