Russian President Vladimir Putin: ‘Europe should be more independent, defend own interests’

European countries should be less beholden to military blocks and the US when considering issues concerning their own national interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Swiss RTS TV channel. Putin also talked FIFA scandal and Islamic terrorism.

“It would be great to see Europe show more independence and sovereignty, and the ability to stand up for its national interests – the interests of its peoples and countries,” Putin said in an interview with RTS published on Monday.

He added that he “hopes” another war in Europe is not in the cards.

The Russian leader added that a certain level of sovereignty is undoubtedly lost when joining any “any military-political organization [or] military-political bloc.” Putin noted that “France withdrew from NATO in order to preserve its sovereignty to a greater extent than would have been possible had it been part of the organization,” referring to the French withdrawal from NATO in the 1960s. France fully returned to the military bloc only in 2009.

US marines take part in a joint military exercise with NATO members, called "Agile Spirit 2015" at the Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi, Georgia © David Mdzinarishvili

Putin stressed that “it is not our business to analyze the foreign policy of European countries. But you must admit that if we have to discuss inter-European affairs with European partners in Washington, this is not very interesting.”

He also mentioned that the US has been “pursuing an imperial policy for a long time.” In addition, he cited the opinion of some American political analysts who “believe that this imperial angle hurts the US.”

Putin explained that Russia’s stance on US foreign policy “has nothing to do with anti-Americanism,” adding that Russians“have respect and great love for the USA, and especially for the American people.”

Europe fighting terrorism: ‘Better late than never’

When answering a question about Russia’s earlier efforts to fight terrorism and the lack of Western support at the time, Putin said that European governments had ignored abundant evidence of terrorist activity, such as Al-Qaeda affiliates fighting in the Russian North Caucasus.

“When I asked my colleagues, including Europeans: ‘You see what is happening?’ they used to respond: ‘Yes, we do, but due to various domestic, international circumstances, we cannot support you.’ I would tell them then: ‘If you cannot support us – at least don’t hinder our efforts.’”

Putin, however, noted that the situation has substantially changed. “Europe and the United States have realized the real dangers of extreme manifestations of radicalism and joined in the fight. As the Russian people say – it is better late than never.”

French police special forces evacuate local residents on January 9, 2015 in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris © Martin Bureau

The Russian leader also said he hopes that cooperation with the West will go beyond counter-terrorism, adding that he looks forward to resolving the situation in Ukraine as well several economic issues: “We will engage in dialogue and work out a solution acceptable to all.”

Putin criticized the US government’s self-perceived right to pressure other countries around the world, acting from a policy of “who is not with us, is against us.” Still, with enough patience it is possible and necessary to work with the American side on solving global issues, Putin said, praising international efforts that have led to a recent deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

‘EU’s right wing not supporting me, but national interests’

Asked to comment on the “ironic” turn in European politics, which has seen right-wing political parties gain public support, and seemingly speak out in favor of Putin’s statements as opposed to politicians on the left, the President said the underlying reason was Washington’s troublesome interference into the domestic affairs of other nations.

Putin did not agree that ‘surprise’ endorsements of his policies or words from the likes of Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front or Swiss Democratic Union of the Centre (UDC) had anything to do with him personally. He described it as a“tectonic shift in Europeans’ public conscience” in the direction of protecting national interests, including from foreign political interventions.

According to Putin, a number of issues Europe is facing now, including the influx of migrants from places such as war-torn Libya, have to do with “decisions taken over the [Atlantic] ocean.” In fact, Europe is now paying for decisions it did not make, he stressed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras © Alexander Zemlianichenko

‘Are UK, US failed FIFA bids behind corruption scandal?’

After several questions from Swiss media on the FIFA corruption scandal, Putin said he doesn’t believe it had anything to do with actions of the organization’s head, President Sepp Blatter, hinting that he views the allegations as politically motivated.

“We all know the situation developing around Mr. Blatter right now. I don’t want to go into details but I don’t believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally,” Putin stressed.

The statement comes days after Blatter pledged FIFA’s “full support” of Russia in hosting the 2018 World Cup at the opening ceremony of the preliminary draw in St. Petersburg.

