Free trade or rigged trade?

Donald Trump has promised – or threatened –  to cancel the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, to pull out of Nafta, to take action against Mexico and to name China as a currency manipulator.  Markets and governments are now waiting to see how many of these he does in his first hundred days.

He will be told that he has to work within US and international law, and abide by the rules of the World Trade Organisation. He can pull out of the Pacific trade agreement. . He can give notice to quit Nafta, but will need subsequent legislative change from Congress and the Senate. He can open new proceedings against Mexico if he has evidence of trade violations. He does not appear to have the evidence to claim that China has been a currency manipulator under international trade law. There are no signs that China has been consistently intervening to get its currency down in recent months.

If he adopts the Republican proposal for reform of company taxation, that in itself will provide a substantial tax based boost for US exports and a hit to imports into America. The idea behind the party scheme is to exempt exports from their revised business tax, but to ensure imports carry its full force.  Some say it is not compatible with WTO rules. The Republicans disagree, and the USA has more clout in international bodies like the WTO than any other country.

Globalists and free trade enthusiasts are concerned lest Mr trump’s America first agenda prompts retaliatory actions and makes protectionism fashionable. People on  both sides of the Atlantic who have seen their jobs go or their wages cut thanks to low cost competition from Asia or Latin America will be egging him on.

 

 

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91 Comments

  1. Trumpeter
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Mr Trump’s opinions are not self-generated. They were generated way back by a kind of think-tank of Republican business leaders which he openly referred to in his very early rallies. Few here listened it seems, given the ignorance about Mr Trump even of high-up Tories. A number of persons he mentioned are now appointed to his team.They already worked out a strategy months ago.
    Our media as with all political discourse focuses on the Leader. He does appear very strident. That is his leadership style. Personally, politically, few would believe this, he is a moderate with M writ as he could say: bigly .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      He was very strident in the American version of The Apprentice, much more so than Alan Sugar over here. It seems to be his style, but then it was also the style of most of the contestants which is why I never watched more than snatches of it.

      • formula57
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        I persisted and watched a half dozen or so episodes. As with Sugar, I think we would be wrong to assume the posturing buffoon of the TV programme is the real man: I earnestly hope so anyway.

        Trump’s lack of experience in political management could be the source of his undoing though.

    • Hope
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I suggest TMay does something PDQ if she wishes to remain on good terms with Trump and the US it appears our security services and ex members have done a fine job in making themselves and our country look stupid. Kate Hopkins is very good and a worthy read. It still needs to be established because of events like these why Sawer was having dinner with prominent EU fanatics including Campbell.

      It appears to me the security services, as well as the civil service, is infested with left wing ideology and is doing our country much harm.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        It’s the sort of left wing that Lenin warned of in the 1920s-the ascendency of parasitic,bureaucratic,bourgeois elements cloaked in socialist clothing-ie the Blair-Clinton tendency.Not really left wing at all.

      • NA
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I suggest TMay does something PDQ if she wishes to remain on good terms with Trump

        >
        Why have we got MI6 writing dodgy dossiers to try and interfere in the US election? Because the CIA asked them to? I see the BBC is still out of control running daily smear pieces.

    • Chris
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Well said, T. Our government ignorance was due, I fear, in large part to the role that Kim Darroch, our ambassador, played.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I fully agree with you.I believe the same is true of Mr Putin(if anyone thinks he is an extreme nationalist,they do not appreciate the range of opinion in Russia) and the omens for an age of peace and prosperity are good once(and hopefully not if) the vested interests can be dislodged.

      Incidentally,Arron Banks was the guest of George Galloway on his Sputnik show on RT this morning.It’s the first time I’ve seen him interviewed and giving his views on a range of topics – Trump,the EU,nationalisation of key monopolistic industries,etc.It’s well worth watching -it was a real love-in (rather like last week’s show with Peter Oborne) and illustrates how close the radical right and radical left are on a number of issues.

      Perhaps our host should follow in their footsteps-I’m sure many contributors/readers here would tune in for a Galloway-Redwood discussion,especially as RT has become an essential part of the media mix and seems to be scaring the life out of the Anglo-American Establishment.

  2. Der arbeiter
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Globalists and free trade enthusiasts are concerned lest Mr trump’s America first agenda prompts retaliatory actions and makes protectionism fashionable ”

    Mr Trump has stated frequently at his rallies and I paraphrase “I’m all for free trade: we love free trade. But it must be honest…”
    He then led on to various questions about what constitutes free trade but the bottom line as he stood in front of 15,000+ voters each time, very many times, was that it must not put Americans out of work.

