Trade Gurus & Public Affairs Mavens

Sun Sentinel Endorsement – None of the above

The Florida Sun Sentinel has refused to endorse any of the GOP candidates.

Their reasons seem sound. Marco Rubio should fare better in his home state but seems to be paying for trashing former Governor Jeb Bush, the Sentinel’s early choice.

The condemnations of Rubio – gets elected and doesn’t go to work – yesterday’s views on issues important to Floridians. Elected to the senate and started running for president. Reminds one of a Chatty Cathy doll.

Many Floridians would find Cruz scary, Cruz doesn’t understand military bombing technique. The evangelical card does not play well in Florida. John Kasich’s campaign is uninspiring. Too little too late.

The Donald attracted the usual complaints and condemnation but his appeal is not dead. Like Senator Bernie Sanders, he has tapped into anger and dissatisfaction driven by growing inequality. The elites ignore this at their peril.

I am in Canada so am missing the bombardment of negative attack ads in Florida. Beating up on Trump seems to solidify his support.

Will voters Trump has attracted stay with the process if he does not or cannot? Would Sanders Blue collar supporters migrate to Trump?

Michigan should set the tone for March 15.

Obama Notifies Congress of Intention to Sign TPP

President Obama has decided to play hardball with Congress on timing of the TPP Debate. Today he notified the Chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee of his intent starting the fast track clock ticking.

This is a risky tactic given that important legislators, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R Utah), urged the President to allow Congress to review the text before notifying his intent to sign.

According to the Administration here is the road map for the TPP process going forward, the next steps before TPP is signed by President Obama, and before Congress then votes on the agreement.

*There will be 90 Days for Public and Congressional Review Prior to the President Signing the Agreement: While TPA requires the full text of the agreement to be publicly available for 60 days before the President signs the agreement, the text will be publicly available for  a full 90 days — before the President signs TPP.

*Additional Resource for Analysis and Review: Once the President signs TPP, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the potential economic impact of TPP that will also be made available to the public.

*Submitting Legislative Text: In advance of Congressional consideration, the Administration will submit draft legislative text to Congress that would implement the agreement, if passed by both houses of Congress. The legislative clock for consideration will not begin until the Administration sends final legislative text to Capitol Hill.

*Congressional Consideration: After legislation is submitted, per the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, the House of Representatives and the Senate each have a certain number of legislative days to consider the legislation in the committees of jurisdiction and on the floors of each chamber.

*Presidential Notification: If both houses of Congress pass the TPP implementation bill, the President then is empowered to sign the implementing legislation into law. The President will notify Congress in writing 30 days in advance of the agreement taking effect with respect to each of the 11 other TPP countries, once the President determines that each meets its obligations under TPP.

The battle lines are being drawn. But those who wanted to see the text before committing will be able to review it.

President Obama has thrown down the gauntlet. It is a high stakes gamble.

Stay tuned for the fallout.

Canadians invited to comment on TPP

Canadians have been invited to comment on the agreement at:

Many will glaze over quickly reading the extensive legalese in the 6,000 page plus TPP text and side letters. Here is the consolidated text from the TPP Repository in New Zealand.

The US Administration has provided a user friendly text which annotates the terms of the agreement tries to simplify the benefits from an American perspective.

In the current mood in Washington, the Administration with neither admit nor highlight any costs – it is, after all, the total deal which matters.

Canada earlier provided Technical explanations from a Canadian perspective.

The Government is inviting lot of feedback – and while it may be difficult to cope, it certainly reflects an openness and inclusiveness which has been missing from the earlier process.

Nothing startling yet – wine lovers will be pleased and Canadian Whiskey is protected. And BC’s log export ban has not been lifted – but its future could be the subject of WTO litigation.

This is a massive deal about nearly everything.  I will be analyzing, so stay tuned.


Full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Released

Canada’s side letters are now available here…

The full US text is available here…

Understanding Canada`s Trade Agenda

There will be no lack of challenges for Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his newly elected team in shaping Canada’s trade agenda.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the highest profile.  Though it requires urgent attention, there are other important issues in play.

The Liberal government will have willing and capable helpers in the trade bureaucracy.  Having their advice sought – and considered – is both refreshing and encouraging.  Not to mention the catalytic impact of losing their PMO watchers.

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On TPP, it’s all about the devils we don’t know

For years, informed debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement has been hampered by secrecy, too little detail and too much hype.

The TPP text is undergoing detailed technical work on tariff schedules and legal scrubbing. The definitive text will have 15 side letters. There will be a co-ordinated release when it is ready. That won’t be for weeks.

In other words, Canadian voters won’t know a thing more about this deal when they go to the polls on Monday than they do right now.

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Will the TPP survive Congress?

ATLANTA — The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have led to an agreement. The talks were declared finished and a success by the 12 participating countries after a marathon five-day ministerial meeting in Atlanta.

The final package delivered by the TPP Ministers is very extensive. Amb. Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative, said it is more than just an agreement in principle, and what comes next — the translation and scrubbing — are not negotiations. It is technical work.

The final differences which dogged the ministers in recent weeks and through the final blitz this weekend were addressed with a mix of ingenuity, pragmatism and co-operation.

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Chile and Peru balk at TPP’s treatment of intellectual property

ATLANTA – Japan’s trade minister Akira Amari briefed Japanese press prior to lunch that agreement in principle has been reached the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership.

It would appear that the main reason the TPP remains only an agreement in principle is that Chile and Peru will not permit the intellectual property chapter to be closed. They will not support the U.S.-Australia compromise on biologics reported earlier today.

No further details at this time. We expect a press conference later this afternoon.

Stay tuned….

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TPP talks bogging down, meltdown alert

ATLANTA — The Spinmeisters are once again hoist on their own petards.

What was being spun as done is not – at least not yet. What was supposed to be ready for the big reveal Saturday morning is now on hold. Now it’s ‘maybe tomorrow, maybe not.’

The closing press conference was to be at 4 p.m.. Talks are now scheduled to extend into Sunday, which Japan on reluctantly agreed to. The talks appear to be tracking for another Maui Meltdown.

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TPP all done but for the shouting

ATLANTA — Ministers and negotiators have been working around the clock on the-Trans Pacific Partnership to meet an October 3 target. After more than 20 rounds and five years of almost continuous negotiation, the U.S. and the other 11 countries are preparing to shift into implementation mode.

In Canada, the Harper government is preparing a blitz to deliver the good news — and only the good news — to Canadian voters at a crucial point in the election campaign.

Representatives of big business are heading back to prepare for a celebratory roll out beginning with Perrin Beatty’s press conference on Parliament Hill first thing Monday morning.


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