FIFA's President Sepp Blatter shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) © Stringer

READ MORE: FIFA passes resolution assuring ‘full support’ of 2018 World Cup in Russia – Blatter

Blatter announced his resignation in June amidst a bribery scandal pursued by US, Swiss and other authorities. While several FIFA officials have been indicted, Blatter has denied any misconduct and will continue to serve as the group’s acting president until a new extraordinary session can elect a new head. The scandal coincided with preparations for FIFA World Cups in Russia and Qatar, which are to be held in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

Putin questioned whether the efforts to pursue the investigation stemmed from failed attempts of the US and its key ally, the UK, to secure bids to host the 2022 and 2018 World Cups: “The way this fight against corruption looks makes me wonder if it isn’t a continuation of the bids for 2018 and 2022.”

“If someone is suspected for committing a crime, then evidence is collected and transferred to a prosecutor of the country the alleged person resides in. But this is in no way connected to one country – big or small – going around the world, dragging to jail individuals that it wants.”

Putin praised “people like Mr. Blatter” – the heads of big international sporting federations or those organizing the Olympic Games –for actually bringing nations from around the world closer together and improving the ways they interact. “If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people,” he stressed.

Fonte :RT

European Parliament Seeks ISDS Curbs in U.S. Trade Pact

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July 8, 2015 — 9:20 AM BRT

The European Parliament demanded limits on legal protection for foreign investors in any free-trade agreement with the U.S., highlighting the political sensitivity of an issue that could scuttle a trans-Atlantic deal.
The European Union assembly said provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS, in any EU-U.S. commercial pact must ensure that foreign investors have no greater rights than do domestic investors.
In a resolution approved on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, the 28-nation Parliament also called for an arbitration system where “the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the member states is respected, and where private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives.”
An ISDS clause could allow foreign investors to use arbitration panels instead of domestic courts to make claims against a national government when an investment is harmed, for example through expropriation. Such a provision is controversial in some EU capitals because of the constraints it could place on European governments’ ability to regulate in the public interest, becoming a lightning rod in the process for skeptics of an EU-U.S. trade agreement in general.
The EU Parliament is weighing into the negotiations on a trans-Atlantic pact two years after they began, seeking to shape the outcome. The 751-seat assembly has the power to approve or reject, but not to amend, any final agreement.
ISDS Issue
“We’re putting up a fight to see to it that this is a good agreement,” Bernd Lange, head of the EU Parliament’s trade committee, said last month when the ISDS issue was so divisive that the assembly unexpectedly postponed its vote on the resolution. “If it is, we’ll say ‘yes.’ If it isn’t, we’ll say ‘no.’ ”
Deliberations on ISDS may signal the speed and ambition — or even the fate — of the planned Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, which the EU and U.S. began negotiating in mid-2013 in an effort to expand the world’s biggest economic relationship. Both sides are pushing to have much of a draft TTIP deal ready by year-end, with the main goals being to eliminate tariffs on goods, expand services markets, open public procurement and bolster regulatory cooperation.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, last year suspended talks on ISDS with the U.S. in a bid to allay concerns in Europe about the matter. The commission completed a public consultation on the merits of negotiating an ISDS clause in TTIP in January, when EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the step faced “huge skepticism” in Europe while being “very important” to the U.S.
Seeking to restart deliberations with the U.S. on the issue, Malmstroem in the past several months has outlined ways to protect the right to regulate, to ensure the independence of arbitration tribunals, to enable appeals against ISDS-tribunal decisions and to rule out parallel claims by investors through domestic judicial systems and ISDS.

Fonte: Bloomberg Business

CrossTalk: Tehran Pivot? (Ft. Pepe Escobar & Gareth Porter)

How China’s Infrastructure Bank Threatens U.S. Hegemony

Glen Ford: 57 nations, many of them U.S. allies, sign on to become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, providing an alternative to U.S. military might and World Bank dominance –

