Category Archives: Amerca

America: From Largest Creditor Nation To Largest Debtor Nation In History – What’s Next?

“The Global Bond Curve Just Inverted”: Why JPM thinks a market Crash may be imminent

At the beginning of April, JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou pointed out something unexpected: in a time when everyone was stressing out over the upcoming inversion in the Treasury yield curve, the JPM analyst showed that the forward curve for the 1-month US OIS rate, a proxy for the Fed policy rate, had already inverted after the two-year forward point. In other words, while cash instruments had yet to officially invert, the market had already priced this move in.

One way of visualizing this inversion was by charting the front end between the 2-year and 3-year forward points of the 1-month OIS. Here, as JPM showed two months ago, a curve inversion had arisen for the first time during the first week of January, but it only lasted for two days at the time and the curve re-steepened significantly in the beginning of April.

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Fast forward to today when in a follow up note, Panigirtzoglou highlights that this inversion has gotten worse over the past week following Wednesday’s hawkish FOMC meeting. As shown in the chart below which updates the 1-month OIS rate, the difference between the 3-year and the 2-year forward points has worsened, falling to a new low for the year of -5bp.

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But in an unexpected development – because as a reminder we already knew that the market had priced in an inversion in the short-end of the curve – something remarkable happened last week: the entire global bond curve just inverted for the first time since just before the financial crisis erupted.

As JPM notes, while the Fed’s hawkish move was sufficient to invert the short end further, it was not the only central bank inducing flattening this past week: the ECB also pressed lower on the curve via its “dovish QE end” policy meeting this week. And as a result of this week’s broad-based flattening, the yield curve inversion has spilled over to the long end of the global government bond yield curve also.

In particular, the yield spread between the 7-10 year minus the 1-3 year maturity buckets of our global government bond index (JPM GBI Broad bond index) shifted to negative territory this week for the first time since 2007. This can be seen in Figure 2.

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But how is it possible that the global government bond yield curve can be inverted when most developed 2s10s cash curves are still at least a little steep? After all, as seen below, After all, the flattest 2s10s government yield curve is in Japan at +17bp and although the 2s10s US government curve – shown below – has been collapsing, it is still 35bp away from inversion.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/curves.jpg?itok=d9_y1whZ

The answer is in the unequal weighing of US duration in the JPM global bond index: specifically, as Panigirtzoglou explains, the US has a much higher weight in the 1-3 year bucket, around 50%, than in the 7-10 year bucket, where it has a weight of only 25%.

This is because in terms of the relative stocks of government bonds globally, there are a lot more short-dated US government bonds relative to longer-dated ones as the US has lagged other countries in terms of the duration expansion trend that took place over the past ten years.

This is shown in Figure 3 which shows the average duration of various countries’ government bond indices over time. It is very clear that the US has failed to follow other countries in the past decade’s duration expansion race and as a result there are currently a lot more non-US government bonds in longer-dated buckets which are typically lower yielding than the US. And a lot more US government bonds in short-dated buckets which are typically higher yielding.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/duration%20JPM%202.jpg?itok=FTgQsK-7

What are the practical implications? Well, in a word, global investors – those for whom Treasury flows are fungible and have exposure to the entire world’s “safe securities” – now find themselves in inversion.

In other words, with the Fed having pushed the yield on short dated 1-3 year US government bonds to above 2.5%, global bond investors who, by construction, hold more US government bonds in the 1-3 year bucket and more non-US government bonds in the longer-dated buckets, finds themselves with a situation where extending maturities at a global level provides no extra yield compensation.

And the punchline:

This means that while at the local level bond investors are still demanding a premium for longer-dated bonds, at an aggregate level – abstracting from segmentation and currency hedging issues – bond investors globally are no longer demanding such a premium.

Needless to say, although JPM says it anyway, “this is rather unusual as can be seen in Figure 2.”

