tv The Bottom Line 2019 Ep 7 Al Jazeera December 4, 2019 3:32am-4:01am +03
reported every hour with more than 4000 people in fact it in a population of. population. people it helps to over 4000000 but as many are in need of aid the situation is expected to get worse with expected before. the united states where the democratic field. of course one of the 2020 presidential race after. the california senator. 15 candidates competing to be the democratic party's 2020 nominee.
hi i'm steve clements and i have a question are donald trump's trade wars helping or hurting families workers farmers and buyers of stuff in the u.s. and in the rest of the world let's get to the bottom line. it seems like ages ago but before impeachment took over the news cycle there was a different big thing on the american president's mind one hint tariffs. he's targeted china's electronics millions of kids christmas toys german cars european steel airplanes and canada's cow and dairy products he says these nations cheat and play the trade game unfairly manipulating their currencies and dumping their products onto america's market since winning the elections in 2016 donald
trump has tweeted about tariffs 177 times that's right 177 times so what's the obsession all about fortunately we have 3 van task that people in the room have the answers to these questions they are and faster carla hills former u.s. trade representative and current chair of the national committee on us trying to relations filipe president of the economic policy institute in washington and before that chief of staff of the a.f.l.-cio the largest federation of labor unions in the united states and probably the world and jim glassman former u.s. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy founding executive director of the george w. bush institute and one of the most prolific authors on economic and trade issues that i know it's great to be all with all of you and i really want to get into this trade issue carla and i think it would be put particularly appropriate for you to set the stage for us where are we to day. what is the united states trying to achieve and you know what's your take oh the president has
a crowded trade agenda without a question he's tried to negotiate with japan and has agreed to a mini deal he has talked about negotiating with europe and he is talked about doing and finishing the u.s. m.c.a. with our 2 northern and southern neighbor that the us mexico canada agreement right out is right and it is the upgrade of the north american free trade agreement which he disliked and he is negotiating with china although that's really not a trade negotiation that is a dispute settlement so with $28.00 days left in the legislative calendar it's a crowded agenda to try to get before january and europe china us mexico is the united states winning in these disputes. what i would urge the government to seek is open markets that is we have benefited for
70 years on free and open trade with partners around the world and by increasing our trade we have also increased our possibilities of development because when poor countries trade more they reduce their poverty it has increased our security as we make friends we have gravitated more to a bilateral approach which isn't one that i would recommend but the trade agreement that probably is most on the agenda today is the u.s. m.c.a. us mexico canada trade agreement and we'll see if we can get that through the congress there's still some issues that we're working with the members of congress . i think the problem is timing if you let me ask you the same question and have you set the stage but from a slightly different perspective you've worked
a lot with labor workers a different side concerned about environmental and labor standards so is donald trump pushing the right buttons for your crowd well donald trump is clearly identified a problem that needed addressing which is unfair trade big trade deficit outsourcing of jobs corporations treating folks badly and moving jobs offshore but i'm afraid that the the solutions that he's put forward are too chaotic and they're not focused enough and they're not coherent enough to actually get the job done so he is addressing unfair trade but china but doing so in such an erratic and unfocused way that it's not clear that either the chinese government or u.s. business is know what they need to do differently in order to get past the tariffs he has renegotiated that nafta the north american free trade agreement that was long overdue he identified problems that it had been festering for some time. but if you like where the u.s. embassy is going i think there are some improvements in the u.s. m.c.a.