    Academics, pundits, theorists on Free Trade, Nafta etc lose the political perspective somehow. Unemployed Americans with hunky dory nicey-shiny trade agreements made by their politicians, will make sure such agreements will have the “can’t do this, can’t do that clauses” bombed out of them if necessary . And hasn’t the Democratic Party just discovered that!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May also says she and the Conservatives “will always believe in free trade”.

      But not it seems for central wage controls, employment laws, sugar taxes, housing, transport, health, education, long term care, dentistry, energy production, food, pensions, planning & land use, green crap grants, Co2 production, housing deposits, long term care, airports, workers on boards, gender pay, lagoons …….. and in loads of other areas too.

      So where exactly do Mrs May’s and The Conservatives actually believe in free trade?

  3. turboterrier
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Is it not a case of demand and supply.

    When you have over a million on the dole, the majority are demanding jobs to give them a life back that they have some measure of control on their lives instead of living on handouts.

    Is it not their expectations that the government supply the opportunities to enable the expansion of business and industry to enable them to find meaningful jobs? To those millions they are not concerned how it’s done they just want it done. These people had a significant impact on the presidential result in the states.

    • Chris
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      “… These people had a significant impact on the presidential result in the states…” and rightly so. The globalists have been riding roughshod over ordinary people merely it seems to create more wealth and power for themselves.

  4. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence.

    People on both sides of the Atlantic who have seen their jobs go or their wages cut thanks to low cost competition from Asia or Latin America will be egging him on.

    A spokesperson for the Netherlands was moaning about just this last night with people from eastern Europe undercutting wages in the flower industry there. Same in England with agricultural jobs. Its not that British people won’t do the jobs. It’s just that they cannot exists on the pittance being offered by farmers because they can take on Eastern European at such a low rate of pay.

    Not once has immigration levels been mentioned on the BBC talking about the NHS. No mention either of the Labour government allowing doctors to work less hours for more money. This must have had some kind of impact even if it isn’t the whole answer.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Too late, they should have spoken out and put pressure on Merkel when Cameron was publicly arguing for restrictions on EU migration and she was saying that freedom of movement of persons is a fundamental founding principle of the EU so if you don’t like it then you can either lump it or you can leave.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/01/daniel-kawczynski-brexit-our-eastern-european-allies-didnt-back-us-up-in-the-past-so-may-cant-put-her-faith-in-them-now.html

      “Daniel Kawczynski: Brexit. Our European allies didn’t back us up in the past, so May can’t put her faith in them now”

      “Since we will be taking back control over our borders and our courts, we can only hope to stay inside the EU single market if like-minded countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Dutch, the Swedes and the Danes, are willing to fight the Brussels establishment with us and demand wholesale European reform. The overwhelming evidence, after years of trying, is that the political will and courage simply is not there.”

      • getahead
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        “Stay inside the single market”. Is that the same as continued membership of the single market which comes with EU membership payments, free movement of personnel and subjugation to the ECJ?
        If so, this is no different to the EU membership which we have just voted to opt out of.
        So we don’t want none of that

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          According to Sky News May will “threaten” to take the UK out of the single market unless the UK gets control of immigration. She shouldn’t do it like that; she should just tell them that we are taking back control of immigration and ask them what they want to do about trade. Leave it to them to say that if we insist on controlling immigration into the UK then they will needlessly obstruct the existing UK-EU trade.

        • bratwurst
          Posted January 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          @ getahead
          Staying in the single market means re-joining EFTA. We therefore would not make ‘EU membership payments’, we would only contribute to the running costs. We would be able to control inward EU immigration and be out from the ECJ.

          As an interim measure it gives us what we want while we work towards a long term relationship. It also means we are out of the EU.

          So it is different from EU membership and we do want some of that:)

          • bratwurst
            Posted January 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, should have been ‘running costs of the EU single market’.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 16, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            “We would be able to control inward EU immigration”

            I think not.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Local people worked happily in the fields getting up at 4am to climb into vans to be taken there. They were not, however, prepared to live in the lodgings provided by the new gang masters.

      • hefner
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        And who are the gang masters?

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          Otherwise known as ‘agencies’. Usually with Eastern European supervisors.

          I’ll wager that there is not one person on this site that would have done the work even under the previous terms – let alone take a drop in standard of living on an already modest income when there is the welfare alternative.

          • hefner
            Posted January 15, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            And who are the agencies? Are the people running these agencies not British?
            I just wonder whether it would not be time to address these questions properly. Why is it that British farmers or British road hauliers or British construction companies rely on foreign nationals for their lowest paid jobs?
            Is there not a problem with British “youngsters”? Is there not a problem with the British owners of these companies?
            Why have successive governments not addressed this type of problems?

          • Anonymous
            Posted January 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            Hefner – The problem is the welfare net or mum and dad prepared to keep kids in perpetuity.