As for the timing, well it’s troubling to say the least: it did so just before the last two bubbles burst. In fact, the last time the 7-10y minus 1-3y yield spread of JPM’s GBI Broad bond index turned negative was in 2007 ahead of an equity correction and recession at the time. Before then it had turned very negative in late 1990s also, after the 1997/1998 EM crisis but also in 1999 ahead of a burst in the equity bubble and a reversal of Fed policy.

And if that wasn’t enough, here are some especially ominous parting thoughts from the JPM strategist:

In other words, in normal times, bond investors demand a premium to hold longer-dated bonds and to tie their  money for a long period of time vs. investing in lower risk short-dated bonds. But when investors have little confidence in the trajectory of the economy or they think monetary policy tightening is overdone or they see a high risk of a correction in risky markets such as equities, they may prefer to buy longer-dated government bonds as a hedge even though they receive a lower yield than short-dated bonds. This is perhaps why empirical literature found that the slope of the yield curve is such a good predictor of economic slowdowns and/or equity market corrections.

In other words, contrary to all those awed but naive interpretations of the short-term market reaction invoked by Powell or Draghi, according to the market, not only the Fed but the ECB engaged in consecutive policy mistakes. And, as JPM confirms, “this week’s central bank meetings exacerbated this flattening trend.”

As a result the yield curve inversion is no longer confined to the front-end of the US curve, but has also emerged at the longer end of the global government bond yield curve.

What this means is that a decade after the last such inversion, bond investors globally no longer require extra premium for holding longer-dated bonds vs short-dated bonds, something that happens rarely, e.g. when investors have little confidence in the trajectory of the economy, or they think monetary policy tightening is overdone or they see a high risk of a correction in risky markets such as equities.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Meet America’s Next Pension Casualty

In 1923, a young Jewish immigrant from a small town in modern-day Ukraine founded a candy company in Brooklyn, New York that he called “Just Born”.

His name was Samuel Bernstein. And if you enjoy chocolate sprinkles or the hard, chocolate coating around ice cream bars, you can thank Bernstein– he invented them.

Nearly 100 years later, the company is still a family-owned business, producing some well-known brands like Peeps and Hot Tamales.

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But business conditions in the Land of the Free have changed quite dramatically since Samuel Bernstein founded the company in 1923.

The costs to manufacture in the United States are substantial. And business regulations can be outright debilitating.

One of the major challenges facing Just Born these days is its gargantuan, underfunded pension fund.

Like a lot of large businesses, Just Born contributes to a pension fund that pays retirement benefits to its employees.

And in 2015, Just Born’s pension fund was deemed to be in “critical status”, prompting management to negotiate a solution with the employee union.

The union simply demanded that Just Born plug the funding gap, as if the company could merely write a check and make the problem go away.

Management pushed back, explaining that the pension gap could bankrupt the company.

And as an alternative, the company proposed to keep all existing retirees and current employees in the old pension plan, while putting all new employees into a different retirement plan.

It seemed like a reasonable solution that would maintain all the benefits that had been promised to existing employees, while still fixing the company’s long-term financial problem.

But the union refused, and the case went to court.

Two weeks ago the judges ruled… and the union won. Just Born would have no choice but to maintain a pension plan that puts the company at serious risk.

It’s literally textbook insanity. The court (and the union) both want to continue the same pension plan and the same terms… but they expect different results.

It’s as if they think the entire situation will somehow magically fix itself.

Those of us living on Planet Earth can probably figure out what’s coming next.

In a few years the fund will be completely insolvent.

And this company, which employs hundreds upon hundreds of well-paid factory workers in the United States, will probably have to start manufacturing overseas in order to save costs.

Honestly it’s some kind of miracle that Just Born is still producing in the US. The owners could have relocated overseas years ago and pocketed tens of millions of dollars in labor and tax savings.

But they didn’t. You’d think the union would have acknowledged that, and tried to find a way to work WITH the company to benefit everyone in the long-term.

Yet thanks to their idiotic union, these workers are stuck with an insolvent pension fund and zero job security.

Now, here’s the really bizarre part: Just Born contributes to something called a “Multi-Employer Pension Fund”.