June 30, 2015

Now joining us from New Jersey is Glen Ford. Glen is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report and he’s a regular contributor to The Real News. Thanks for being with us, Glen.GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Oh, thank you for having me.DESVARIEUX: So Glen, today, Monday, we have, 57 nations were in Beijing to sign on as part of a signing ceremony for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. You’ve been tracking this story. What is the significance of this bank?FORD: Yes, most people wouldn’t think that that’s a very exciting occasion, and I guess if you’re not a banker it probably isn’t. But in fact what went on in China was an historically very important development. It’s as important as the U.S. pivot to the Pacific. It’s as important as Barack Obama’s bid to pass his super-secret Trans-Pacific trade bill. It’s as important as the U.S. provocations against Russia in Ukraine.And in fact, all of these developments are related. And they’re related to the reason for starting this Chinese-based bank. The United States-based Infrastructure Investment Bank, or rather, the Chinese-based infrastructure bank, is considered by the United States to be a mortal danger to its rule. That is, to U.S. imperialism in the world.The purpose of the United States military, its huge war machine that is more expensive than all the other militaries of the world combined, the purpose of that machinery is to put the United States and keep the United States in a position to control the terms of trade, and to enforce the domination of the dollar, and to give U.S. corporations and friendly European corporations an unfair advantage in the world, advantages that nobody else has. And without those unfair advantages, and without the coercive power of the U.S. military, American and European domination of the world would be doomed and we would see an end to half a millenia of Euro-American control of the world.That’s something that the United States does not want to contemplate, and that is the source of the tensions in the world. That’s why the United States did everything it could to dissuade its allies from joining this new Chinese-led infrastructure and investment bank, but many of its allies did join anyway. Including the Brits, and including Australia. And they joined because China is at the center of global economic development, and because Britain and Australia and other U.S. allies don’t want to be left out of that development.The new bank means that the U.S. and Europe cannot strangle Asian development. Because of their control, and they’ve been in control since the end of World War II, their control of the International Monetary Fund, of the World Bank, and their Japanese allies control of the Asian development bank. The Chinese have also been central in the creation of another bank. They’re putting a whole new infrastructure together. And that bank will be operational by the end of this year. It’s designed specifically to enhance the economic prospects of the BRIC nations, and that’s China and India and Russia and South Africa.The reason that this bank is so important is because it’s designed to protect the currencies of those BRIC nations from attacks by world capitalist financial extortionists and players. Players like George Soros, who make a killing out of devaluing everybody else’s country. So the BRICs nations have banded together to protect each others’ currencies, and therefore ensure that they have a smooth road to development.The purpose of these new banking institutions is to develop the economic potential of the world in a more rational way, and to integrate the economies not just of Asia, but also of Africa and of Latin America. It’s designed to develop the world in ways that are not suited only for the profits of American and European corporations.So we’re not talking about revolutionary banks, and I don’t know if there ever could be such a thing in today’s world as a revolutionary bank. But these two banks do represent a great danger to U.S. imperialism, and because of that this is a very good thing for the planet.DESVARIEUX: Glen, do you have a sense that the policies that are going to be presented in this Chinese-led infrastructure bank are going to be more in the interests of everyday people? How do we prevent, let’s say for example, China from taking an imperialist course?FORD: Everyday people, not necessarily. But the countries involved and certainly the corporations of those countries involved, yes.We have to really distinguish between the fight against U.S. imperialism and the fight of socialism. They are not necessarily the same thing. But we do know that U.S. imperialism if it is allowed to stand will prevent human life itself from being possible on planet earth. So it’s, it’s a necessity that we fight the concentration of power in these old European and American hands, and give chance to the rising nations together, banding together against, and consciously against the imperial powers, to come up with an order in the world that is fairer to its peoples.These banks, no, are not going to be taking on projects solely because they will help the common man. The common man will not be represented except to the extent that they’re represented in their governments. But new economic forces and especially state forces that can decree that the world move in a more orderly manner will have the upper hand in this bank, because China is the most important member.