          • hefner
            Posted January 16, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Anonymous,
            “… welfare mum and dad prepared to keep kids in perpetuity”
            Where do you live, what are you reading/watching to have such ideas?
            In my little corner of England, I see people with “unqualified” youngsters whose only recent prospects were to find a Christmas season job selling China-made gadgets, or a Primark/Matalan cashier position, or an unpaid job in one of the five (5!) charity shops which have opened in the precinct next door over the last three years. The Lidl/Aldi stores recently opened have both recruited 10-12 part time shop assistants. There may be 10-15 times as many candidates. Same ratio between candidates and actual positions in the new IKEA store on the outskirts of Reading.
            Contrary to what you seem to think, not all youngsters/young adults want to stay with Mum and Dad. On the contrary.
            And all this in a corner of the “blooming” South East of England.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      We have a National Minimum Wage and a Living Wage (both set to rise again in April 2017)

      Farmers CANNOT take on Eastern Europeans “at such low rates of pay”

      Where the problem exists in Agriculture is quite straightforward . These jobs are seasonal and last for only a few months. Any UK worker taking these jobs lose their housing benefits etc so its not worth their while to do the work. They are what the left call zero hour contracts and most people who dont understand what that means moan about ( albeit being less than 4% of jobs market).

      We have massive skills shortages in the UK, wages are still rising and we have as of today 14/1/17 751,000 unfilled job vacancies .

      The problem isn’t jobs or well paid work, the problem is workers without the right skills and that is as a result of years of political interference and trying to send everyone to University. We do not have enough trade and vocational skills and just so you know implementing Grammar schools will NOT fix that.

      We need a radical reform of our education and our welfare system

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Not quite that simple, the agricultural workers get minimum wage but food and accommodation is generally supplied by the employer or gangmaster. This is charged at commercial rates so the take home pay is much less.
        In some cases the take home pay can be as low as £3 per hour. This is from our local car washer who started life as u cabbage picker.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Ian Wragg

          Might happen some places but of course its illegal under Gangmaster licensing rules. Its illegal under minimum wage laws and where I am the agricultural workers are NOT supplied by “gangmasters” on the whole. Although the definition of what is a gangmaster is incredibly loose. A traditional employment agency supplying temp workers into this sector has to comply with “gangmaster licensing” but as an Employment Agency employs people on PAYE basis they have full legal working entitlement and protection anyway.

          I would suggest that your car washing cabbage picker reports them to the authorities

          You can find out how it actually works here

          http://www.gla.gov.uk/who-we-are/what-we-do/

          You can choose to handle employment opportunities based on a few illegal operators or you could actually address the real problem

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Far too many go to university in the UK and then get saddled with large debts for pretty worthless degrees and skills. I would say about 80% UK university degrees are fairly worthless. Most people would have been better off working the three years while acquiring real and in demand skills.

        This often applies to the brighter ones too. It is not education that makes people bright, they just tend to take the brighter ones one. Outside a few rather over protected professions that is.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          LL

          The stats are now quite clear apprentices earn greater average wages than graduates

          Problem is getting young people ( and their parents) to undertake apprenticeships

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 15, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            Hardly surprising, what is in more demand a good roofer, plumber, mechanic, crane operator or electrician or someone with a degree in gender studies, lefty politics and women’s history from the University of East Bognor or something similar?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 15, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Except perhaps for employment at the BBC or in the state sector!

  5. Full of Glum
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    We are sure Mr Carney, BoE and Chancellor Hammond, UK government, have not manipulated British currency (Not as defined under WTO rules ). Oddly though Mssrs Glum by being glum and ramming fiat currency into the system have coincidentally brought the Pound down which coincidentally has benefited exports at a time when Mssrs Glum coincidentally wished the currency to go down.
    Coincidentally China’s currency, recently, has remained stable, which is what China’s Mr Glum-Ho wished to happen.
    It seems the UK and Chinese governments are eating the same fortune cookies, coincidentally of course.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Guess we will find out after he has been in power for a few months.

    One thing is sure, he is talking tough to set out his stall in preparation for any negotiations or actions he may undertake.

    Shame most of our politicians do not show some similar confidence about our own position with regards to the EU, instead of being defeatist about leaving and before we even start to talk.

  7. Mark B
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    If there is one thing that the POTUS-elect can do, not just for his country but for the whole world, is to kill, once and for all, the climate change scam !

    That, and that alone will make America, and the world, great again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Indeed and he has a sensible agenda to do that, see the link below. A shame we do not have some energy realists with a grasp of engineering and economics in charge of energy under T May.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      @ Mark B

      OMG you are soooooooo right.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed if he does what he promises on energy and drains the swamp and climate alarmists and pushers of the global warming catastrophe religion it will be a huge gain for the world economy.