In other words, it’s not Just Born’s pension fund. They don’t own it. They don’t manage it. And they’re just one of the several large companies (typically within the candy industry) who contribute to it.

So this raises an important question: WHO manages the pension fund?

Why… the UNION, of course.

The multi-employer pension fund that Just Born contributes to is called the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund.

This is a UNION pension fund. It was founded by the Union. And the President of the Union even serves as chairman of the fund.

This is truly incredible.

So basically the union mismanaged its own pension fund, and then legally forced the company into an unsustainable financial position that could cost all the employees their jobs. It’s genius!

Just Born, of course, is just one of countless other businesses that faces a looming pension shortfall.

General Electric has a pension fund that’s underfunded by a whopping $31 billion.

Bloomberg reported last summer that the biggest corporations in the United States collectively have a $382 billion pension shortfall.

Not to worry, though. The federal government long ago set up an agency called the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation to bail out insolvent pension funds.

(It’s sort of like an FDIC for pension funds.)

Problem is– the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation is itself insolvent and in need of a bailout.

According to the PBGC’s own financial statements, they have a “net financial position” of MINUS $75 billion, and they lost $1.3 billion last year alone.

The federal government isn’t really in a position to help; according to the Treasury Department’s financial statements, Social Security and Medicare have a combined shortfall exceeding $40 TRILLION.

And public pension funds across the 50 states have an estimated combined shortfall of $1.4 TRILLION, according to a 2016 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s coming.

Solvent, well-funded pensions and state/national retirement programs are as rare as mythical unicorns.

Nearly all of them have terminal problems and will likely become insolvent (if they’re not already).

The unions are driving their own pensions into the ground; and the government has ZERO bandwidth to bail anyone out, least of all itself.

So if you’re still more than two decades out from retirement, you can forget about any of these programs being there for you as advertised.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

A Majority Of Millennials Blame Baby Boomers For Destroying Their Lives

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Millennials, the largest and most significant generation for the US labor market, came of age in the era of broken central bank policies, leading to the greatest wealth, income and inequality gap in recent history. While baby boomers promised millennials the world through (expensive) college degrees, this generation discovered that massive student loans coupled with a deteriorating work environment had turned them into permanent debt and rent slaves.

And now, according to a new Axios/Survey Monkey poll, millennials are getting angry, and starting to point fingers and cast blame, with a majority accusing baby boomers of not just making things difficult for them, but, of “ruining their lives.”

The survey found 51% of millennials (18 to 34-year-olds) blame baby boomers (51 to 69-year-olds) for making a raft of poor decisions since the 1980s, that have contributed to a weak political and economic environment; only 13% said the boomers made things better. Gen Xers was not satisfied with the pesky boomers, either; as 42% of them have blamed their life’s troubles on the boomers. Most amusingly, upon self-reflection, 30% of boomers agreed that their generation’s policies had made things worse, while only 32% said they had made it better, and 34% answered it made no difference.

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This new Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted April 9-13 among 4,638 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate is 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Crosstabs available here. (Chart: Axios Visuals)

When asked on how to improve today’s economic and political environment, millennials had several modest proposals:

  • “Remove all old government officials and term limits for the House and Congress,” a 34-year-old male Republican said.
  • A number said “Impeach Trump” and “vote.”
  • “Sleep more because you will be less sensitive to negative emotions,” said a 22-year-old female Democrat.
  • Axios also said millennials have little confidence in their fiscal responsibility than boomers: 56 percent of millennials said they are “extremely” or “very” efficient in wealth preservation techniques, compared with 80 percent of those over 70-years old.

While the economy has entered its late-cycle phase, the dangerous rift is growing between the millennials and boomers, each wrestling for a smaller pool of jobs and shrinking government handouts. The inter-generational conflict will only escalate due to the historic accumulation of debt, and unprecedented shifts in demographics and automation, which will only accelerate into the 2020s.

But the punchline is that if Millennials loathe Boomers now when the economy is still doing relatively well thanks to a decade of central planning and trillions in liquidity, one can only imagine how delighted they will be when the next recession, or rather depression, hits.

