Wednesday, January 25, 2017

US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The account of the matter below is fairer than most but I think it needs a summary.  So, in summary:

There has been much media hysteria over the withdrawal being bad for Australia but most of that is just anti-Trumpism.  The TPP was NOT a free trade deal.  It just swapped one concession for another and many people IN AUSTRALIA were unhappy at the trades being agreed to.

It has costs for Australia as well as advantages and there was widespread disagreement over whether the trade-offs were on balance advantageous for Australia. Only "modelling" says it was and some of the negatives are difficult to quantify so it is  just guesswork.   And maybe I can be forgiven for mentioning the utter failure of economic modelling to predict the 2007/2008 financial crisis.

Even Australia's long-suffering sugar farmers did not stand to gain much from it in absolute terms.  $13 million is peanuts in international trade terms

THE withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a huge blow to some Australian producers but its biggest impact could be to relations in the Asia-Pacific.

With the stroke of his pen and a smile, US President Donald Trump lived up to his promise of killing the TPP between America, Australia, New Zealand and nine other Pacific nations.

The agreement was originally billed as the gold-standard in free trade deals and a strategy to blunt China’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific.

But just three days after the TPP’s champion, former president Barack Obama, moved out of the White House, Mr Trump signed the executive order to withdraw the US from the TPP.

It is a major blow to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as the TPP was the key plank of the nation’s trade policy.

“Everyone knows what that means, right?” Mr Trump said at the signing ceremony. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. It’s a great thing for the American worker.”

A slimmed down TPP, without the US, could emerge, although China is expected to move in and fill the hole left by America. China was not invited to join the TPP and had already been negotiating its own rival deal, the RCEP.

The TPP was between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.

Australian Trade Minster Steven Ciobo, who is in the US, said on the weekend he had been speaking with remaining TPP nations “on ways to lock in the benefits from the TPP” without US involvement.

Negotiations began more than eight years ago and Australia’s prime ministers during the period — Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull — all threw their support behind it.

The deal was signed last year and was in the process of being ratified. That looks unlikely to happen now that the US has pulled out.

Submissions to a Senate inquiry on the TPP highlighted some of the benefits to the Australian economy, with the committee expected to report back on February 7. In particular the Australian sugar industry was a big winner from the deal.

According to the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance, the TPP allowed Australian producers to export an extra 65,000 tonnes of sugar to the US — 74 per cent higher than the current limit — worth more than $13 million a year to farmers.

In addition to this, they would also be able to provide 23 per cent of any extra raw sugar allocations in the US, and the TPP also removed an in-quota tariff worth about $3 million a year to Australia.

If the US withdrawal means the entire deal falls apart, producers looking to unlock other markets are also set to lose out.

The Australian pork industry was expected to benefit from the removal of tariffs in markets such as Mexico, a significant pork-importing country.

Cheese makers were expected to benefit from the cutting of tariffs to Japan and increased access to the US.

The Business Council of Australia said reducing barriers and costs to doing business internationally would help generate new jobs and opportunities.

“Seventy per cent of our exports currently flow to TPP countries,” it said.

It quoted World Bank modelling that suggested Australia’s GDP would increase by 0.7 per cent by 2030, and exports would increase by 5 per cent.

The Peterson Institute’s modelling has estimated that the TPP would lead to a US$15 billion permanent increase in Australia’s real GDP.

But others have raised concerns with the TPP, in particular the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause that gives foreign companies the right to sue governments.

Consumer organisation Choice has questioned whether it could limit future reforms to require food labelling, the display of ‘health stars’ on packaged foods, ban certain imports or improve consumer law.

There were also concerns about whether the TPP would keep cheaper generic drugs locked out of Australia for longer, although the PM has insisted there will be no change to Australian laws.

Mr Trump said on Monday he was pursuing what he calls “fair trade”, not free trade, and he has China and Japan in his sights.

He called out Japan, a TPP member, for making “it impossible to sell” US cars in Japan. “If you want to sell something into China and other countries it’s very, very hard,” Mr Trump told a meeting of chief executives of some of America’s biggest companies earlier on Monday.

“In some cases it’s impossible. They won’t even take your product.  “But when they do take your product they charge you a lot of tax.  “I don’t call that free trade. What we want is fair trade.”

The President plans to cut regulations for businesses in the US and slash the company tax rate from 35 per cent “down to anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent” to bring manufacturing back to the country.