      A shame Mrs May has not grasped the energy reality yet. Still at least she seems to have finally worked out the GPs are deliberately making it hard for people to get appointments nor giving them anything like enough time or care either. Thus putting large additional pressures on A&E’s. The absurd way they are remunerated is the cause. The system will never work as currently structured, you have to change it.

      The best way is to start to make a small charge to all who can pay and lower taxes to compensate.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Let us hope free trade wins out in the end, as I suspect it largely will.

    Good to hear Owen Patterson on any questions, having the courage to talk some rare truth about the NHS and climate alarmism religion. Such a shame he is not in government, when such a lot of misguided, lagoon loving, expensive energy, pay controlling, interventionist and over taxing lefties are.

    The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos – H L Menckin

    Let us more for more of them and hope that Trump really does kill the warming exaggeration industry dead. At least he has a clear an sensible plan and he is not even in office yet.

    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/energy

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Whereas Theresa May still seems to be dithering on almost everything subject while largely remaining invisible. Worst still she seems to be taking totally the wrong direction – where she is actually taking a direction at all. On say HS2, Hinkley, wind and pv subsidies, lagoons, taxation, the dire NHS, the sugar tax, wage controls, tax levels, stamp duty, IHT, workers/customers on company boards, gender pay reporting ……

      She seems largely to be Ed Miliband (indeed almost Corbyn like). This while bizarrely claiming that she and Conservatives will always believe in “free markets”.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Owen Patterson has proved to be an effective minister both as NI Secretary and in charge of environment and rural affairs. He certainly expresses scepticism regarding man made global warming, and it was presumably this that led to Cameron demoting him from Environment Food and Rural Affairs, though his Euro scepticism did him no favours. His climate scepticism is a breath of fresh air in a politician, and he is a champion. to us Eurosceptics.

    • hefner
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Interesting Menckin’s comment, LL. It would be good if you could apply it to yourself.

    • zorro
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it is good to see a clear commitment to energy self sufficiency and more/better paying jobs as a result of its production. Such a shame that we do not see that confidence in Brexit matters from our leaders (unlike JR) or energy matters so that we do not have to crawl to/excuse the actions of certain ME nations…… If only we had a decisive, confident, positive leader instead of dithering, ‘low energy’ T May who seems more concerned with her wardrobe than preparing for a better, independent future!

      zorro

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Indeed her selection of impractical shoes, leather trousers, workers on company boards and enforced gender pay reporting are clearly far more important to her.

        Things such as a sensible quick Brexit, a functional cheaper energy policy, a sensible fiscal system, a bonfire of red tape, sorting out the disfuntional NHS and getting the suffocating state out of the damn way are clearly are way down her priorities.

  9. ChrisS
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    If we had had the freedom to act as the US has, a British Government could have made it very clear to Ford that to move its Transit factory out of the UK to Turkey would have been a bad move for the company as well as this country. It was the expansion of the Turkish Transit factory that directly led to the closure of the Southampton Transit plant with the loss of 1400 UK manufacturing jobs. The expansion in Turkey, incidentally, received substantial funding in the form of soft loans from the EU !

    That move also demonstrated like no other that being outside the so-called Single Market is no barrier to trade as it took place before there was even a hint of a referendum on our membership and even if there had, nobody would have bet on one being won by the Leave side.

    Companies respond positively to governments that stand up to them hence Ford’s change of mind over moving small car production to Mexico. The Ford move will create 700 new jobs in Michigan, a direct result of President-Elect Trump’s intervention.

    If he can repeat the exercise in other fields he might just confound his critics ( and the absolute torrent of anti-Trump rhetoric from the BBC this week ) and end up as popular a President as Ronald Regan.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    This is only a Guardian report of an alleged leak from minutes of a meeting with the man who has not yet been officially appointed as the EU’s chief negotiator, however:

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/13/eu-negotiator-wants-special-deal-over-access-to-city-post-brexit

    “EU negotiator wants ‘special’ deal over access to City post-Brexit”

    It seems that “cherry-picking” can be OK, provided it is being done by the EU.

    It might need some care to avoid infringing those WTO rules which supposedly prohibit sectoral trade deals, but I expect there could be some kind of deal whereby:

    1. Businesses in the EU retain the present level of access to financial institutions in the UK, and vice versa of course;

    2. The EU provides an unambiguous treaty guarantee that there will never be any renewed attempt to remove euro clearing and similar activities from the UK;

    3. There is nothing in the deal which impinges upon the UK’s control of immigration;

    4. The UK has unilateral reserve powers to shut off the capital spigot under exceptional circumstances.

  11. Richard1
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The British government needs to work hard to ensure that Trump does not pursue the ridiculous protectionist line of his campaign, but focuses on tax reform and a more sensible approach to energy. That will boost the US economy.