Source: ZeroHedge

The Cost Of Raising Children In America Is Soaring

Today, roughly one in five women in the U.S. doesn’t have children. Thanks in part to this decline in birthrate, for the first time in U.S. history, there may soon be more elderly people than children.

Based on trends in costs, it’s evident why many families are choosing to have fewer children — or in some cases, no children at all.

The cost of having children in the U.S. has grown exponentially since the 1960s, when the government first started collecting data on childhood expenditures. Between 2000 and 2010, the cost shot up by 40%.

As of 2015, American parents spend, on average, $233,610 on child costs from birth until the age of 17, not including college. This number covers everything from housing and food to child care and transportation costs. As a mother myself, as well as a sociologist who studies families, I have experienced firsthand the unexpected costs associated with having a child.

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This spike in costs has broad implications, affecting everything from demographic trends and human capital to family consumption.

Labor and delivery

The overall costs of labor and delivery vary from state to state.

Expenses for a delivery can range from $3,000 to upward of $37,000 per child for a normal vaginal delivery and from $8,000 to $70,000 if a C-section or special care is needed.

These costs are often a result of separate fees charged for each individual treatment. Other factors include hospital ownership, market competitiveness and geographical location.

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It’s worth noting that these costs often include additional fees for ultrasounds, blood work or high-risk pregnancies.

As a result, for women who are concerned about the costs related to giving birth, it’s important to explore the average costs at their local hospitals and review their insurance plans before they decide to become pregnant.

Child care and activities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deems child care affordable if no more than 10% of a family’s income is used for that purpose. However, parents currently spend 9% to 22% of their total annual income on child care, per child.

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Child care has become one of the most expensive costs that a family bears. In fact, in many cities, child care can cost more than the average rent. This is particularly challenging for low-income families who often don’t make more than minimum wage.

What’s more, over the past century, Americans significantly shifted in the way that we see childhood. Whereas in the past, children often engaged in family labor, now children are protected and nurtured.

Yet children’s activities can be costly. For example, Americans families will spend on average $500 to $1,000 per season on extracurricular or sports activities for each of their children.

In fact, due to the rising costs of sports, the number of children who aren’t physically active has increased to 17.6%. Being physically inactive is even more likely for low-income children, who are three times less likely to participate than children who reside in higher-income households.

Another hidden cost associated with having a child is that of time. In my experience, many parents don’t realize how much time they will invest in their children, often at the cost of personal freedom and work expectations.

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In fact, the American Time Use Survey shows that, on average, parents with children under the age of 18 spend about 1.5 hours a day on domestic and child-care responsibilities. Women spend 2.5 hours a day, while men spend roughly only one hour on these tasks.

Weighing the causes

Researchers at Pew argue that the recent decrease in birthrate has as much to do with the Great Recession in 2008 as it does with the increase of women who are not willing to sacrifice their careers for family.

This speaks to yet another cost of having children: Mothers are often pushed out of careers or “opt out,” based on high demands of balancing family and work-life balance.

Researchers have also found a growing trend of men and women who become single parents by choice. This group of parents prioritize children over marriage and often are on single incomes. That also contributes to the reduction in overall childbirth, from a financial and practical perspective.

Ultimately, the decision to have a child is a personal one. The data show that the burden of costs and the stress of family life are real. Yet despite the costs associated with having a child, many parents report overall satisfaction with their marriage and family life.

Considering the high costs of having of a child, coupled with the tension in balancing family-work life matters, states and companies are starting to invest in family support policies, parental benefits and competitive education. And individuals are creating more innovative approaches to managing family-work balance, such as a reduction in working schedules, family support and a push for more shared responsibilities within the home.

Source: ZeroHedge

Peter Schweizer Explains How China Purchased U.S. Congress as a Trade Strategy…

A timely book by Peter Schweizer, “Secret Empires”, explains how Chinese companies purchased U.S. politicians to gain trade advantages, aka the Beltway Swap. When you understand this process, you better understand why those same politicians today are against the Trump trade policy that is antithetical to their purchased interests.

