Monday, December 22, 2014

Pushing CHUSTIA: The China US Trade and Investment Agreement

Sean Miner doesn't reveal the name of the trade agreement he's suggesting the U.S. pursues with China, but it's name is CHUSTIA - The Comprehensive Bilateral China-US Trade and Investment Agreement.  You can learn all about it here, straight from the horse's mouth, in a presentation given by C. Fred Bergsten and Gary Clyde Hufbauer, coauthors with Sean Miner of the book, "Bridging the Pacific: Toward Free Trade and Investment Between China and the United States."

Bergsten mentions that job losses would be something like 150,00 per year for ten years in the United States, which he says will then be balanced by job growth in the industries with increased exports to China, most notably those in the services sector.  They refer to the job phenomenon as an "involuntary separation," but offer as a silver lining in their slideshow the fact that, "National economic benefits will reach $1.25 million in 2025 annually for each involuntarily separated worker."

The Peterson Institute for International Economics has a veritable roster of heavy hitting corporations, foundations, governmental types, and titans of finance and industry backing its research.  This is where real policy is created, Congress isn't even around half the time to pass this kind of legislation.  I mean, look at the TransPacific Partnership.  They want to give the Congress twenty hours to read the thing over before signing it.  Major international trade agreement - twenty hours.  And something like no revisions thrown into the deal, too.  Not to mention, there have been something like 800 special clearances granted for corporate and official access to reading the agreement.  But definitely not the Congress.  Why would you ever let the Congress read such an enormous trade deal like that?

Perhaps Bergsten and company envision one way the US might double its exports to China by 2025 is  by ramping up agricultural exports.  James Wolfensohn, ex-head of the World Bank was talking about this years ago, but his version of exports was allowing Chinese companies to start running large-scale agricultural operations in the U.S.

Like any of these broad trade deals, details and specifics are a must to understand what's being pushed and why.  Where are these trade negotiations removing Chinese barriers and why?  What U.S. economic sectors will experience the "involuntary displacement" Bergsten refers to and why?  Who, specifically, has earmarked funds for this research?  I'm sure some of these answers and more can be found here in the book.

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