Frihandel i media vecka 10

2019-03-07

Karin Pihl, skriver på ledarplats i  Norran (Norra Västerbotten) om Emanuel Macrons ambitioner att bli Europas ledare. Ett av hans förslag har att göra med handel och Kina:

”I sin debattartikel målar han upp ett splittrat Europa. Missnöjet med EU, tydligast manifesterat genom britternas utträde, har två orsaker: politikernas tondövhet inför folket, och de nationalistiska missnöjespartiernas framväxt. För att öka sammanhållningen inom unionen lägger Macron fram en rad praktiska förslag under slagorden ”frihet, skydd och framsteg”.

Reformagendan innehåller både bra och dåliga idéer. Till de bra förslagen hör tanken om ett stärkt europeiskt gränsskydd. ”En gräns innebär frihet i säkerhet”, skriver presidenten, och menar att EU behöver omstrukturera Schengenområdet, stärka gränsbevakningen och införa en europeisk asylbyrå. Likaså ska försvarssamarbetet stärkas.

Klimathotet ska möta fler konkreta åtgärder, som en europeisk klimatbank för ekologisk omställning. Macron vill också se en ökad medvetenhet om att frihandel kräver tydliga spelregler. Utländska företag – läs Kina – ska inte få tillträde till den europeiska marknaden om det finns säkerhetsmässiga hinder för detta.”

2019-03-06

Simon Lester från den marknadsliberala think-tanken CATO Institute i Wahsnhington DC skriver i The Hill om att USA:s underskott i handelsbalansen har ökat både 2017 och 2018:

”The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that 2018’s trade deficit was higher than 2017’s, which was higher than the trade deficit in 2016. In fact, the 2018 trade deficit set a record of $891.2 billion for merchandise trade, with a $621 billion deficit for goods and services overall.

President Trump has spent his first two years in office complaining about the trade deficit, imposing higher tariffs and haranguing countries into opening their markets. And yet the trade deficit keeps rising. What gives?

In simplest terms, the answer is that the trade balance is tied to broader macroeconomic factors, and trade policy and tariffs have only a limited impact.

For example, at the core of Trump’s economic policy was a badly timed Keynesian stimulus: The administration cut taxes and increased spending. This can boost the economy in the short-term, and a booming economy means Americans buy more goods, including imported goods.

Combined with slowing growth in the economies of big trading partners, such as the EU and China, it is easy to see how the U.S. trade deficit is rising during a time of increased U.S. protectionism.

President Trump has:

  • imposed tariffs under traditional mechanisms such as anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguards;
  • used national security as an excuse for tariffs on steel and aluminum;
  • imposed tariffs on about half of Chinese imports; and
  • announced that he will raise tariffs on certain Indian and Turkish products by kicking them out of a program that lowers tariffs on imports from developing countries.
  • Yet the trade deficit keeps rising.

The lessons the Trump administration should draw from all of this are that it is not worth worrying about the trade deficit and that protectionism does not help. Bilateral trade deficits are particularly irrelevant, but even the overall trade deficit is not very important.”

 

2019-03-05

Efter nio år av förhandlingar har Indonesien och Australien ingått ett frihandelsavtal enligt The Diplomat:

”Annual trade between Australia and Indonesia in goods and services is valued at $11.6 billion. Though neighbors, their trade is relatively small, with Indonesia’s exports to Australia just 1.5 percent of its total exports. Indonesia, with 260 million people, is forecast to be one of the world’s biggest economies by 2030.

Australian Minister of Trade Simon Birmingham said the agreement “will take Australian and Indonesian relations to a new plane, one in which our economic and trade relations will be much deeper, stronger and richer for both our nations.”

Major details of the agreement were announced by Australia in September after leaders of the two countries said negotiations had been completed. The text of the agreement is expected to be released after the signing.

Australia says 99 percent of its exports to Indonesia by value will be tariff-free or have improved preferential access by 2020, up from 85 percent under an existing trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and 10 Southeast Asian countries. Indonesian exports to Australia will face no tariffs, but it already enjoys substantially tariff-free access to the Australian market under the Southeast Asia agreement.

The Australia-Indonesia agreement will allow Australian companies to have majority ownership of investments in various industries in Indonesia, including health care, telecommunications, energy, mining, and aged care.

Separately, Indonesia is considering allowing foreign companies to invest in higher education, which along with hospitals is an area where the country is lagging far behind international standards.

Australia’s live cattle exports are set to increase under the agreement, with tariffs to be eliminated and the number of animals exported to Indonesia allowed to increase 4 percent a year until reaching 700,000.

Australian working holiday visas for young Indonesians will be increased to 6,000 a year from the current 1,000 over six years.”

 


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