Join LibertyNation.com’s Andrew Moran and Tim Donner on Trump’s tariffs, 3D chess, and free trade vs. multi-lateral and bilateral deals.
Hi, this is Tim Donner joined by Andrew Moran, the economics writer for LibertyNation.com for what promises to be a lively discussion about trade.
Andrew you and I disagree on the tariffs that were imposed by President Trump, 25% on steel 10% on aluminum, however, as we go forward here, we see that Trump is using these tariffs as something of a negotiating point.
We see what he’s done with Canada (your own Canada) and Mexico, so wouldn’t you say as much as you’re opposed to tariffs that they do provide the president as something of a matter of extra leverage in trade negotiations?
Well, I have heard the argument that Trump is playing a game of 4d chess / underwater Hungry Hungry Hippos, blindfolded handcuffed, but I can’t go into his head.
I hear that argument a lot. I hear it when historians talk about what other presidents did, what they were thinking at times. All I know is that he’s presented his tariffs, he signed them and exempted Canada and Mexico so far, and he is considering it other countries, but for the most part, I just disapprove of tariffs.
Okay so we’ll agree to disagree on tariffs as we do on baseball (that’s an inside joke), but let’s talk about the World Trade Organization. There’s word that what Trump is deliberately blocking the appointment of judges to their very powerful appellate court which settles trade disputes. The WTO leaders are getting very nervous. What do you make of Trump’s strategy regarding the World Trade Organization which includes 159 members?
Well, you and I will agree on this one. You wrote a great piece this morning, and in it, you mentioned how the WTO is concerned that he may dismantle the organization.
I can only hope that he does.
When he said on the campaign trail that he wanted to abolish NATO or at least leave NATO that would step in the right direction. The WTO is another monster, a chronic monstrosity, that should be left entirely.
There’s a long, detailed history of place order international groups like the WTO.
I remember during the Woodrow Wilson era he wanted to adopt the World Trade Council. Thankfully, the free trade advocates at the time disapproved of it. And then there was a time during the Truman administration when he wanted to establish the International Trade Organization. Unfortunately, they got GATS, and then about 40 years later they adopted the WTO.
The WTO’s only goal is to expand its power, scan over jurisdictions, erode national sovereignty. It only benefits the well-connected. It benefits crony capitalists or corporations. It doesn’t benefit real free traders, and it doesn’t help small businesses.
The World Trade Organization council oversteps their boundaries.
There was a great example that happened during the Obama administration with India.
India had developed its solar power manufacturing program, but the green energy businesses that were subsidized by the Obama administration complained to the US government. The US Government were forced to send their private firms, to take this developing country that’s trying to become prosperous (India) and they took them to the WTO court. Then the WTO Court ruled in favor of the US subsidized energy firms.
These governments get billions of dollars, these exceedingly large corporations get billions of dollars every year, and then they slam the small private Indian companies. It’s ridiculous.
Well, I think you and I agree, as do most conservatives and libertarians, that free trade is a good idea.
The problem is that so many conservatives term agreements like NAFTA as “free trade” when they aren’t. Free trade is a much more simple proposition than multilateral deals, and it seems that the correction the Trump administration is using is getting away from these multilateral deals and towards bilateral deals.
The difference being in one case with multi-laterals you’ve got to compromise for the sake of several other countries, with bilateral deals you’re negotiating one-on-one with individual countries. Does that not seem like the most sensible way to advance the ball when it comes to trade?
Your first point, when you say that NAFTA or the WTO or GATS are not free trade deals but just euphemisms. Because if you look at when politicians are talking about taxes, they always talk about how its investment. With government spending, it’s always an investment in the future, and we have to contribute to these investments make everyone prosperous.
But trade agreements like NAFTA and WTO only benefit a few people. Crony capitalist businesses, the well-connected elites, the globalist governments, bureaucrats.
The bilateral trade deals that President Trump is trying to is trying to impose it’s a much smarter approach because a one-size-fits-all trade of trade pacts will only benefit again those very selected few. Small businesses people will not benefit because they won’t get the perks that are usually found in trade deals.
One example I like to use is when President Obama removed the trade embargo on Cuba.
When he did that, it only benefited banks; it only benefited his friends, it only benefited celebrities. If I wanted to go down there and buy Cuban cigars or if you want to go down you couldn’t do that because you weren’t you weren’t exempted from the trade embargo.
So, it’s just government “at its best” only helping its double campaign contribution or campaign contributors and helping globalists.
It’s about time that President Trump and or the US government general you use bilateral trade deals or better yet get rid of trade deals entirely just have simple free trade. No government-management, no central planning. I can go down to Mexico I can buy shirts, and then I can go back to the United States mark up the prices, and that is free trade
Well, I would love to see that to Andrew, but I think we’re going to grow a lot of gray hairs waiting for that to happen.
Thanks for joining us and thank you, sir.
That is Andrew Moran. We hope you’ll read more of his excellent, excellent writing on economics on LibertyNation.com I’m Tim Donner and this is LN TV.