He said companies that moved factories out of the US and then tried to sell its products back to America would be punished with a “very major border tax”.

But one expert says Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the TPP is giving China “a free hand to dictate trade in Asia”.

China was not invited to join the TPP, but Mr Trump could have opened the way for the Asian power by walking the US away from the massive free trade pact.

Mr Trump’s media spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday the US would pursue one-on-one trade deals with countries rather than complicated multi-nation pacts like the TPP.

“For someone who is so outwardly anti-China, many of Trump’s major policies, philosophies, and plans benefit China,” Asia Society’s centre for US-China relations senior fellow Isaac Stone Fish said. “TPP is just one of many examples.”

Mr Fish said Trump’s “discrediting” of the US alliance structure made China stronger in regards to Japan and South Korea.

“His isolationism, and his dislike of pushing China on human rights, improves the country’s image both domestically and internationally,” he said.

“His trade policies — and even a trade war — could push China towards an economy more reliant on domestic consumption, instead of exports. “And that is what many foreign experts, and Chinese liberals, believe is the way for the country to build a sustainable economy.”


Multiculturalists bash three Melbourne boys in a shopping centre toilet before stealing their phones

Jasmine Moey from Melbourne told Daily Mail Australia her son and his friends went to the movies at Highpoint shopping centre when they were attacked by a group of thugs.

The boys had gone to see a movie, had dinner and were in the shopping centre toilets when they were set upon by a group of African males.

'My son's friend came out of a cubicle as the African boys walked in. 'They shoved him into the corner - then when my son came out they punched him in his left eye,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

The boy's other friend stayed in his cubicle - waiting until the thugs left to help his friends.

'My son said there were two men in the bathroom and they didn't do anything,' Mrs Moey said. 'The shopping centre was packed people would have seen the boys leave the bathroom but no one helped.'

The attacked happened at 7.15pm - the protective mother decided to let her son go with his friends to the movies because she wanted him to have some independence.

'I used to go and be physically in the mall when I went - but these boys are all big boys and will even have jobs soon so I wasn't concerned. 'It was still daylight outside when the attack happened and the mall was crowded.'

Mrs Moey's son told her the teenagers were aged from '15 to 18' and were 'African'.

'They stole his phone, and his friend's phone. 'They made them unlock them and take of the location settings.'

The attack lasted just a few minutes and left Mrs Moey's son with a black and purple eye.

But she says she will let her son go back to the mall. 'If he is confident to go again by himself I will let him. 'He is almost 15 and will have a part-time job soon so he does need to be independent.'

The boys were told 'not to chase' the young thugs who robbed them. Instead they phone a police who arrived in 'five minutes' according to Mrs Moey.

Police are doing nothing investigating.


Greenie policies make Sydney housing world’s second most unaffordable

The "urban containment policies" mentioned below are what American Greenies call "smart growth".  It has for some time now become widely recognized as stunted growth

SYDNEY is Australia’s most unaffordable housing market and the second most expensive city in the world, second only to Hong Kong, according to research firm Demographia.

For the 13th time, each of Australia’s five major housing markets have won the dubious honour of being rated “severely unaffordable” in Demographia’s annual index.

Melbourne came in at six in the study, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth were all ranked in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world.

Demographia, which ranks housing affordability in 406 cities with a population over one million, said urban containment policies were the cause of Australia’s affordability crisis.

Urban containment policies aim to curb the growth of the urban sprawl by encouraging greater density in existing housing areas rather than opening up new sites, commonly called “greenfields”.

“Consistent with the basics of economics, this is associated with higher land prices and, in consequence, higher house prices,” the report said.

Sydney’s “median multiple”, or the median house price ($1.077 million) divided by the median household income ($88,000) is 12.2 — the same rating as last year — meaning a typical home costs more than 12 years’ wages.

Hong Kong’s median multiple, by comparison, is 18.1, down from 19 last year. A typical home in Hong Kong costs $HK5.422 million ($920,000), compared to the median household income of $HK300,000 ($51,000).

The overall median multiple for Australia’s major housing markets is 6.6. It comes after UBS ranked Sydney’s property market the fourth riskiest in the world in its global bubble index, behind Vancouver, London and Stockholm.