    • zorro
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      He will definitely focus on the latter two, but will not allow the US jobs market to be disadvantaged unnecessarily like it is now……

      zorro

    • David Price
      Posted January 16, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      And what of Germany? they have always followed a protectionist agenda. Merkel reiterated this stance at her party’s latest conference yet there has been no comment from our MSM or “liberals”.

      However, when Trump or even a UK politician presses for the same stance as Merkel & co everyone is throwing tantrums.

      See article “merkel-dusts-off-old-slogans-for-new-approach-in-election-year” on dw.com which is Germany’s international broadcaster

  12. Iain Moore
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The Spectator ran a column by David Green of Civitas here he looked at Chinese trade, amongst other things the Chinese currency manipulation…’.Often world prices are not market prices and this is especially true of Chinese export prices. China manipulates its currency by forcing exporters to save their US dollars in the form of Chinese government bonds denominated in dollars. The dollars are used to buy US Treasury bonds and other US assets, thus pushing up the exchange rate of the dollar.’ this and other areas gives China a trading advantage.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/donald-trump-right-take-action-china/

    I believe we are mad allowing China, a totalitarian state, to have the same trading terms as democratic states.

  13. Antisthenes
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Trump is economically illiterate as are most of the rest of us. He and we believe trade is all about employment when it is in fact nothing of the sort. It is about getting the best deal for consumers and at the same time ensuring the most efficient use of resources and the best and economical methods for providing our goods and services. Protecting producers leads to cronyism, malinvestment and not best quality or price. Creating monopolies/socialist states being the ultimate protectionism which the left love so much and you only have to look at the likes of the NHS, Network Rail, USSR, Cuba, Venezuela to see that protecting or having only one provider does nothing much for those it serves.

    Shifting employment patterns happen all the time not just from competition abroad. Just as easily it can be by others located within the same borders and of course by technological and other changes. For those who lose their jobs because of it it is not pleasant but we have devised methods to mitigate the worst effects, other job opportunities open up and for the rest of us the vast majority we gain goods and services at the best price and quality. What protectionism does is ensure many more jobs are lost and consumers are robbed of choice. The opposite would be the case if trade is completely free and not subject to any trade deals or regulations beyond ensuring that those who participate in it remain honest.

    If Trump carries out his trade policies expect a considerable impoverishment in the lives of the consumer. An increase in unemployment. An increase in crony capitalism and the malfeasance of corporate bodies which happens when government inadvertently or by design protect businesses from competition. The excesses of the banking sector was caused by badly designed government interventions. It created an environment which allowed bankers to abuse the system and not being anymore saintly than the rest of us they duly did.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I was interested to hear the New Zealand Prime Minister talking about threats to global trade liberalisation. I hope Theresa May explained to him, and will explain to other world leaders, that it is not us but the EU who plan to reintroduce unnecessary barriers to the existing well-organised and easy two-way trade, for purely political reasons and in direct contravention of their various international commitments.

    We should learn from the American revolutionaries, who understood the importance of winning the sympathy and support of other countries against the British:

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

  15. Anonymous
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    In the US and here it is wrong that jobs can be outsourced with the attitude that the state can step in with welfare. That is, in effect, a subsidy of the decision to outsource.

    If we have former industrial districts subsidised in dole then we may as well have kept them in subsidised work.

    The effect of outsourcing on the national spirit has been devastating manifest in the ‘shameless’ class and in stratospheric national debt.

    If we are going to put a glass bottom beneath poverty then it may seem compassionate but it is not engaging in the free market and it is not enabling people to compete nor be rewarded properly – certainly not the working poor who must compete with welfare recipients (with steadier incomes) for housing.

    It would take a brave and honest politician to do it and he would not last long. So let’s have subsidised work rather than subsidised unemployment then.

  16. Jeffery
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    One useful thing The Donald will accomplish is to force Big Media back from its Obamamaniac fake world, if only to counter his own fairyland. One very pernicious feature of this was the nonsense about a US manufacturing “renaissance”. Keen eyed media followers (not me thankfully) will have noticed this faded in the past couple of years. It was always hype, even in 2014. At best US manufacturing seemed to be recovering more quickly than most other western economies. But two, very quiet, revisions by the Fed in the past 18 months have knocked around 6% off manufacturing output 2010-2014, leaving it still (Nov 2016) well below the 2007 peak. No fracking driven boom. In fact, quite comparable to UK manufacturing over this period (not good!).

    There are definite grounds for some sort of action. Otherwise the US could become like the UK – no increase in manufacturing index for over 20 years.

