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Posts Tagged ‘South Korea Free trade agreement’

The appliance maker Whirlpool has asked the U.S. government to impose trade barriers on washing machines imported from South Korean companies, escalating a trade dispute that has been ongoing for years.

Anybody with half a brain could see this coming before President Obama and his henchmen and henchwomen, like Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, signed the South Korea Free Trade Treaty. Yet, Obama and his sleazy corporate Demorats, like Wyden, pushed for this scam anyway, mainly because it redistributes income from US workers to billionaire US investors, hedge funds and other finance types that finance the Demorat Party.

With headquarters in Benton Harbor Michigan, Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s largest home appliance maker. In the U.S., Whirlpool has eight manufacturing facilities: Amana, Iowa; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cleveland, Tennessee; Clyde, Ohio; Findlay, Ohio; Greenville, Ohio; Marion, Ohio; and Ottawa, Ohio. Whirlpool has five factories in Mexico. Whirlpool has over 28,000 employees in the United States and Mexico. Those jobs are at risk.

USA Today reports that “In filing a petition to the U.S. International Trade Commission Wednesday, the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based manufacturer is seeking remedy from U.S. regulators on its claim that Samsung and LG are selling their washing machines in the U.S. at prices that are below the prices charged by American companies or below their cost of production.”

The U.S. government has twice found that Samsung and LG were selling in the U.S. at unfairly low prices. But Samsung and LG responded by “relocating their production facilities to other foreign countries in order to circumvent the U.S. government’s rulings,” Whirlpool says.

Whirlpool is a supporter of free and fair trade. According to company’s website, “We believe competition is healthy and breeds innovation. That’s why we support free and fair trade and promote an open global trading system that benefits our consumers, employees and the entire home appliance industry. Enforcing open, rules-based trade policies ensures the highest level of investment, innovation and choice for consumers around the world. Supporting free and fair trade increases industry access and incentivizes innovation globally, helping us to protect jobs and ensure continued innovation and investment in the appliance industry.”

Obama and Wyden supported the South Korea Trade Scam, and US citizen’s and now paying the price. Click on the following link for more on the story, whirlpool-files-complaint-samsung-lg-dump-washers-us–USA Today

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In The Rigged Game, I wrote that the negative impacts of each successive recession would continuously get worse for a growing number of people because of growing income and wealth inequality, and a new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows this is the case.

Also note that the policies espoused by both Hillary and Bill Clinton brought this situation about. These policies include international income and political power redistribution scams they marketed as free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, giving China most favored nation status, and the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free trade agreements. These scams redistributed trillions of dollars from working Americans to rich fat cats as tens of millions of jobs were shipped overseas.

Now there is an approaching economic storm that will strike sometime between October 2016 and June 2017. The economic impacts of the coming recession will be worse than the last recession.

Some of the findings by EPI include:

  • Unemployment and underemployment rates among young graduates have improved but remain higher than before the recession began.
  • Unemployment of young graduates remains elevated today, but not because of something unique about the Great Recession and its aftermath that has affected young people in particular. Rather, it is high because young workers always experience disproportionate increases in unemployment during periods of labor market weakness—and the Great Recession and its aftermath is the longest, most severe period of economic weakness in more than seven decades (Italics mine).
  • The vast majority (65.8 percent) of people age 24–29 do not have a college degree. Access to good jobs for these individuals is especially critical, as stable employment allows them to build a career or pay for further schooling.
  • In addition to the unemployed (jobless workers who report that they are actively seeking work), the underemployment rate also includes those who work part time but want full-time work (“involuntary” part-timers), and those who want a job and have looked for work in the last year but have given up actively seeking work in the last four weeks (“marginally attached” workers).
  • For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 12.6 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007).
  • For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is 17.9 percent (compared with 15.9 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 33.7 percent (compared with 26.8 percent in 2007).

Now we are hurtling into the worse recession since the Great Depression, and the results of the following boom period will be more egregious than the pathetically weak economic expansion after the Great Recession, which lasted from 2009 to late 2016 or early 2017. Income inequality is the big culprit in this explosion of poverty in the midst of plenty because your government actively works to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent via such things as trade agreements, which are really income redistribution agreements.

Click on the following link for the complete EPI study.

The Class of 2016: The labor market is still far from ideal for young graduates

for more on the EPI study.

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(A message from Citizen’s Trade Campaign, with a couple of extra graphs and paragraphs from me)

President Obama is likely to use the State of the Union to push for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the rigged “fast track” trade promotion authority. Here are some facts to counter the expected public relations campaign.

Of Course “Trade” Is Good.

But first, of course “trade” is a good and necessary thing. We all trade with others. This is how people, businesses and even countries “make a living.” Critics of our country’s current trade policies are not “anti-trade”; they are anti-trade-deficit. They are opposed to the use of so-called “trade” agreements to promote the interests of the largest multinational and Wall Street corporations at the expense of America’s working people, its middle class, its domestic “Main Street” companies, our environment and the country’s long-term economic health.

