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OpenMarket: Fran Smith

  • The Value of Trade

    June 3, 2015

    WTO's new video, titled “Trade matters to me,” captures the consumer value of trade on an everyday basis, from pants to fuselage. Reminiscent of CEI’s “I, Pencil,” the video shows how pieces of everything we wear and use are made available through international trade. And developing countries are a vibrant part of those activities, as shown by jeans that are sewn in Mauritius, leather from Morocco for shoes,...

  • Sen. Warren Gets Hit on Trade Issues

    May 20, 2015

    Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus (May 20, 2015) took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) contention that trade agreements are being negotiated in secret, with multinational corporations calling the shots. Warren, the populist flavor of the month, has been leading a campaign against trade deals and against Trade Promotion Authority, all in the name of confronting greedy multinational corporations and helping U.S. workers. 

    In her column titled “A bogus argument against the trade deal,” Marcus skewers Warren’s argument by pointing out that releasing negotiating documents before they are agreed upon undermines the U.S.’s...

  • Trade Promotion Authority: Addressing Some Criticisms

    May 6, 2015

    Some members of Congress are concerned about Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would fast track trade negotiating authority, but in fact it would be a positive move toward ensuring the United States remains a competitive economy. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) released a statement this week citing concerns with TPA over increased trade deficits, currency manipulation—claiming it would take power away from Congress and give it to the executive branch—and more.

    AEI’s Derek Scissors published a rebuttal to Sessions’ misdirected attack on TPA that deals with many of the issues raised by Sessions. Scissors noted correctly that some of Sessions’ concerns have...

  • Human Achievement of the Day: 3D Printing Cups, Cars, Houses, and Faces

    March 27, 2014
    3D printing is a relatively recent technological development that has already begun to revolutionize model-building, structural and other medical procedures, and construction of items from toys to houses.

    Also called additive manufacturing (as contrasted with subtractive processes, that is, machining), 3D printing uses digital instructions produced through computer-aided design (CAD) software to create an item by “printing” it in layers using a variety of materials – powders, plastic, ceramics, etc. With ink-jet-type print heads, the materials are extruded layer by layer according to the design.

    In its early applications, 3D printing was principally used for creating prototypes or models of larger objects. With 3D printing, those prototypes could be built with greater precision and speed and allow for quick modifications in the design. Rapid prototyping developed during the 1980s and...
  • Farm Bill Passes Senate, Goes to President

    February 4, 2014
    With the U.S. Senate’s passage February 4 of a farm bill by a vote of 68-32, a nearly $1 trillion (over 10 years) farm bill will govern agriculture policy for the next five years. The House had previously approved the bill last week. About 80 percent of the spending goes for food stamp and nutrition programs.

    Even though this was the most contentious farm bill process in recent history, the results are pretty much the same: farmers will get their pork one way or another. The elimination of “direct payments” to farmers was touted by supporters of this legislation. Those are payments...
  • Schism among Democrats On "Fast Track" to Trade

    January 30, 2014
    The trade debate is heating up in the wake of President Obama’s nod to trade in his State of the Union address, the introduction this month of a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, and the on-going negotiation on two major trade deals.

    A major schism among Democrats on trade broke out January 29, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview that he was against TPA, commonly known as “fast-track” legislation, which gives the president authority to negotiate trade agreements that are then voted on by Congress without amendments. Without fast-track, it’s difficult to negotiate final trade deals with other countries when they know Congress can change the terms....
  • New Farm Bill Will Deliver the Pork to Farmers

    January 28, 2014
    Last night House and Senate conferees agreed on a nearly $1 trillion farm bill that would eliminate long-standing direct payments to farmers but beef up the heavily subsidized crop insurance program. Farmers are pretty happy about that because federal crop insurance covers farmers’ crop losses or revenue losses, while the government pays a high percentage of the premiums’ costs and underwrites most of the insurance companies’ administrative costs.

    The five-year farm bill replaces the 2008 farm bill, which had expired and was extended because Congress could not reach agreement on components of a new bill.

    The command-and-control sugar program remains in place, with its combination of controls on...
  • Trade Issues Heat Up -- A New TPP Leak, "Fast-Track" Bill

    January 16, 2014
    WikiLeaks on January 15 leaked another chapter of the negotiation text of a major trade agreement – the environmental chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Environmental groups jumped on the text and said the U.S. position outlined in the documents shows backward steps in areas such as enforcement of environmental provisions and deference to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).

    According to an article in the New York Times, the U.S. seems to be pushing for more extensive environmental provisions, but the other eleven negotiating parties are pushing back, arguing that such provisions would hamper needed growth in their countries.

  • Sugar -- Congress' Favorite Sweetener

    December 9, 2013
    The sugar lobby’s sweet contributions and their day-in-day-out lobbying means broad bipartisan support for continuing the U.S. sugar program in the 2013 farm bill, as The Washington Post noted in a wide-ranging article December 7. Sugar policy, consisting of price supports, restraints on domestic supply, and import controls, benefits mainly a small number of rich sugar producers at the expense of consumers and taxpayers, according to the article.

    Historically, the program has resulted in domestic sugar prices substantially higher than the world price. Besides those sweet deals, the government also buys back sugar producers’ surplus so they don’t have to pay back federal loans. Then the U.S....
  • Fast-Track Trade Authority Is in the Works

    December 6, 2013
    It sounds like fast-track authority for trade deals is getting some traction, according to an article today in the Financial Times. The FT says that senior aides to influential committee chairman are gearing up to move legislation that would give the Administration the ability to craft trade deals that would go to the House and the Senate for up-or-down votes.

    The push for fast track would ease the way for consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – a trade agreement well along in its negotiations and that could be considered next year.  Top U.S. negotiators are heading to Singapore for continued talks on TPP, which would include 12 countries in a comprehensive trade pact....


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