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Governor Kasich: Refusing to Ratify TPP Risks America's Role as the World Leader
By Ohio Governor John Kasich in the Washington Post - October 12, 2016
Does the United States still have the ability - or the will - to be the undisputed global leader, a role it has held since World War II" It's a question to be answered soon by members of Congress as they approve or reject an initiative to give the United States expanded access to 11 countries that represent more than a quarter of the world's trade, while leveling the playing field for US workers and businesses.

How they vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will affect the course of the United States" security, prosperity and global influence for the rest of the 21st century and determine whether we advance or retreat from our leadership role at a time of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty. For me, the only common-sense direction is forward, because trade is the foundation of peace. Not only will the TPP promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but also it will help maintain the United States" essential strength in that hemisphere at a time of increased Chinese and Russian assertiveness.

Since World War II, the United States has maintained its global leadership by building alliances that helped us fulfill our most important responsibility " protecting Americans militarily and economically " and then sharing those responsibilities and protections with our allied democracies. "Leader of the Free World" was more than a motto we proudly wore in the Cold War and beyond; it was our pledge to the world's democracies and repressed peoples alike that the United States would never let them down. That's why congressional approval of the TPP agreement is so essential to the United States" continued leadership across the world, as well as to its security at home.

Don't be fooled by divisive talk in the presidential campaign that the TPP is only a debate about trade. At its very core, this agreement is about making sure the United States continues to strengthen its essential alliances and is willing to sustain its standing as the global leader, something we have done for more than half a century.

While China and Russia - and dangerous client states such as North Korea and Iran - jockey to outmaneuver everyone else and gain a dominant hand for their global schemes, there are fast-growing, independent nations looking to partner with the United States and thereby bring their strategic, economic and political values into alignment with ours. That list begins with the initial TPP partners, but as many as 10 additional Asia-Pacific economies have expressed interest in joining.

The last thing we need is for these thriving markets to come to believe they can't count on US support, pushing them instead into economic and geopolitical relationships with China or Russia. In the event of our inaction and loss of resolve, the United States will surrender global leadership to our most aggressive rivals, dictators who have the most to gain: Vladimir Putin, Russia's latter-day Stalin, and Xi Jinping, the most repressive Communist Chinese leader since Mao.

That's why the TPP agreement enjoys full-throated, bipartisan support from America's most respected national-security leaders, including former defense secretaries Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Donald Rumsfeld and former secretaries of state Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and James Baker. They echo the stance of former president Ronald Reagan, who had it right when he said, "the freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides of human progress and peace among nations." Reagan knew that when people trade together, it binds them together and promotes peace.
As a governor and former member of Congress who served for 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee, I am convinced that the TPP agreement will strengthen those alliances, helping attain the peace and progress Reagan spoke of and achieved through his own insistence on U.S. leadership and resolve. We cannot turn our backs on that legacy or abandon this opportunity, because expanding trade is about more than growing our economy; it's also about ensuring our national security and asserting the United States" willingness to stand tall against those who wish us ill.

It's been more than 250 days since these 11 countries came together to sign the TPP agreement. As each new day passes, we should be concerned that the world's doubts grow stronger about the United States" willingness and ability to continue its historic role. It's time for members of Congress to put aside partisan politics, resolve their differences and ratify the deal. Their vote will send a message to the world that we are the global leader, today and forever.


Why Rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Would be a Colossal Mistake
BY JAMES STAVRIDIS in Foreign Policy - OCTOBER 6, 2016
At a recent White House meeting, President Obama assembled an eclectic cast of characters: the CEO of IBM, one of the largest corporations in the world; a trio of serving politicians from both parties comprising the mayor of Atlanta and governors of Louisiana and Ohio; a former secretary of the Treasury; a recent mayor of New York City, and the dean of a graduate school of international relations and former supreme allied commander (that's me). Despite wildly divergent backgrounds and political affiliations, everyone in the room agreed on one thing: the value of free trade globally, with particular urgency on the need for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The president was measured, analytical, and pragmatic. In describing his recent trip to Asia, he kept reflecting on the constant refrain from our allies, friends, and partners: The United States was absolutely needed in the region. Washington has spent seven years negotiating this massive agreement (some 6,000 pages and 30 chapters) signed in February that would level the playing field in terms of trade, working conditions, and the flow of goods among a dozen nations ? all good allies and partners to the United States. China, he said, was seen increasingly as a bully, using a combination of economic statecraft, hard-power moves in the volatile South China Sea, and territorial claims around the region to coerce behavior.

The deal on the table has one last chance of passing - the lame-duck congressional session after the November election. With both presidential candidates vowing to either reject or completely renegotiate the agreement over domestic competitiveness concerns, the moment is shaping up to be the American version of a Brexit from the Pacific region. Indeed, it's impossible to not hear echoes of this summer's surprise popular referendum, in which the United Kingdom decided to walk away from the vast European free-market trading zone over a combination of immigration concerns, fairness arguments about protected domestic industries, and irritation over imposed regulatory regimes. It was a serious geopolitical mistake for Britain to walk away from the European Union, and it would be equally serious for the United States to leave the TPP on the table and effectively walk away from a leadership position in Asia.

The case for the TPP is economically strong, but the geopolitical logic is even more compelling. The deal is one that China will have great difficulty accepting, as it would put Beijing outside a virtuous circle of allies, partners, and friends on both sides of the Pacific. Frankly, that is a good place to keep China from the perspective of the United States, and the treaty thus brings together not only Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other Asian partners, but also Chile, Mexico, Canada, and Peru. The obvious missing member from Asia is South Korea, but indications are clear that over time South Koreans will want to be part of the agreement. This will be relatively easy to facilitate as South Korea already has a robust bilateral trade agreement with the United States.