Compare the timeline of a chart of our country’s trade deficits with the increase in the economic tensions of our middle class, our manufacturing regions and other economic troubles:

You will notice in the graph above and the graph below the amazing coincidence of the US trade deficit with the growth of income inequality in the United States. They mirror each other perfectly. That’s because trade agreements are negotiated to increase income inequality. They are negotiated to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is no different than any other income redistribution treaty.

As the US trade in goods and services goes down in the graph above, you can see the 1 percent get richer in the graph below, while the rest of us suffer the consequences. When a job is shipped overseas, or a trade agreement paved the way for a US corporation to create jobs over there rather than over here, the difference between the old, higher US wages and the new lower wages over there goes straight  into the pockets of the affluent via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends.

Jobs are the largest export product of the United States. Nearly 29 million of them were exported from the United States from 1990 to 2010 (see graph below), and that doesn’t even count the jobs that trade treaties allow to be created overseas by US corporations. Those exported jobs are the principle reason the US economy is historically weak. Exporting those jobs overseas have taken away trillions of dollars from the 99 percent, and weakened the demand for US goods and services in the process.

And every one of those exported jobs represents lost tax dollars that should have gone to schools, fire, police, infrastructure and the social safety nets, such as the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare. Those jobs used to pay the wages of US workers, but international trade has redistributed the wages and salaries of those jobs from working Americans to the rich, and every year each of those jobs exist overseas is another year in which income continues to be redistributed to the 1 percent via that same job, for as long as each job exists.

International trade treaties are the primary means to end the idea of shared prosperity, and they are the primary reason why 95 percent of all income growth in the USA has gone to the 1 percent since 2009. The evidence on this is overwhelming. And the president of the USA is trying to rig the economic game against the 99 percent even more with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trade policies that are rigged to boost the interests of the giant, multinational corporations at the expense of the rest of us are not good at all. “Trade” agreements and “offshoring” of jobs have become synonymous. But “trade” doesn’t at all have to be about moving American jobs and factories out of the country so that executives can pocket the pay difference and the difference in the cost of enforcing environmental protections.

The Recent Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement Is An Example

During the State of the Union speech the president is expected to feature the owner of a small business that has increased its exports to South Korea since the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed. This is ironic. Americans believe in and support small business – hence the use of the owner of one – but our country’s trade deals have been negotiated primarily for the benefit of giant, multinational corporations, and their interests often collide with the interests of smaller, “Main Street” businesses.

Some American businesses have indeed added sales and workers as a result of the KORUS FTA. But the fact is that since that trade agreement was signed the U.S. trade deficit with Korea has grown 50 percent – a metric that has resulted in 50,000 American jobs lost. In other words, since the KORUS FTA went into effect, South Korea is selling much more to us than the country is buying from us – and this problem is getting worse and worse. And as the trade deficit chart above shows, this just happens to be the record of our “trade” agreements.

Please take a look at this Census Bureau data page, “Trade in Goods with Korea, South.”

The KORUS FTA went into effect in March 2012. That month we sold $4,224 million in goods to South Korea and we imported $4,788.2 million in goods.

In November 2014 the U.S. had a $2.8 billion monthly trade deficit with Korea – the highest monthly U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea on record. We had $6.3 billion in imports from Korea (a record) and $3.5 billion in exports to Korea that month. In the first two years of the KORUS FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea went up by 50 percent (a $7.6 billion increase).

So since March 2012 our exports to South Korea decreased from $4.224 billion to $3.5 billion. Meanwhile, our imports increased from $4.788 billion to $6.3 billion.

The KORUS FTA has hit American small businesses harder than large ones. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, small firms with fewer than 100 employees saw exports to Korea drop 14 percent while firms with more than 500 employees saw exports decline by 3 percent. According to “Report Funded by Big Business Explains to Small Businesses What’s Best for Them” at Public Citizen’s Eyes on Trade blog, “As a result, under the Korea FTA, small businesses are capturing an even smaller share of the value of U.S. exports to Korea (just 16 percent), while big businesses’ share has increased to 72 percent.”

This is the record: The KORUS FTA so far has resulted in a trade deficit of $2.8 billion a month, representing the loss of around 50,000 jobs. It has been harder on smaller businesses than larger ones, allowing the larger businesses to push the smaller businesses aside. But in the State of the Union, the president is going to bring attention to the owner of one small business that increased its exports and hired more workers, and use this to say to make the public think that the KORUS FTA has been good for our country – and that we should enter into more agreements like it.

Other Trade Agreements

The KORUS FTA certainly is not our only “free trade” agreement. NAFTA is the shorthand name many Americans use for our trade agreements generally. How has NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – worked out for the U.S.?

The Public Citizen Global Trade Watch report titled, “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health Laws” compared the promises with which NAFTA was sold to the results measured 20 years later. Some of the effects of NAFTA that are highlighted in the report include:

● a $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada,
● one million net U.S. jobs lost because of NAFTA,
● a doubling of immigration from Mexico,
● larger agricultural trade deficits with Mexico and Canada,
● and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.

The data also show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to:

● middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality;
● U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement,
● U.S. manufacturing and services exports to Canada and Mexico that have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate.