Fonte: TRNN

Keiser Report: Debauchery Against Money

La nueva geopolítica del petróleo

¿En qué contexto general se está dibujando la nueva geopolítica del petróleo? El país hegemónico, Estados Unidos, considera a China como la única potencia contemporánea capaz, a medio plazo (en la segunda mitad del siglo XXI), de rivalizar con él y de amenazar su hegemonía solitaria a nivel mundial. Por ello, Washington instauró secretamente, desde principio de los años 2000, una “desconfianza estratégica” con respecto a Pekín.
El presidente Barack Obama decidió reorientar la política exterior norteamericana considerando como criterio principal este parámetro. Estados Unidos no quiere encontrarse de nuevo en la humillante situación de la Guerra Fría (1948-1989), cuando tuvo que compartir su hegemonía mundial con otra “superpotencia”, la Unión Soviética. Los consejeros de Obama formulan esta teoría de la siguiente manera: “Un sólo planeta, una sola superpotencia”.
En consecuencia, Washington no deja de incrementar sus fuerzas y sus bases militares en Asia Oriental para intentar “contener” a China. Pekín constata ya el bloqueo de su capacidad de expansión marítima por los múltiples “conflictos de los islotes” con Corea del Sur, Taiwán, Japón, Vietnam, Filipinas… Y por la poderosa presencia de la VIIª flota de Estados Unidos. Paralelamente, la diplomacia norteamericana refuerza sus relaciones con todos los Estados que poseen fronteras terrestres con China (exceptuando a Rusia). Lo que explica el reciente y espectacular acercamiento de Washington con Vietnam y con Birmania.
Esta política prioritaria de atención hacia el Extremo Oriente y de contención de China sólo es posible si Estados Unidos logra poder alejarse de Oriente Próximo. En este escenario estratégico, Washington interviene tradicionalmente en tres ámbitos. En primer lugar, en el ámbito militar: Washington se encuentra inmerso en varios conflictos, especialmente en Afganistán contra los talibanes y en Irak-Siria contra la Organización del Estado Islámico. En segundo lugar, en el ámbito de la diplomacia, en particular con la República Islámica de Irán, con el objetivo de limitar su expansión ideológica e impedir el acceso de Teherán a la fuerza nuclear. Y, en tercer lugar, en el ámbito de la solidaridad, especialmente con respecto a Israel, para quien Estados Unidos sigue siendo una especie de “protector en última instancia”.
Esta “sobreimplicación” directa de Washington en la región (particularmente después de la Guerra del Golfo en 1991) ha mostrado los “límites de la potencia norteamericana”, que no ha podido ganar realmente ninguno de los conflictos en los cuales se ha implicado fuertemente (Irak, Afganistán). Conflictos que han tenido, para las arcas de Washington, un coste astronómico con consecuencias desastrosas incluso para el sistema financiero internacional.
Actualmente, Washington tiene claro que Estados Unidos no puede realizar simultáneamente dos grandes guerras de alcance mundial. Por lo tanto, la alternativa es la siguiente: o Estados Unidos continúa implicándose en el “pantanal” de Oriente Próximo en conflictos típicos del siglo XIX; o se concentra en la urgente contención de China, cuyo fulgurante impulso podría anunciar a medio plazo la decadencia de Estados Unidos.
La decisión de Barack Obama es obvia: debe hacer frente al segundo reto, pues éste será decisivo para el futuro de Estados Unidos en el siglo XXI. En consecuencia, este país debe retirarse progresivamente –pero imperativamente– de Oriente Próximo.
Aquí se plantea una pregunta: ¿por qué Estados Unidos se ha implicado tanto en Oriente Próximo, hasta el punto de descuidar al resto del mundo, desde el fin de la Guerra Fría? Para esta pregunta, la repuesta puede limitarse a una palabra: petróleo.
Desde que Estados Unidos dejó de ser autosuficiente en lo que al petróleo se refiere, a finales de los años 1940, el control de las principales zonas de producción de hidrocarburos se convirtió en una “obsesión estratégica” norteamericana. Lo cual explica parcialmente la “diplomacia de los golpes de Estado” de Washington, especialmente en Oriente Medio y en América Latina.
En Oriente Próximo, en los años 1950, a medida que el viejo Imperio Británico se retiraba y quedaba reducido a su archipiélago inicial, el Imperio estadounidense lo reemplazaba mientras colocaba a la cabeza de los países de esas regiones a sus “hombres”, sobre todo en Arabia Saudí y en Irán, principales productores de petróleo del mundo, junto con Venezuela, ya bajo control estadounidense en la época.
Hasta hace poco, la dependencia de Washington respecto al petróleo y al gas de Oriente Próximo le impidió considerar la posibilidad de retirarse de la región. ¿Qué ha cambiado entonces para que Estados Unidos piense ahora en retirarse de Oriente Próximo? El petróleo y el gas de esquisto, cuya producción por el método llamado “fracking” aumentó significativamente a comienzos de los años 2000. Eso modificó todos los parámetros. La explotación de ese tipo de hidrocarburos (cuyo coste es más elevado que el del petróleo “tradicional”) fue favorecida por el importante aumento del precio de los hidrocarburos que, en promedio, superaron los 100 dólares por barril entre 2010 y 2013.
Actualmente, Estados Unidos ha recuperado la autosuficiencia energética e incluso está convirtiéndose otra vez en un importante exportador de hidrocarburos. Por lo tanto, ya puede por fin considerar la posibilidad de retirarse de Oriente Próximo, con la condición de cauterizar rápidamente varias heridas que, en algunos casos, datan de más de un siglo.
Por esa razón, Obama retiró casi la totalidad de las tropas norteamericanas de Irak y de Afganistán. Estados Unidos participó muy discretamente en los bombardeos de Libia y se negó a intervenir contra las autoridades de Damasco, en Siria. Por otra parte, Washington busca a marchas forzadas un acuerdo con Teherán sobre el tema nuclear y presiona a Israel para que su gobierno progrese urgentemente hacia un acuerdo con los palestinos. En todos estos temas se percibe el deseo de Washington de cerrar los frentes en Oriente Próximo para pasar a otra cuestión (China) y olvidar así las pesadillas de Oriente Próximo.