but there's a lot that needs to be done still particularly with respect to enforcement and whether the commitments that have been made on labor are going to be enforced and enforceable or not whether they're sufficient so i think folks are looking at that and they're still negotiating honestly you're sort of happy but not super happy not super healthy but let me ask you this question which i don't get about president trump in trade right now. to certain degree someone found some notes that he had written where trade was mentioned and he scribbled on the sidelines bad trade is bad. do you think american workers and those that have been critics of trade deals in the past particularly in the c.e.o. and some of your other colleagues who are in alignment with the president because when i when i hear that word trade is bad and i look at the volume of trade that the united states does so right now in 2018 we had $3.00 trillion dollars in exports $2.00 trillion dollars in imports so whether you like trade or not it's
a huge number and a huge degree of jobs and capacity the question is is trade bad does that create an alignment worth workers and is there an understanding of how consequential that economic activity is for them i don't think most workers would say trade is bad i don't think that's the right way of looking at it i would say trade policy u.s. trade policy has been mis directed has had the wrong priorities for a couple of decades now that we have put too much emphasis on corporate profits and mobility and flexibility and not enough emphasis on good jobs on workers' rights and environmental on consumer protections on democracy protections and so i would say our trade policy has been. misguided and has been flawed but you know the year is 2019 obviously we're going to be in a global economy obviously we're going to trade of course workers benefit from exports as well as from imports the question really is what kind of a global economy do we want to live in and when we when we negotiate
a trade agreement whether it's a bilateral trade agreement or multilateral rules or whether we even decide how we're going to enforce our own trade rules we are basically defining the terms of competition for the global economy that's a super important question and it's one where we need to align with the rest of the world we need to have reached a common agreement that it's not ok to export goods made by prison or slave labor or child labor or by workers who don't have the right to organize a union and when we come to those agreements whether it's through the international labor organization or through multilateral environmental agreements trade policy can reinforce those commitments we've made to each other in the global global arena and that is important for the terms of competition harley you're republican the president is republican who do you agree with more on trade today the president or theo lee. well i would pick as a bouquet some from each i think trade is enormously important i think it's
enormously important for workers just take our north american region we have become the most competitive in the world we have created 14000000 jobs as a result of our opening up the market our exports have gone up and our supply chains have strengthened and it's been a win win situation are there changes i at the very beginning i thought the the north american free trade agreement should be updated because so much has happened in the last 20 years we didn't have digital trade you didn't have a cell phone you didn't have the kind of television that your. and so we have to have or. rules to cover and it only be more rapid that the change occurs where i'd anthea may just agree is i think that trade has been good for the workers but we have been deficient in training them to deal with the change that is
the technological change and that is we are remiss in not and that is going to happen more rapidly you know i used to go on the floor of out of company and it looked like new york 5th avenue it christmas time i mean you could barely get through today you go and it's quiet there are 3 people in long smocks and buffers on their shoes they tell you to walk in a roadblock absolutely it is all done electronically we have 7000000 jobs in the united states that are un filled that are looking for trained workers i'm not talking about a college degree i'm talking about 25 weeks of training and we should be posting all the open jobs the salaries and providing a stipend to get you from where you lose your job to where there is a job that you want and then
a stipend for the 25 weeks and the company that needs you would pay you it would pay for itself because you would pay more in taxes you kind of like the marshall we like big ideas here jim glassman speaking of time before cell phones you wrote an article 19 years ago that i found and it's oh it's a wonderful reminder of where the republican party and really the united states sort of was on trade i want to read just a section is called the blessings of free trade was written in 1980 you were about 4 years old i think and it starts why do americans trade with people in the rest of the world the basic question seems to be lost today in the political debate over trade deficits fast track negotiating authority in the world trade organizations americans trade because doing so allows. us to concentrate on what we do best thus raising productivity and incomes and you go on just tell the story of what treated sheaves and how it is at that time being pilloried i'm interested to know how you think that debate and challenges have changed 1000 years after or we pretty much