The free-trade debate will continue to be part of the presidential election cycle as both candidates disavow the pact and seek to maximize votes in states that have been hit by job losses. While most economists point to the broader economic good engendered by free trade generally, the individual pockets of pain caused by heightened overseas competition become strong drivers in an election season. But in time, free trade grows the entire economy and creates a net increase in employment. The answer for individual segments of society that are disadvantaged is additional education and training that allows a pivot into new jobs. Broadly speaking, that has been the trajectory of previous trade agreements both here in the United States and abroad.

What is particularly compelling about the TPP, however, is the geopolitical argument in its favor. Three key points are especially salient:
China is on the march in Asia. Beijing intends to claim essentially the entire South China Sea as its territorial waters, based on preposterous historical arguments soundly rejected by international courts. It continues to build artificial islands, destroy reefs, and practice hybrid maritime warfare with unmarked sailors in "fishing boats" intruding aggressively into Japanese, Philippine, and Vietnamese waters. China clearly intends to be the dominant actor in East Asia, and absent a strong U.S. presence, it will succeed. An Asia dominated by China does not serve U.S. interests for a host of reasons, especially given the economic vitality of the region.

This is a moment of real vulnerability for many Asian nations. The unpredictable Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is watching this potential U.S. Brexit from Asia and already talking about increasing military ties with China. Vietnam, historically wary of its massive neighbor to the north, frequently discusses its vulnerability with U.S. leaders. Japan is rattled by Chinese activity around the Senkaku Islands, and even South Korea - which maintains strong ties with China - is worried about Beijing's seeming reluctance to rein in the behavior of its client state, North Korea. A U.S. failure to maintain a strong economic presence in the region - highlighted by the TPP - will have significant negative effects on our political and diplomatic position over time.

Sending U.S. aircraft carriers is not enough. Some would argue that the United States can exert all the influence it needs to by simply sending enough Carrier Strike Groups sailing through the western Pacific. That kind of simplistic "show the flag" argument doesn't work in the 21st century; we are more than 100 years on from Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. A nation's influence is the composition of its military, cultural, political, and - above all - economic influence. As the leader of what would be the largest free-trade zone in the world, the United States would continue to exert real leadership in this crucial region.

While China is outside the TPP, membership in this exclusive club will only increase in value over the coming decade. Although China may bridle initially were the deal to come to fruition, the incentive to be included should have an ameliorating effect on its behavior over time, and provide a path to build a bridge to what will soon be the largest single-nation economy in the world.

Over 2,500 years ago, during the Zhou dynasty, the philosopher-warrior Sun Tzu wrote the compelling study of conflict The Art of War. There is much wisdom in that slim volume, including this quote: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." The United States can avoid conflict best in East Asia by using a robust combination of national tools" with the TPP at the top of the list. Looking across the Atlantic to the Brexit debacle, we must avoid repeating the mistake in the Pacific.

The clear winner if the United States rejects the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be China, and an increasingly authoritarian and regionally dominant President Xi Jinping will be cheering the loudest.
Details: Jones, Ashley A. EOP/USTR Meredith_A_Jones@ustr.eop.gov

US Treasury Implements Termination of Burma Sanctions Program
United States Treasury Department - 10/7/2016
Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order terminating the national emergency with respect to Burma, revoking the Burma sanctions Executive Orders, and waiving other statutory blocking and financial sanctions on Burma. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are no longer in effect. These steps fulfill the announcement made by President Obama during the visit of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, stand as a testament to the far-reaching changes that Burma has undergone in the past few years, and are intended to support efforts by the civilian government and the people of Burma to continue their process of political reform and broad-based economic growth and prosperity.

"Burma has made significant strides in recent years, including choosing a civilian-led, democratically elected government," said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Lifting economic and financial sanctions will further support trade and economic growth, and Treasury will continue to work with Burma to implement a robust anti-money laundering regime that will help to ensure the security of its financial system."

Termination of the Burma Sanctions Program
Executive Order (E.O.) ______ of October 7, 2016, "Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Actions and Policies of the Government of Burma," terminated the national emergency, revoked E.O.s 13047, 13310, 13448, 13464, 13619, and 13651, and waived financial and blocking sanctions in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions on Burma administered by OFAC are no longer in effect. This includes the following impacts, among others:

. All individuals and entities blocked pursuant to the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (BSR) have been removed from OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.
. All property and interests in property blocked pursuant to the BSR are unblocked.
. The ban on the importation into the United States of Burmese-origin jadeite and rubies, and any jewelry containing them, has been revoked.
. All OFAC-administered restrictions under the Burma sanctions program regarding banking or financial transactions with Burma are no longer in effect.
. OFAC will remove the BSR from the Code of Federal Regulations.
. Compliance with the State Department's Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements is no longer required by OFAC's regulations and is now voluntary.

The termination of the Burma sanctions program does not impact Burmese individuals or entities blocked pursuant to other OFAC sanctions authorities, such as counter-narcotics sanctions. They remain on the SDN List, and their property and interests in property remain blocked. Further, pending or future OFAC enforcement investigations or actions related to apparent violations of the BSR when in effect may still be carried out. This Executive Order terminates all OFAC-administered restrictions and authorizations under the Burma sanctions program pertaining to banking with Burma. This includes the OFAC general licenses issued in 2012 and 2013 that authorized certain correspondent account activity with Burmese banks.


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