Todo esto se desarrollaba perfectamente mientras los precios del petróleo seguían altos, cerca de 100 dólares el barril. El precio de explotación del barril de petróleo de esquisto es de aproximadamente 60 dólares, lo que deja a los productores un margen considerable (entre 30 y 40 dólares el barril).
Aquí es donde Arabia Saudí ha decidido intervenir. Riad se opone a que Estados Unidos se retire de Oriente Próximo. Sobre todo si Washington establece antes un acuerdo sobre el tema nuclear con Teherán, lo que los saudíes consideran demasiado favorable a Irán. Además, según la monarquía wahabita, expondría a los saudíes, y a los suníes en general, a convertirse en víctimas de lo que llaman “el expansionismo chií”. Hay que tener presente que los principales yacimientos de hidrocarburos saudíes se encuentran en zonas de población chií.
Considerando que dispone de las segundas reservas mundiales de petróleo, Arabia Saudí decidió usar el petróleo para sabotear la estrategia norteamericana. Oponiéndose a las consignas de la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP), Riad decidió, contra toda lógica comercial aparente, aumentar considerablemente su producción y hacer de ese modo bajar los precios del petróleo, inundando el mercado de petróleo barato. La estrategia dio rápidamente resultados. En poco tiempo, los precios del petróleo bajaron un 50%. El precio del barril descendió a 40 dólares (antes de subir ligeramente hasta aproximadamente 55-60 dólares actualmente).
Esta política asestó un duro golpe al “fracking”. La mayoría de los grandes productores estadounidenses de gas de esquisto están actualmente en crisis, endeudados y corren el riesgo de quebrar (lo que implica una amenaza para el sistema bancario norteamericano que, generosamente, había ofrecido abundantes créditos a los neopetroleros). A 40 dólares el barril, el esquisto ya no resulta rentable. Ni las excavaciones profundas “off shore”. Numerosas compañías petroleras importantes ya han anunciado que cesan sus explotaciones en alta mar porque no son rentables, provocando la pérdida de decenas de miles de empleos.
Una vez más, el petróleo es menos abundante. Y los precios suben ligeramente. Pero las reservas de Arabia Saudí son suficientemente importantes para que Riad regule el flujo y ajuste su producción de manera que permita un ligero aumento del precio (hasta 60 dólares aproximadamente) pero sin que se lleguen a superar los límites que permitirían reanudar la producción mediante el “fracking” y en los yacimientos marítimos a gran profundidad. De este modo, Riad se ha convertido en el árbitro absoluto en materia de precio del petróleo (parámetro decisivo para las economías de decenas de países entre los cuales figuran Argelia, Venezuela, Nigeria, México, Indonesia, etc.).
Estas nuevas circunstancias obligan a Barack Obama a reconsiderar sus planes. La crisis del “fracking” podría representar el fin de la autosuficiencia de energía fósil en Estados Unidos. Y, por lo tanto, la vuelta a la dependencia de Oriente Próximo (y también de Venezuela, por ejemplo). Por ahora, Riad parece haber ganado su apuesta. ¿Hasta cuándo?

Fonte: Le Monde

Martin Wolf: “The embattled future of global trade policy”

The embattled future of global trade policy

Ingram Pinn illustration

Should proposed US plurilateral trade agreements be welcomed? This is a big question, not least for those who consider the liberalisation of world trade to be a signal achievement. It is also highly controversial.