Must watch…

Reminder: U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue is warning President Trump not to take any trade action against China or he will unleash his purchased control agents within congress and financial media to destroy his presidency.

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Allow me to re-emphasize:

All opposition to President Trump stems from the underlying financial and economic policy. All opposition is about money!

When you ask the “why” question five times you end up discovering the financial motive for all opposition. It doesn’t matter who the group is; the opposition is ultimately about money. There are trillions at stake.

Donohue takes-in hundreds of millions in payments from multinational corporations who hold a vested interest in keeping the U.S. manufacturing economy subservient to China. The U.S. CoC then turns those corporate funds into lobbyist payments to DC politicians for legislative action that benefits their Chinese trade deals. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the #1 lobbyist in DC; there are trillions at stake.

Wall Street’s famous CONservative mouthpieces then take their cues from Donohue and decry any Trump trade policy that might impact their multinational benefactors.  They hide behind catch phrases like “free trade”, or “free markets”.  However, what they are really hiding is the truth, there is no free market – it is a controlled market.  It’s a circle of trade and economic propaganda driven by the most well known guests that appear on Fox News. Ben Shapiro is one such example; there are hundreds more.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters)– The head of the most influential U.S. business lobbying group warned the Trump administration that unilateral tariffs on Chinese goods could lead to a destructive trade war that will hurt American consumers and U.S. economic growth.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement on Thursday that such tariffs, associated with a probe of China’s intellectual property practices, would be “damaging taxes on American consumers.”

His comments came after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said that Trump would in coming weeks get options to address China’s “theft and forced transfer” of American intellectual property as part of the investigation under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Trump was considering tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese information technology, telecommunications and consumer products, along with U.S. investment restrictions for Chinese companies.

Donohue said the Trump administration was right to focus on the negative economic impact of China’s industrial policies and unfair trade practices, but said tariffs were the wrong approach to dealing with these.

“Tariffs of $30 billion a year would wipe out over a third of the savings American families received from the doubling of the standard deduction in tax reform,” Donohue said. “If the tariffs reach $60 billion, which has been rumored, the impact would be even more devastating.”

He urged the administration not to proceed with such a plan.

“Tariffs could lead to a destructive trade war with serious consequences for U.S. economic growth and job creation,” hurting consumers, businesses, farmers and ranchers.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Donohue’s comments were correct, adding that recently more and more American intellectuals had made their rational voices heard. (read more)

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Everyone admits the past 40+ years of U.S. trade deals have resulted in the massive export of U.S. wealth via jobs and manufacturing gains within other nations. The financial beneficiaries of those prior trade positions were: Wall Street, multinational corporations and multinational banks.

The losers of all prior trade priorities was the U.S. middle-class. This point is inarguable, just look around. Stop the nonsense and quit listening to those who control the markets.

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So ask yourself, friends and family this very important question:

If prior U.S. trade policies resulted in the export and redistribution of U.S. wealth… What happens when you reverse the process?

In the answer to that question you discover the opposition to U.S. President Trump.

When Main Street economic principles are applied Wall Street will initially lose. There’s no way for this not to happen. Most of Wall Street is built on the Multinational platform of economic globalism. Weaken the grip of the multinational corporations and financial interests on the U.S. economy and Wall Street will drop… this is not difficult to predict. This is also necessary.

Source: By Sundance | The Conservative Tree House

 

 

US National Debt Hits $21 Trillion

For 8 years, we took every opportunity to point out that under Barack Obama’s administration, US debt was rising at a alarmingly rapid rate, having nearly doubled, surging by $9.3 trillion  during Obama’s 8 years. It now appears that the trajectory of US debt under the Trump administration will be no different, and in fact based on Trump’s ambitious fiscal spending visions, may rise even faster than it did under Obama.

We note this because as of close of Friday, the US Treasury reported that total US debt has risen above $21 trillion for the first time; or $21,031,067,004,766.25 to be precise.

