Frihandel i media vecka 44

Bara engelskspråkiga nyheter denna vecka. Bolsonaro, nytt liv för TPP och Tony Abbots syn på Brexit. 

2018-11-01

Al Jazeera skriver om Brasiliens nyvalde president Jair Bolsonaro. På handelsområdet är signalerna fortfarande oklara, men i vilket fall bättre än befarat: 

”On the foreign policy front, Brazil’s relationship with China, its largest trade partner, appears likely to be in Bolsonaro’s crosshairs after his repeated warnings about aspects of Beijing’s investment in the country.

Bolsonaro has been very critical of China, whom he has accused in the past of trying to ”buy” Brazil. Earlier this year, while still a candidate, he also visited Taiwan while on a trip to Asia, ruffling feathers in Beijing.

Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Braganca, a heir to the Portuguese Imperial crown and an adviser to Bolsonaro, also tipped to possibly lead the ministry of foreign affairs, meanwhile, has warned the new administration will reevaluate the terms of Brazil’s membership of Mercosur, a regional economic and political bloc also comprised of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

”Today, Mercosur is a hindrance to free trade,” Braganca told Bloomberg on October 17, three days before Bolsonaro said he was in favour of ”bilateralism where possible”.

Proposed finance minister Paulo Guedes also told reporters Sunday night that the South American trading block Mercosul ”would not be a priority”.

(—)

Brazil is barely crawling out of its worst economic recession on record. While unemployment has fallen slightly in recent months, it still remains stubbornly high at more than 12 percent with economists seeing no quick fix for a recovery.

To that end he said he will appoint Paulo Guedes, an ultra-liberal economist and banker, trained at the University of Chicago, to head his planned economic ministry.”

 

2018-10-31

Var har hänt med TPP? Svaret är att avtalet återuppstått som Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) genom att elva länder har gått vidare med avtalet utan USA:

The Japan Times skriver:

”The progression of a sweeping 11-member free trade agreement was met with concern among the nation’s farmers Wednesday, with many expressing their anxiety over a possible influx of imports stemming from the agreement that’s set to enter into force Dec. 30.

Australia earlier in the day became the sixth nation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, fulfilling the requirements for the tariff-cutting framework to take effect.

Tatsumi Dejima, a 60-year-old farmer in the village of Sarabetsu in Hokkaido, said the deal was ratified by member countries “rather fast.”

“If cheap dairy products start coming in from overseas, consumers will probably choose the imports. I fear it would be too late if countermeasures are taken after we start to be affected,” he said. Hokkaido produces half of Japan’s raw milk.

In Kagoshima Prefecture, which raises the largest number of pigs in Japan, Michio Ushidome, the head of an association of farmers of black pigs, expressed doubts about the touted benefits of the pact.

“Small farmers like us are unlikely to enjoy benefits from it,” he said, adding he hopes the rift between the pact’s signatories and the United States, which pulled out of the framework in 2017, would not grow to affect exports of Japanese farm products.

“We want (the government) to make sure it takes support measures if pig-farming businesses begin to feel the crunch,” Ushidome said.

Other farmers, including rice producer Mitsuo Ota in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, also worry about lower tariffs.

“It is something the government decided in consideration of the country’s trade overall. No matter how much we farmers oppose it, we have to follow the decision in the end,” Ota said.

The business sector, in contrast, welcomed the pact’s expected entry into force.

“It is an enormous achievement. We, as corporate managers, very much welcome the move,” said Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, commonly known as Keidanren.

Nakanishi said that even though he can understand the reasons behind the United States’ withdrawal from the framework, Japan needs to promote free trade deals.

“People should understand each country has its own circumstances to consider,” Nakanishi said.

Japan, the largest economy in the deal, is one of the five other countries to have ratified it, along with Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam have yet to finish their domestic procedures.

 

2018-10-27

Tony Abott, tidigare konservativ premiärminister i Australien, ser Brexit på lite avstånd i The Sptectator:

”It’s pretty hard for Britain’s friends, here in Australia, to make sense of the mess that’s being made of Brexit. The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn’t seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it’s baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny.

Let’s get one thing straight: a negotiation that you’re not prepared to walk away from is not a negotiation — it’s surrender. It’s all give and no get. When David Cameron tried to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership, he was sent packing because Brussels judged (rightly) that he’d never actually back leaving. And since then, Brussels has made no real concessions to Theresa May because it judges (rightly, it seems) that she’s desperate for whatever deal she can get.

The EU’s palpable desire to punish Britain for leaving vindicates the Brexit project. Its position, now, is that there’s only one ‘deal’ on offer, whereby the UK retains all of the burdens of EU membership but with no say in setting the rules. The EU seems to think that Britain will go along with this because it’s terrified of no deal. Or, to put it another way, terrified of the prospect of its own independence.

But even after two years of fearmongering and vacillation, it’s not too late for robust leadership to deliver the Brexit that people voted for. It’s time for Britain to announce what it will do if the EU can’t make an acceptable offer by March 29 next year — and how it would handle no deal. Freed from EU rules, Britain would automatically revert to world trade, using rules agreed by the World Trade Organization. It works pretty well for Australia. So why on earth would it not work just as well for the world’s fifth-largest economy?

A world trade Brexit lets Britain set its own rules. It can say, right now, that it will not impose any tariff or quota on European produce and would recognise all EU product standards. That means no border controls for goods coming from Europe to Britain. You don’t need to negotiate this: just do it. If Europe knows what’s in its own best interests, it would fully reciprocate in order to maintain entirely free trade and full mutual recognition of standards right across Europe.

Next, the UK should declare that Europeans already living here should have the right to remain permanently — and, of course, become British citizens if they wish. This should be a unilateral offer. Again, you don’t need a deal. You don’t need Michel Barnier’s permission. If Europe knows what’s best for itself, it would likewise allow Britons to stay where they are.

(—)

Finally, there’s no need on Britain’s part for a hard border with Ireland. Britain wouldn’t be imposing tariffs on European goods, so there’s no money to collect. The UK has exactly the same product standards as the Republic, so let’s not pretend you need to check for problems we all know don’t exist. Some changes may be needed but technology allows for smart borders: there was never any need for a Cold War-style Checkpoint Charlie. Irish citizens, of course, have the right to live and work in the UK in an agreement that long predates EU membership.

Of course, the EU might not like this British leap for independence. It might hit out with tariffs and impose burdens on Britain as it does on the US — but WTO rules put a cap on any retaliatory action. The worst it can get? We’re talking levies of an average 4 or 5 per cent. Which would be more than offset by a post-Brexit devaluation of the pound (which would have the added bonus of making British goods more competitive everywhere).

UK officialdom assumes that a deal is vital, which is why so little thought has been put into how Britain might just walk away. Instead, officials have concocted lurid scenarios featuring runs on the pound, gridlock at ports, grounded aircraft, hoarding of medicines and flights of investment. It’s been the pre-referendum Project Fear campaign on steroids. And let’s not forget how employment, investment and economic growth ticked up after the referendum.

As a former prime minister of Australia and a lifelong friend of your country, I would say this: Britain has nothing to lose except the shackles that the EU imposes on it. After the courage shown by its citizens in the referendum, it would be a tragedy if political leaders go wobbly now. Britain’s future has always been global, rather than just with Europe. Like so many of Britain’s admirers, I want to see this great country seize this chance and make the most of it.”

 


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