running around chasing you know at the same way it's just a disaster i think what you're seeing with this administration of all the things that it has done that have been criticized i think its trade policy is probably the worst maybe immigration is kind of tough but he the president has a trade adviser who is a tremendous outlier peter navarro very very few trick economists would agree with his point of view which essentially is that we have to have bilateral equality with everybody that we trade with which is an absurd proposition that was easily refuted by adam smith and 776 i mean one of the problems as far as i'm concerned with trade economics is almost everything is already been decided it's already been done this is actually not very hard we should be trading with the rest of the world we should be trading at the lowest possible terrorist probably 0 terrorist we need to
understand that we trade not for exports we trade for imports we can't eat exports this is a point that building friedman made many many many years ago and we can see the consequences already we're seeing the consequences of the president's policy declining manufacturing and i would have one of the things. i think that trade is a basic human right i think i have the right to exchange my labor. labor and my whatever i produce with anybody i want anywhere in the world unless unless there's a national security issue involved otherwise it's a freedom that i should be able to enjoy just like my freedom of speech freedom of assembly i should be able to exchange that those those products that i can produce yeah and you better come up with a good reason for me not to be able to do that yes but when you trade you do so under certain constraints and rules and there are rules around financial
transactions around intellectual property rights around other things honesty and so on and so if when we set the rules of the trading system if we set them only for the convenience of the profits of multinational corporations i'm not talking about multimedia as they have in. the national it's all i hear from labor it's i'm an individual i may work for a corporation i may run a company whatever it is it's on the one who's doing the production i should be able to sell that to somebody in san francisco or somebody but just what do you do if you're an innovator an option a bit what if that is completely the foundation is not the way to do it right if you're and you know if it looks well proper you're going to want to protect james glassman absolutely and i have 3 right so i mean you have rules that so i think and i really question part of the tension we have today over china and i think this is where president trump has been applauded by many surprising trading partners of the
united states on one hand i had a forum not too long ago right had the ambassadors of france and singapore and canada and in a way they all said that what president trump was doing with china that was engaged in lots of predatory trade practices that were creating complications on the intellectual property and strategic targeting i just wonder do you think. think they are misplaced and applauding trump on that or i think that i think trade structures trade agreements and karl is the expert on this can be used to achieve other end such as the protection of intellectual property rights such as perhaps a child labor that sort of thing right absolutely but there are real serious consequences that let me just tell you one the president put national security using national security as an excuse he stopped he put 25 percent tariffs on steel so i'm an advisor to a steel 2 to the largest nail manufacturer in the united states that i just the
natural dislike pounding yeah yeah and they use their you steal right and they don't use any steel they use very little steel for the united states because we don't make that kind in the united states and make rag on a steel so this company's. workers a good went from 500 to 300 the company almost went out of business it took 9 months to get an exemption from these tariffs and obvious that's sort of a political gift that's given so that's the problem you can't you can't do everything through trade because there are huge disruptions that occur as a result ambassador hills i would say that. the administrator your question was is the administration correct innocent malice with china and i would say that analysis is all right there's no question that china has not given us national treatment and treated us in a nondiscriminatory fashion basic norms of the world trade organization that we were a leader in creating a $995.00 having said that i think the perception of correcting those ills was
wrong because i think if we had joined hands with europe japan south korea canada and mexico representing as a group more than 60 percent of global g.d.p. china would have listened very carefully and it would have been extraordinarily difficult for it to turn its back i think we would have had a deal by doing with it dealing with it bilaterally i think that we have fractured our opportunities for success so america has become a smaller paid player absolutely to figure out a larger would you would certainly best bet i was and i was a rodeo is the real problem is go and has said i want to agree with carla on that point i think is a rare moment. this work i think building alliances is really important particularly when we're dealing with china and with china's unfair trade practices around illegal subsidies around violations of norms and so having having like
minded countries working with us definitely would have made that more effective and instead what the trumpet ministration has done is it has alienated a lot of our allies in the trade front so i think that was a mistake and i think that was wrong and it got and let me just say when the results are as a result of our tit for tat tariffs china has through raised its terror. against us 20 to 24 percent while it's reduce them to others before the debate started we were all paying. 8 percent and it's reduced it down below 6 percent for everybody else up for us is 24 percent this doesn't make good economic sense i just i found this great quote from you i just want to highlight the other day apparently you spoke to the u.s. trying to business council and feeley said in quotes trump is using that tool tariffs to haphazardly in