Since the failure of the “Doha round” of multilateral negotiations — launched shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 — the focus of global trade policy has shifted towards plurilateral agreements restricted to a limited subgroup of partners. The most significant are US-led: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. As a study by the US Council of Economic Advisers puts it, the Obama administration’s trade agenda aims to put America “at the center of an integrated trade zone covering nearly two-thirds of the global economy and almost 65 per cent of US goods trade”.

The TPP is a negotiation with 11 countries, most importantly Japan. Its partners account for 36 per cent of world output, 11 per cent of population and about one-third of merchandise trade. The TTIP is between the US and the EU, which account for 46 per cent of global output and 28 per cent of merchandise trade. The main partner not included in these negotiations is, of course, China.

Some of the countries participating in the TPP still have quite high barriers to imports of goods. The CEA notes the relatively high tariffs in Malaysia and Vietnam and agricultural protection in Japan. It also argues that the TPP partners and EU have higher barriers to imports of services than the US.

Yet lowering barriers is only a part of the US aim. The CEA report adds that, in the TPP, Washington is proposing “enforceable labor protections and greener policies”. But it is also seeking “strong enforcement of intellectual property rights”. In the TTIP, “both sides seek agreement on crosscutting disciplines on regulatory coherence and transparency” — in other words making rules more compatible with one another and more transparent for business. Thus, both the TPP and TTIP are efforts to shape the rules of international commerce. Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organisation, argues that “TPP is mostly, though not only, about classical protection-related market access issues . . . TTIP is mostly, though not only, about . . . .  regulatory convergence”.

Whether these negotiations succeed will depend on whether the administration obtainstrade promotion authority from Congress. But should we want them to succeed?

The straightforward points in favour are: plurilateral agreements are now the best way to liberalise global trade, given the failure of multilateral negotiations; their new rules and procedures offer the best template for the future; and they will bring significant gains.

These arguments have force. Yet there are also counter-arguments.

Martin Wolf 1

With limited political capital, the focus on plurilateral trade arrangements risks diversion of effort from the WTO. That might undermine the potency of global rules. Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University stresses such risks. Furthermore, preferential trading arrangements risk distorting complex global production chains.

Another concern is that the US is using its clout to impose regulations that are not in the interests of its partners. I would be less concerned about labour and environmental standards, though both might be inappropriate, than about protection of intellectual property. It is not true that tighter standards are in the interest of all. On the contrary, if US standards were to be imposed, the costs might be very high.

Do you think Britain should repeal the Human Rights Act?

Finally, the economic gains are unlikely to be large. Trade has been substantially liberalised already and any gains decline as barriers fall. A study of the TPP by thePeterson Institute for International Economics in Washington suggests the rise in US real incomes would be below 0.4 per cent of national income. A study of the TTIP published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London comes to slightly higher figures for the EU and US. Completion of the TPP and TTIP might raise US real incomes by 1 per cent of GDP. This is not nothing, but it is not large.

Martin Wolf 2

The US-EU agreement does not raise concerns about the US ability to bully its partners. In trade, the two sides are equally matched. There are three further concerns with the TTIP, however.

First, Jeronim Capaldo of Tufts University has argued that estimates of the gains ignore macroeconomic costs. His Keynesian approach argues that the EU will lose demand because of a fall in its trade surplus. This is ridiculous. Macroeconomic problems should be addressed with macroeconomic policies. Trade policy has different goals.

Second, some of the barriers they are attempting to remove reflect different attitudes to risk. The negotiators will have to devise a text that allows co-ordination of regulatory procedures — over drug testing, say, without imposing identical preferences. If Europeans do not want genetically modified organisms, they must be allowed to preserve that preference. If trade policy treads on such sacred ground, it will die.

Martin Wolf 3

Finally, we have the vexed issue of investor-state dispute settlement. Many complain that political choices — publicly-funded health systems or the right to control drug prices — might be put at risk by systems biased in favour of business. Negotiators fervently deny this. They had better be right.

On balance, the benefits of the TPP and TTIP will probably be positive, but modest. But there are risks. They must not become an alternative to the WTO or an attempt to push China to the margins of trade policy making. They must not be used to impose damaging regulations or subvert legitimate ones. Tread carefully. Overreaching could prove counterproductive even to the cause of global trade liberalisation.

martin.wolf@ft.com

. . .

Letter in response to this column:

The macroeconomic angle on the trade debate / From Jeronim Capaldo

Fonte: Financial Times