Overall, Australia’s 54 housing markets have a “severely unaffordable” median multiple of 5.5 — four housing markets are “affordable”, three are “moderately unaffordable”, 14 are “seriously unaffordable” and 33 are “severely unaffordable”.

The four smaller housing markets deemed “affordable” are in former mining boom areas: Karratha (2.1), Port Hedland (2.3) and Kalgoorlie (2.6) in Western Australia, and Gladstone (2.8) in Queensland.

“Australia’s generally unfavourable housing affordability is in significant contrast to the broad affordability that existed before implementation of urban containment policies,” the report said.

“The price-to-income ratio in Australia was below 3.0 in the late 1980s. All of Australia’s major housing markets have severely unaffordable housing and all have urban containment policy.”

The news comes after new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would address the NSW housing crisis, declaring it “the biggest issue people have across the state”.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, meanwhile, is looking to the UK’s affordable housing initiatives for inspiration. One of the initiatives he will investigate is the Housing Finance Corporation, an independent body that makes low-interest loans to regulated housing associations through the issue of bonds to private investors.

Oliver Hartwich, director of the New Zealand Initiative, said it was a “social imperative” to make housing more affordable “especially at a time when there is a growing threat of populism to Western democracies”.

“We should not accept extreme price levels in our housing markets. High house prices are not a sign of city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need,” he wrote in the report.

“Of course, if you are an investment banker, a media personality or a sports star, you will always be able to live a decent life, no matter how expensive your city is. And if you are within this group, you will also benefit most from the amenities that global cities provide.

“If, however, you are teacher, a nurse, or shop assistant your experience of city life would be very different. You would then have to put up with all the downsides of extreme price levels without being able to participate in metropolitan life.

“But is this the kind of society we want to live in? And isn’t this kind of social polarisation exactly the breeding ground for populism and resentment we are witnessing?”

Economist Alan Moran wrote that the costs were due to excessive regulation. “A fully finished new house (three bedrooms, two garages) costs as little as $150,000,” he wrote.

“Preparation of the land with sewerage, local roads, water and other utilities costs around $70,000 per block. The land itself is mainly used for agriculture and is intrinsically worth maybe $2,000 a block. Yet that new house in western Sydney costs upward of $700,000.

“The fact is that governments have agreed to an ever-growing set of regulations covering everything from phony endangered species to requirements for set-asides for child care, community centres and so on.

“These compound the shortage of land created by refusals to allow development outside of some designated growth corridors, which means rationing of land available for housing. That rationing’s end product is housing that is increasingly out of the budget reach of younger buyers.”


Pauline Hanson defends her call for a ban on the Burqa in Australia

A TRIPLE M [Rock radio] breakfast host launched into One Nation’s Pauline Hanson on Tuesday over her controversial stance of banning the burqa.

Ms Hanson, who has been pushing for a complete ban of the Muslim garment in recent months, as well as an inquiry into Islam as a religion, began the segment by asking the hosts a question.  “Do you like (the burqa)?,” she asked. “Do you wear one?”

Robin Bailey, who joined Triple M at the beginning of the year, took exception.

“You know what, I will say quite honestly, that is a representation for a group of people about their religion and you having a go at the burqa is like having a go at a Christian for wearing a cross,” Bailey said.

Ms Hanson laughed off the comparison. “The burqa is not a religious requirement ... countries around the world are now wanting to get rid of the burqa, we’re talking about the full face covering,” Ms Hanson said.

She told Bailey that she “couldn’t believe a woman ... believes a woman should be covered up from head to toe”.

Bailey fired back.  “I can’t believe a woman wants to have a crack at another woman about what she wears,” the host said.

Ms Hanson demanded: “Don’t pull the woman stuff on me.” “Just because I’m a woman and I’m complaining and I do not like it ... don’t try and shut me down because I’m having a go at a woman. I’ll have a crack at anybody.”

Ms Hanson told Bailey “you don’t understand the Islamic religion”.  “What are we doing, taking women back 2000 years?”

Bailey said: “No one is forcing ... in this country you are not forced to wear the burqa.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

white male said...

'My son said there were two men in the bathroom and they didn't do anything,'

I get so sick and tired of this batch of useless effeminate western males who when it comes to a crunch they are no f*cking good to anyone. They are so busy being politically correct new age sensitive and acceptable to leftist feminist society that they might as well not exist at all. Their fear is stronger than their goodness.