  17. ian wragg
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    At last in Donald Trump we have someone who understands the ramifications of mass immigration and globalisation.
    The west is being hollowed out and displaced with the consent of the leaders, Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clintons and Barry.
    We now have a backlash as people see their lives destroyed by stateless corporations and
    jobs transferred to other countries without any taxes being paid.
    Trump may put an end to Agenda 21 which is designed to destroy the west for the benefit of the third world.
    Our populations are being hollowed out and soon we will not have the people to defend our values but will relentlessly impose their alien culture on us.
    As Ll says, lets hope he kills stone dead the climate change scam which is bankrupting us for no tangible gain.
    This morning we had a spokesman on for Swansea tidal barrage telling us that for the price of a pint of milk daily we can have dependable clean power. The problem is every project requires a pint of milk subsidy and on the dole or zero hours contracts we cannot afford all this milk.
    How much will it generate twice each day at slack tide. Naff all.
    Trump understands this and maybe, just maybe the tide is turning before we are completely neutered.

    • Chris S
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Unlike wind power, tides are totally predictable as would be the power output from a tidal barrage.

      Slack tides only create a problem if you build only one barrage. With a series of say, ten stations built 50 miles apart up the coast in the direction of the tidal stream, eight or nine stations will be generating power at any one time as the slack tide for each station will always occur at different times.

      You only need to look at a set of tide table to see how this would work in action.

      I recently read that in practice a chain of Nuclear stations, the most consistent source of electrical power, would normally only be generating power 50% of the time. I can see no reason why a network of Tidal barrages should not be just as, if not more productive. They may be cheaper to build and be no more expensive to maintain.

      We would have been far better off concentrating on nuclear and tidal generation with some domestic solar arrays and quietly forget about unreliable wind power.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Over three times the price of generating electricity by a gas fired power station and the tidal scheme will still need traditional power stations as back up.
        Those back up stations are then paid further subsidies for standing idle.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        If you check gridwatch nuclear power is and always has run circa 95%.
        The most consistent and reliable source.
        You can’t really wind magnox reactors up and down.

  18. Edward.
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    We must be careful here, Britain must trade and America is the market we must always aim to serve most and best but on real terms, in fair competition, we do not seek to be putting American workers on the dole.
    China sells us just about everything, we need to rebalance that situation, and ask ourselves is the Chinese market open to Britain and indeed the answer to that is negative.

    There is no ‘single market’ in the EU, the only place which might be described as a single market for EU goods is the UK but the economic freedoms we grant our ‘friends’ do never seem to be reciprocated particularly so in: France and evidently in Germany.

    WTO, it’s certainly not perfect but under the circumstances, it is the best bet for Britain and at least now we are coming out, at least we will have our feet under its [WTO] table and making decisions not just implementing what is handed down via Berlin-Brussels and that can only be a 100% improvement on what we have to suffer presently – which doesn’t amount to a whole heap of beans, because: in effect we are the whipped boys.

    Out of the CAP, out of the CFP, out of the straitjacket of the single market, things can only get better, come back Australia, Canada and New Zealand, some of us never forgot you. And America needs Trump like the camel seeks the oasis and as do we need America great again, YES for us too – here in the UK.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      ‘Great’ or greatness is an illusion. A myth. What we can achieve though is goodness – a country good to live in with warm, balanced human beings, with a sense of humour and who don’t take themselves too seriously, strong family life, job satisfaction, good health service, education, strong defence, and great arts etc ..

    • bluedog
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      ‘come back Australia, Canada and New Zealand, some of us never forgot you. ‘

      But once bitten, twice shy. After the EU debacle none of these nations will ever be completely unqualified in their love of Britain, they can’t afford to take that risk again.

  19. acorn
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    The trouble with nationalism / protectionism is, it always puts up the price of domestically consumed goods. On-shoring the manufacture of goods and services that you previously imported; using much higher onshore wage costs, just makes the same gizmo a lot more expensive, until that is, the high wages are replaced by robots.

    On-shoring only works if you can push down domestic wages to the level of those countries you previously imported from; or, you start running a closed economy. Pushing down wages is the basic cause of the little people voting for Trump and Brexit. In the latter case you could argue that we diluted the wages by immigration. As Paul Mason said about the UK low wage car wash economy: “Five guys with rags can undercut a machine that cost tens of thousands of pounds to build, because the entire economic system is geared to distributing the proceeds of globalisation upwards and its costs downwards.”