Putting this in context, total US debt has now risen by over $1 trillion in Trump’s first year… and the real spending hasn’t even begun yet.

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What is amusing is that Trump – who has a tweet for every occasion – and who no longer even pretends to care about the unsustainability of US spending was extremely proud as recently as a year ago by how little debt has increased during his term.

We doubt today’s milestone will be celebrated on Trump’s twitter account.

And while some can argue – especially adherents of the socialist Magic Money Tree, or MMT, theory – that there is no reason why the exponential debt increase can’t continue indefinitely…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/US%20debt%20LT.jpg?itok=Nq7Ddku2

… one can counter with the following chart from Goldman, which shows that if one assumes a blended interest rate of roughly 3.5% as the Fed does, and keeps America’s debt/GDP ratio constant, in a few years the US will be in what Goldman dubbed “uncharted territory” and warned that “the continued growth of public debt raises eventual sustainability questions if left unchecked.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/GS%20uncharted%20interest%20rate.jpg

The bad news, however, is that debt/GDP will not be constant, as the CBO recently forecast in what was actually an overly optimistic prediction.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/jpm%20debt%20cbo%20forecast.jpg?itok=GjazHBdB

Source: ZeroHedge

Unhappy Canada Vows Retaliation For Steel Tariffs – NAFTA, Steel, Tariffs and An Introduction To Liu Zhongtian…

I think we’ve figured out why President Trump is doing the Steel and Aluminum tariffs ahead of the NAFTA withdrawal.  Perhaps, the wolverine administration is using Steel and Aluminum to draw attention to the NAFTA fatal flaw.

Earlier today Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stated:

“Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement, calling any trade restrictions“absolutely unacceptable.”  (link)

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The key word in that statement from Freeland is “products”. Why? because Canada doesn’t make raw Steel.  (Top 40 List)  The Canadians, like the Mexicans, import their raw steel from China.  Canada then fabricates products from the Chinese steel.  This nuanced point is almost always lost on people who discuss trade.  This point of origination is also the fatal flaw within NAFTA.

In essence Canada is a brokerage for Chinese manufactured material, and NAFTA is the access trade-door exploited by China for entry into the U.S. market.  More on that in a moment.  First watch Justin from Canada explain his country’s position. (prompted, just hit play):

See, that verbal parseltongue twisting is what happens when you attempt to walk the precarious fine-line of talking points on trade.  Canada doesn’t manufacture steel, they purchase steel and manufacture ‘products’.  A considerable difference.

Now, here’s where I think President Trump is using the steel example to highlight the NAFTA flaw and awaken people to the larger hidden issues within the heavily manipulated North American Free Trade Agreement.

There’s always that vocal group of GOPe Wall Street defenders, the professional political and purchased republicans, who attempt to hide the NAFTA flaw.  So for those who are dismissive, and for the purpose of intellectual honesty, allow me to introduce the example of Chinese Billionaire Mr. Liu Zhongtian.

Mr. Liu Zhongtian is one of the Chinese billionaires who are extremely skilled at exploiting the NAFTA loophole, generating profit and hiding the reality of NAFTA from the American people.  Mr. Liu is not alone, he is simply one of many – Mr. Liu is also the Deputy Secretary of China’s communist party.

Mr. Liu has imported over one million metric tonnes of aluminum ingots into Mexico, that’s over 6% of the world supply, and he stores them there in order to avoid tariffs from the United States.

Chinese billionaire Liu Zohgtian uses Mexico’s NAFTA backdoor access to avoid any U.S. tariff.

2016 […]  The pile, worth $2 billion and measuring one million metric tons, represents six per cent of the world’s aluminum.

It was discovered two years ago after a California aluminum executive sent a pilot over San José Iturbide, a city in central Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported in an investigative piece Friday.

Trade representative Jeff Henderson believes Chinese billionaire Liu Zhongtian, an aluminum magnate, routed merchandise through Mexico to avoid paying US tariffs.

Liu controls China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd, the world’s second largest aluminum producer in its category. His current fortune is estimated at $3.2 billion according to Forbes.