a way he's not sending clear messages to either business communities or to trading partners lease at the summit she added he's burning the meaning you use burning bridges with a lot of trading partners which is going to cost us over the long run i don't think i've ever heard a labor leader issue that kind of critique and i find it interesting that you find the the the practice of just throwing tariffs around we heard donald trump has tweeted the word tariff on $177.00 times this is an obsession for him it's a very central issue i think tariffs can be an effective tool and i think one thing that donald trump has demonstrated is that the u.s. did have more leverage in the u.s. china relationship than we have admitted or used over the years and so. when we have such an imbalance trade relationship with china and i would say that's an important factor it doesn't not that to say that we have to have balanced trade with every every partner but right these size and their level of imbalance of our relationship with china should tell us there's something wrong in that relationship which is that the chinese government is not playing by the rules but that that
imbalance relationship means that we actually have more leverage than the chinese government does and we have used it i wish we were using it to a more coherent purpose jim we haven't talked much about american consumers i did mention christmas coming up but apparently he waived the sanctions on those on those toys and lights and trees coming from china but are american consumers being thrown under the bus right now yes and consumers are number one that's that's what policy should be directed toward is helping to consume the consumer that is what we were consumer american individuals i think it's a better way. to put it they you know policy should be directed towards allowing people individuals to live a better life a more prosperous more meaningful life absolutely that's number one i think this president doesn't quite understand that except maybe for christmas time and he's worried about either particular interest groups or this kind of gaming you know we
have to when we have to it's actually consumers who count and that's when the blessings of trade are basically bestowed upon consumers and again that's something that i'm smith figured out i mean i i'm not very good i probably couldn't do my own dry cleaning ok so i go to a dry cleaner to do it and i do other stuff and i pay the dry cleaner i don't have to do everything and that's the same thing with the united states we should be concentrating on what we do best we don't have to do everything in very short form thank you i would love you to prognosticate to look ahead into your crystal balls and take a look at whether things are going to get dramatically better and we will move past this time or you're going to see deterioration what the consequences of that are i was just reading about the smoot hawley tariffs and what they did and i been interested in why we haven't seen a similar collapse in markets and confidence in the american economy so one question is do you think things will get better and is this going to eventually hit
the real economy of the united states in a way that has not hit before yet most economists say yes they're very worried about what this is doing you know we are not moving in a way to create greater opportunity and fear mentioned leverage that the tariffs give you leverage and i would say joining hands with like minded nations gives you leverage and knowing china i would say that there's no way it could turn its back on an aggregate 60 to 70 percent of gold. g.d.p. and if they did it say well we're going to use the nullification an impairment clause in the we're told another show. in the world trade organization in your out and you'll be happy high tariffs you won't get the w t o benefits believe me we would have had a good solution and it was a magic moment because china's economy was softening they're moving from
a export heavy industry down to a supply to and consumer economy and so it could have been a win win for them and for us thank you fia well i think it depends what we do next i don't i don't expect much more from this administration i would just point out that consumers are important but consumers are also workers and if they don't have money in their pockets they can't be good consumers and a lot of the benefits of the kind of trade policies that we've done have not really gone to consumers they've gotten profit margins to the big retailers and importers and multinationals and so i think you know we have a chance to remake our trade policy in a way that is in a globe in global solidarity with workers in other countries lifting up workers' rights dealing with climate change the pressures of time climate change figuring out how we're going to deal with international tax policy so that we can afford to invest in infrastructure in skills in this country and in social say but in the bottom line is so far you agree with jim glassman that things are fragile things
are very fragile jemison very fragile and i think we're already we're already feeling it i mean this this economy would be growing at least a half a percentage point greater than it is right now and it's going to get if this continues it's going to get a lot worse there's no doubt about it thank you i'd like to thank you all for being with us ambassador carla hills former u.s. trade representative and c.e.o. of hills and company filipe president of the economic policy institute and ambassador jim glassman author and consultant former undersecretary of state great to be with all of you. so what is the bottom line try. has been shelling out billions upon billions of dollars to subsidize american farmers he's embraced tariffs and he shoots them at friends and foes alike workers be damned consumers be damned but to be fair he's letting christmas toys in trouble might want to turn the united states into an even bigger export powerhouse than it already is but he has no strategy to get there he can wreck this system but he hasn't been able to build a better one yet and that's the bottom line.
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