    Anyway, Have a read of https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/bulletins/quarterlysectoraccounts/jultosept2016 . Particularly, sections 7 and 8. Net lending (+) means a sector is in surplus to the other sectors. Net borrowing (-) means a sector is in deficit to the other sectors. The “national accounts” still insist that the government borrows its own money. The WGA accounts never explain how a totally insolvent government as depicted in its WGA accounts, continues to trade! (232 words). 😉

  20. Dominic
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Thank god we have Trump and Ted Malloch in our corner. Both strong Anglophiles and both deeply Eurosceptic

    And not forgetting a huge thank you to Obama for making direct threats against the British people prior to the EU-Ref. vote. His odious intervention helped us over the line

    You watch the EU come crawling to the UK in the next 2-3 years. We will have a US-UK trade deal in the bag thanks to Malloch.

    And we will have our freedom, sovereignty and independence back where it belongs, IN WESTMINSTER. I take enormous pride in that

    And thanks to Mr Redwood. Your appearances on various programmes arguing and batting for the UK in an intelligent, evidential approach exposes our enemies again and again

    They have propaganda and lies, we have the truth

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    JR, the fact that this lady is a Dutch citizen does not justify this clumsy, embarrassing and ignominious disruption of her life in this country by our government:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/14/dutchwoman-resident-in-uk-for-30-years-may-have-to-leave-after-brexit

    “Dutchwoman resident in UK for 30 years may have to leave after Brexit”

    It is seriously envisaged that she will be deported if the Dutch government behaves badly towards UK citizens resident in the Netherlands? If not, then why bring shame upon our country, and discredit our withdrawal from the EU, by saying that it might happen?

    This threat was made on the bad advice of Sir Ivan Rogers, as I recall; next week Theresa May will have an opportunity to retrieve the moral high ground by promising that there will no unfair treatment of well-behaved EU citizens who are already legally settled in the UK no matter what the governments of other countries may choose to do.

    • zorro
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Under what immigration legislation provision will they be able to throw out a legally settled foreign national? It’s nonsense, and politically inspired nonsense…..

      zorro

      • rose
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 12:19 am | Permalink

        The Consuls of Continental countries are going about frightening their nationals here, but it isn’t just politically inspired: lawyers are making a killing out of this new Project Fear.

        • zorro
          Posted January 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          The usual proverbial barnacles profiting from misery/fear…..

          zorro

    • stred
      Posted January 15, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it incredible how the Home Office is unable or unwilling to deport criminals and terrorists who return to the UK, but picks on Australian, American and now European people who have been living here with British families for years with no problem at all and supported by their friends. It is always on some technical point that they can be caught out, in this case by illogical interpretation of a new policy.

      Mr Goodwill should be ashamed of himself for signing off letters produced by idiot officials. Mrs May’s mistake in listening to EU mandarins instead of reading UKIP and Leave policies could result in British citizens in the EU being badly treated in return.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        It could have that effect. It is almost as if the UK authorities want to get their retaliation in first, but that could provoke genuine retaliation once other EU governments see their citizens being mistreated in the UK.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The USA can call the shots in many ways . Its Armed Forces and the spread of the influence they provide is real persuasion . I don’t blame Trump for heralding what he sees as priorities ; he – like all negotiators , will follow up in a regulated and businesslike manner .His biggest test is China ; I hope he will negotiate a meaningful relationship .

  23. cantreadcantspell
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    LL: Yes agreed. We are certainly looking for free trade winds to energise the off-shore wind farms in an attempt to light that one light bulb!

  24. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Trumps 100 day contract to the US voter kicks off fairly soon. In fact with the US EPA and Obamacare, its kicked off already. Trump has interviewed William Happer, Princeton Professor of Physics and GWPF member as regards climate cr*p. Lessons need to be learnt here in UK but likely won’t be! Mr Benn is a useless.

    Farage has already passed the interviews….LOL

  25. MyNameIsn'tDave
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It’s untrue to say that Trump wants to quickly pull out of NAFTA. His full policy on the issue is to renegotiate the agreement with Canada and Mexico, presumably with tighter regulations on movement of people, protections of US sovereignty and American exporters, who have been hardest hit by the agreement. He says if these aren’t met, then he will pull out of the agreement.

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Trump will be governed by the same dark forces that has plagued US politics, and by extension, global politics, since the creation of the US Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. He won’t be his own man. The last man who tried to be, fifty years later, never saw a second term.

    The USA is as corrupt as hell itself. It is absolutely rotten to the very core.

    Take it or leave it, but it’s the truth, and more people are beginning to realise that for themselves and are prepared to speak out against it.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see.
      It has to be an advance that people including are now beginning to speak out against corporatism, corruption and waste. People are now starting to vote for those who speak out. The scales are slowly being lifted after all this time.

    • zorro
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      The difference is that he knows what he is fighting against, and is making some appointments which will let those dark forces know that any action proposed or otherwise by them will seal their doom…..

      • Tad Davison
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        I live in hope Zorro! Because somebody needs to drain the swamp!