Aluminum manufacturers receive subsidies in China. This means Chinese companies could be able to sell aluminum at a lower price than American firms.

The United States protected domestic trade by enforcing tariffs, which have to be paid when aluminum is imported.

Bringing in merchandise through Mexico would enable a Chinese manufacturer such as Zhongwang to avoid paying those tariffs.  (read more)

A photograph of Mr. Liu Zhongtian’s aluminum stockpile in Mexico.

In its current form NAFTA is an exploited doorway into the coveted U.S. market.  Asian economic interests, large multinational corporations, invested in Mexico and Canada as a way to work around any direct trade deals with the U.S.

By shipping parts to Mexico and/or Canada; and by deploying satellite manufacturing and assembly facilities in Canada and/or Mexico; China, Asia and to a lesser extent EU corporations exploited a loophole.  Through a process of building, assembling or manufacturing their products in Mexico/Canada those foreign corporations can skirt U.S. trade tariffs and direct U.S. trade agreements.  The finished foreign products entered the U.S. under NAFTA rules.

Why deal with the U.S. when you can just deal with Mexico, and use NAFTA rules to ship your product directly into the U.S. market?

This exploitative approach, a backdoor to the U.S. market, was the primary reason for massive foreign investment in Canada and Mexico; it was also the primary reason why candidate Donald Trump, now President Donald Trump, wanted to shut down that loophole and renegotiate NAFTA.

This loophole was the primary reason for U.S. manufacturers to relocate operations to Mexico.  Corporations within the U.S. Auto-Sector could enhance profits by building in Mexico or Canada using parts imported from Asia/China.  The labor factor was not as big a part of the overall cost consideration as cheaper parts and imported raw materials.

If you understand the reason why U.S. companies benefited from those moves, you can begin to understand if the U.S. was going to remain inside NAFTA President Trump would have remained engaged in TPP.

As soon as President Trump withdrew from TPP the problem with the Canada and Mexico loophole grew.  All corporations from TPP nations would now have an option to exploit the same NAFTA loophole.

Why ship directly to the U.S., or manufacturer inside the U.S., when you could just assemble in Mexico and Canada and use NAFTA to bring your products to the ultimate goal, the massive U.S. market?

From the POTUS Trump position, NAFTA always came down to two options:

Option #1 – renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement to eliminate the loopholes.  That would require Canada and Mexico to agree to very specific rules put into the agreement by the U.S. that would remove the ability of third-party nations to exploit the current trade loophole. Essentially the U.S. rules would be structured around removing any profit motive with regard to building in Canada or Mexico and shipping into the U.S.

Canada and Mexico would have to agree to those rules; the goal of the rules would be to stop third-party nations from exploiting NAFTA.  The problem in this option is the exploitation of NAFTA currently benefits Canada and Mexico.  It is against their interests to remove it.  Knowing it was against their interests President Trump never thought it was likely Canada or Mexico would ever agree.  But he was willing to explore and find out.

Option #2 – Exit NAFTA.  And subsequently deal with Canada and Mexico individually with structured trade agreements about their imports.  Canada and Mexico could do as they please, but each U.S. bi-lateral trade agreement would be written with language removing the aforementioned cost-benefit-analysis to third-party countries (same as in option #1.)

All nuanced trade-sector issues put aside, the larger issue is always how third-party nations will seek to gain access to the U.S. market through Canada and Mexico.  [It is the NAFTA exploitation loophole which has severely damaged the U.S. manufacturing base.]

This is not direct ‘protectionism’, it is simply smart and fair trade.

Unfortunately, the U.S. CoC, funded by massive multinational corporations, is spending hundreds of millions on lobbying congress to keep the NAFTA loophole open.

The U.S. has to look upstream, deep into the trade agreements made by Mexico and Canada with third-parties, because it is possible for other nations to skirt direct trade with the U.S. and move their products through Canada and Mexico into the U.S.

Do you see Canada or Mexico on the Steel Production List?

Any Questions?

Source: By Sundance | The Conservative Treehouse

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