Brexit and the Trump Revolution are often linked. What really unites them is the extraordinarily uncommercial attitude many of their politicians are taking to what real businesses want.
A March 10 article in the Financial Times, generally reflecting much other comment, claims US officials dealing with trade are engaged in a “civil war” with each other.
Mexico’s top trade negotiator said in an interview published on February 27 that he would walk away from the table if US negotiators threatened 20% duties on cars.
Theresa May keeps insisting “Brexit means Brexit”. But no-one in Britain can agree what Brexit means, how long it’ll take to get there or what Britain’s trade policy will be once it’s out of the EU.
On October 22, Donald Trump published his work programme for the first hundred days of his Presidency.
There are times advocates of free trade need to think before opening their mouths – or uploading their blogs. An apparently praiseworthy article in the Pakistani press about access to Turkey’s garment market is a perfect illustration.
In a move probably aimed above all at US politicians, the US government announced on February 11 the first steps in a formal WTO case against Chinese export subsidies for seven product groups, including textiles and apparel.
In the decade or so I’ve been sharing my views in my monthly FlanaRant, one paradox has particularly puzzled me:
“WTO report says restrictive trade measures continue to rise in G-20 economies” says another scare-mongering headline from the WTO.
Trade lobbyists really have to get a sense of proportion. This week’s posturing by trade lobbies about trade facilitation suggests they wouldn’t recognise one if it turned up on their doorstep with a crate of champagne.
…and concludes it could lead to 500,000 to 1 million lost U.S. jobs over a 10-year span. Which makes the idea unlikely. But the book’s put the prospect on the table – just like an EU-China FTA a year ago.
…two years after being adopted
Chances of getting it through this year recede, while Rupert Murdoch’s guru rates them very low indeed
“G-20 member countries imposed more new trade restrictions over the six months to mid-November despite their pledge to refrain from such measures until 2016” said the WTO. (http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news13_e/g20_wto_report_dec13_e.pdf).
We’ve had 20 years of global agreements like the Bali Package offering to revolutionise the textile and garment industries. They all did – but never as experts predicted.