        Tad

    • hefner
      Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Trump as Bilbo Baggings or Harry Potter fighting Sauron’s or Valdemort’s Dark Forces makes for a pleasant Sunday read.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        I prefer works like ‘War is just a Racket’ by US General Smedley Butler, or maybe the YouTube film JFK to 911 Everything is a Rich Man’s Trick. I have never been able to see the world in quite the same way since.

        Tad

  27. am
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    https://twitter.com/OxfordEconomics/status/819122282115244032
    Some projections on gdp impact depending on nature of #brexit deal. OT but may interest.

    • hefner
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      am, you should be ashamed: advertising projections made by experts, and even worse, expert economists!

      • am
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        These projections are pretty good. Apart from the bottom range of the WTO option everything is in the plus relative to their baseline.

  28. anon
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    From countries with different rules, limited public provision etc.

    What checks are made to ensure equivalents plans are in place to encourage and ensure aim to reach high standards of the best (not just the west).

    It would be good to prevent exploitation and encourage proper government and democracy where the public will is not managed away by “anti-democrats” in positions of influence for the interest of others rather than populations as a whole.

    Our elected but “selected” makers of the law, and other institutions, need to be more accountable for their actions, they must have skin in the game not remain aloof & fully insulated from consequence.

    Judges can play their part but only too the extent they balance and check dubious legislation which is anti-democratic, dictatorial, and manifestly against the public’s wishes or plain common sense.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been reading the first report from the Commons Brexit select committee.

    It’s rather tedious, repetitious and outdated, but it does say some sensible things:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmexeu/815/81503.htm

    “A period of transition, or adjustment, is a factor in most trade agreements.”

    No need to get hysterical about that, provided we can be sure it will indeed be just a period of adjustment or transition to the final state that we want to reach, rather than to some unsatisfactory transitional state which later turns out to be the final state.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmexeu/815/81506.htm

    “Whilst the need for national ratification can undoubtedly delay agreements coming into effect, the delay can be alleviated if the agreement can be provisionally applied. Current agreements with third countries frequently include provisional application, such as the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement.”

    Again, a sensible point: all or most of an agreement may be applied just on a provisional basis for quite a few years without anybody getting too worried about that.

  30. zorro
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    John, every time I try and comment I get a requirement to enter some letters (CAPTCHA function). Is this happening for others?

    zorro

  31. bluedog
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s position on the TPP seems to be mis-timed madness. If he is worried about the increasingly threatening stance of China, both in the western Pacific and economically in terms of the US itself, abandoning the TPP is precisely the wrong solution. The TPP provides the US and its treaty partners with an economic prop to existing defence alliances and relationships, and as such, is part of a carefully crafted holistic strategy linking like-minded nations. One can easily envisage that if Trump does take the US out of the TPP, Japan and Australia will simply assume leadership. How ironic if Trump were to have a subsequent change of mind, only to find that he had to bargain with lesser powers to gain access to a US initiative.

  32. Jack
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    You’re looking at it the wrong way. Having a trade deficit is a net benefit to our prosperity and directly improves our standard of living, as imports are real benefits and exports are real costs. The purpose of exports is to get as many imports as you possibly can in exchange.

    If another country wants to engage in “currency manipulation” (aka drive their currency down), then let them! It means we get more imports to consume whilst having to export less of our output for others to consume. Win-win!

    Now you’re probably thinking, “but exports provide jobs? Won’t a larger trade deficit mean less jobs?”

    Jobs are lost because taxes are too high for a given level of government spending, not because of imports (from Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy by Warren Mosler). A current account deficit acts as a demand leakage and therefore the government needs to run a larger-than-usual budget deficit to fully accommodate the external sector whilst also promoting full employment and prosperity at home.

    This isn’t a problem operationally for a sovereign currency-issuer like the UK government, but unfortunately we still continue to reduce the budget deficit at our massive peril. The amount of lost output since 2008 is easily in the multi-trillions of pounds.

    • ChrisS
      Posted January 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s a long time since I’ve seen anything as perverse as the suggestions in this post!

      A trade deficit just means that more money leaves the country than arrives. The difference has to be financed by borrowing and the currency will depreciate as a result causing debt to rise even further. There is no long term positive benefit to running a trade deficit.

      In the private sector, jobs are lost because customers don’t buy enough of what the business is producing – be it product or service.

      It is also true that a business making sales might not be profitable because employment taxes are too high. While not exactly desirable, high employment costs do at least encourage efficient use of manpower but the downside is unacceptable levels of unemployment as countries like France have discovered.

  33. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I hope one of Mrs May’s announcements this week will be that UK is to assume an activist leading role in the WTO lobbying for free trade.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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