What about our deal to bring China into the World Trade Organization? Obviously South Korea is small potatoes when compared with China and the data bear this out. In August 2012 the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the U.S. lost 2.7 million jobs as a result of the U.S.-China trade deficit between 2001 and 2011, with 2.1 million of those lost in the manufacturing sector. Along with these job losses, U.S. wages fell due to the competition with cheap Chinese labor, which has cost a typical U.S. household with two wage-earners around $2,500 per year.

The Commerce Department reported earlier this month that our November trade deficit with China was $29.8 billion. That’s $29.8 billion in one month! Our exports to China decreased $200 million to $11.1 billion and our imports from China decreased $100 million to $40.9 billion from the previous month. Think how many jobs would be created here if $29.8 billion of additional orders came in to companies making and doing things inside the U.S., and this continued every month!

Balance Needed

Trade should be balanced or economies are thrown out of whack. “Trade” is supposed to mean we buy from them and they buy from us. It is not supposed to mean we buy from them and later they use the money to buy us. It is not supposed to mean we send jobs and factories out of our country so that a few executives and shareholders can pocket the wage difference and the reduction of environment enforcement costs.

Exports are great, but if a deal to increase exports increases imports even more, we have a trade deficit and are still at a net loss of jobs, factories and wealth. This means that we are still offshoring jobs so that executives can line their pockets with the wage differential. This has been the case with the KORUS FTA. This has been the case with NAFTA. This has so obviously been the case with China. The last thing We the People need is even more of this.

The reason our trade policies are working out this way is because the beneficiaries of this kind of trade deal are the ones controlling and negotiating these trade deals. The giant, multinational corporations and Wall Street make money from offshoring U.S. jobs and production – partly because our tax laws encourage this activity. The rest of us, including our “Main Street” businesses and the country at large, are net losers. This is obvious to anyone who drives through much of the country or who talks to regular, working people. This is obvious to anyone who looks at the timeline of that trade deficit chart and compares that to the economic shifts of our last few decades.

Our trade negotiating process is rigged from the start. Giant, multinational and Wall Street corporate interests are at the negotiating table. Consumer, labor, environmental, human rights, democracy, health and all the other stakeholder representatives are excluded and the results of these negotiations reflect this. A rigged process called “fast track” is used to essentially force Congress to pre-approve the agreements before the public has a chance to analyze and react to them.

Obviously the giant, multinational and Wall Street corporations would want the public to believe that everyday small businesses gain from our trade deals, when in fact they do not. It is less obvious why President Obama would want to present at the State of the Union the story of one small business that does not reflect the reality of the trade deals he is promoting.

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The U.S. deficit in trade with South Korea tripled in April, the first full month after their free trade agreement went into effect, the Commerce Department said Friday. That suggest a ton of jobs are being or are going to be shipped away. The difference in compensation between the old jobs here and the newly shipped away jobs there will be redistributed from the 99 percent to the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.

The accord, called KORUS FTA, has been in effect since March 15. Officials in the both sides say that the implementation of the free trade agreement (FTA) is going smoothly. However, what they really mean is that the process of redistributing income from the 99 percent to the 1 percent is going “smoothly.”

According to the department’s April trade data, the U.S. recorded a deficit of $1.8 billion, with imports totaling about $5.5 billion and exports $3.7 billion.

In March, the U.S. goods deficit with South Korea stood at $0.6 billion and in April last year the deficit was $1 billion.

On the trade of cars and auto parts, which has drawn keen public attention, the U.S. deficit with South Korea jumped to $1.65 billion in April from $1.45 billion the previous month.

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden knowingly voted to redistribute income when they voted for the treaty.

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(Reuters) – “The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits for the first time fell only slightly last week, suggesting that job growth in April will not improve much after March’s disappointing performance.”

The economy is weak because demand is weak and that is due to the massive redistribution of income and wealth the federal government has undertaken under sneaky, lying Democrats and their sneaky, lying Republican co-conspirators. The government has redistributed income from working people to the rich for the last thirty years, but nobody wants to talk about how the one percent now steal about 25 percent of total national income compared to about 7 percent under President Jimmy Carter; 12 million jobs were created under Carter’s watch, with real rising wages during his four years in office. No matter what you can say about Jimmy Carter as president, we got to say, “Those were the good old days.” Unfortunately, they were and we didn’t think that back then.

The one percent stole 93 percent of total national income growth from 2009 to 2010, and it’s likely they did pretty much the same from 2010 to 2011, although those statistics are not available, as of yet. The worse thing is that “Wall Street Obama” has knowingly continued to use the federal government to redistribute income and wealth to the rich, and expect even more money to be shoveled toward the rich should “Wall Street Romney” become president. Think in terms of the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free trade agreements. Once jobs are shipped to those nations, or created there because of those agreements, the difference between the old wages here and the new lower wages there go into the pockets of the one percent via rising corporate profits, enhanced dividends and soaring share prices. God forbid!

Actually, God help the American people because with these choices for president we’re racing toward economic disaster, and we’re going to need all the help we can get has we barrel our way toward third world status.

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Why Are Teacher Cut Backs Coming? Blame Free Trade Agreements

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