The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) say new “clarity” from the government on trade rules after a no-deal Brexit show how “disastrous” the consequences would be for farmers in Northern Ireland. The union president, Ivor Ferguson, said there has been “confusion” amongst farmers here on the rules that would apply if the UK leaves the EU without an overall trade deal.The UFU said Brexiteers had promoted trade tariffs known as ‘Article 24’ of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade but Mr Ferguson said they had “misunderstood the rules”.The EU and UK currently have no tariffs and no customs checks. However, our future trading relationship with the EU will incur more friction. If there was an agreement to maintain the status quo under the provisions listed in Article 24, we could only do so if the future relationship delivered the exact same removal of barriers as now. This is something the EU is very unlikely to agree to. They … [Read more...] about UFU welcome move to end farmers’ no-deal ‘confusion’ on post-Brexit trade rules
General agreement on tariffs and trade
Labour advocates have long complained that international trade agreements are driven by corporate agendas and pay little attention to the interests of working people. The preamble of the World Trade Organization Agreement mentions the objective of “full employment,” but otherwise labour standards remain outside the scope of the multilateral trade regime. The only exception is a clause, left over from the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the precursor to the WTO), which permits governments to restrict imports that are produced with prison labour. Regional trade agreements, by contrast, have long taken labour standards aboard. The linkage in these agreements between preferential market access and adherence to core labour rights has become increasingly explicit. In the original North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1992, labour standards were shunted to a side agreement. Since then, US trade agreements have typically included a labour … [Read more...] about Can Trade Agreements Be a Friend to Labour?
The European Commission has proposed opening formal talks with the United States in order to address President Donald J. Trump’s repeated accusations that American farmers are not getting a fair share of the EU’s beef market. The EU executive will ask European Council for a mandate to discuss with Washington a review of the existing quota to import hormone-free beef into the EU. Brussels has said that it “remains committed to delivering on the spirit of a Joint Statement” from July 25 by Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Trump “to launch a new phase in the trade relationship between the European Union and the United States”. According to the EU, both sides should step up their efforts to work on all “outstanding trade issues”. Brussels has said that further negotiations with other supplying countries may be needed to ensure that any change to the rate quota with the United States is in line … [Read more...] about European Commission proposes formal talks with US on beef market
Gregory Korte USA TODAY Published 10:36 p.m. UTC Aug 30, 2018 WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened to upend the rules of global trade on Thursday, saying he would pull out of the World Trade Organization unless it adopts rules more favorable to the United States. “If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,” Trump told Bloomberg News. Trump has long been frustrated with the WTO, which sets the standards and rules that govern other international trade agreements, and provides a forum for resolving disputes. He specifically wants the Geneva-based body to take a tougher stance on China's steel dumping and theft of U.S. intellectual property. But Trump's remark on Thursday marks his most explicit threat to withdraw from the WTO yet. Just last month, he expressed a desire to work with other countries to reform the WTO from within the organization. "WTO has treated the United States very badly, and I hope they change their … [Read more...] about Trump escalates his threats to blow up trade deals: ‘I would withdraw from the WTO’
In his book, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," John Perkins detailed the pernicious and destructive economic strategies deployed by Global North powers, and the institutions that represent their interests, against countries in the Global South. The term economic hit man is used to describe the role of individuals, like Perkins himself, whose assigned role is to produce, create or invent out of thin air the needed financial projections and plans to legitimize the rationale behind disastrous and destructive projects in countries in the Global South. The intent behind the economic hit man activity is to sink countries in the Global South deeper into debt, dependency and foster the elite's corruption then use international trade and legal institutions to claim their natural resources and funnel massive amounts of wealth to the Global North. The mechanism for achieving this destructive outcome is a sophisticated well-stitched infrastructure of corporations, banks, foreign policy … [Read more...] about Economic hit men and jackals: The destructive tools of empire