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Nicky Morgan: Our report on Alternative Arrangements holds the key to leaving the EU at last – and avoiding a general election

Nicky Morgan is Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, a former Education Secretary, and MP for Loughborough.

Last Thursday, members of the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission, which I am co-chairing with Greg Hands, visited Brussels. We were there to present our interim report on how alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland can be found, and to listen to comments on our report.

Later this week, we will present our final report and draft protocols, again to demonstrate how, with pragmatism and goodwill on all sides, a solution can be found. Without one, it appears that it will not be possible to have a withdrawal deal passed by a majority in the Commons and, if the UK is to leave the EU, then it will do so without any deal or formal understanding about the future relationship between the UK and EU being in place.

Meanwhile, last week, a number of MPs backed amendments to the legislation on Northern Ireland that we were debating in the Commons that aimed to stop Parliament being prorogued – and, therefore, to stop a No Deal Brexit taking place. One such amendment was passed and two were not.

We have reached a quite extraordinary state of affairs when the thought of proroguing Parliament to stop MPs having a say on a major shift in the UK’s foreign and trade policy is even a possibility.

I understand why colleagues want to put down a marker now that prorogation won’t work. And I understand why so many are so keen to take on the undesired outcome (for most people) of a No Deal outcome to Brexit.

On those issues it is worth reading the replies both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have sent to the One Nation Caucus on these issues.

From Boris Johnson:

“With regards to your question on ‘No Deal’, I want to again emphasise that this is not an outcome I am aiming for and is not an outcome that I want. As I have set out before, I believe that the very act of preparing for ‘No Deal’ will make that scenario less likely…I would also like to make it absolutely clear that I am not attracted to arcane procedures such as the prorogation of Parliament. As someone who aspires to be the Prime Minister of a democratic nation, I believe in finding consensus in the House of Commons.”

And from Jeremy Hunt:

“I would reassure your colleagues that I still believe that the quickest way, the safest way, and the most secure way to leave the EU is with a good deal….In no circumstances would I prorogue Parliament as a means of securing a No Deal outcome.”

So it seems to me that rather than poring over our Erskine May and Commons standing orders, we would be better to recognise the reality of parliamentary arithmetic, and the need for a positive way through the current Brexit impasse.

Now more than ever the public (and the EU) need to see what MPs are in favour of – not what we are against. If anything, we need to crystallise the Brady amendment into something tangible and practical.

And the tangible and practical proposal on offer will be the Alternative Arrangements report and protocols produced by the Prosperity UK Commission.

On these proposals and in reply to our letter, Johnson said this:

“Key to this new deal will be avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland, a prospect no serious candidate would ever dream of entertaining. To that end, I have read the Alternative Arrangements with great interest and I will continue to use it as a consultation document moving forward. The EU has also recently announced that it will be looking into the Alternative Arrangements, a clear sign that our joint goal to ensure there is never a no hard border in Northern Ireland is already underway.”

Hunt said this:

“The negotiating team would be tasked with producing an alternative exit deal, based on the Alternative Arrangements proposals, that can command a majority in the House of Commons and address, seriously and forensically, legitimate EU and Irish concerns about the Irish border and the integrity of the Single Market.”

I would therefore hope that all those working on plans to stop No Deal will find the time to add, to their summer reading lists, our final report. It is clear that it will be influential with whoever is the next Prime Minister. And it has always been the case that the best way to avoid No Deal is to have a deal, which is what we have been working on since April.

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Qatar Using Italy to Abuse US: Government Money Warps Everything Everywhere

Westlake Legal Group Cicci Qatar Using Italy to Abuse US: Government Money Warps Everything Everywhere us travel association United Arab Emirates United Airlines unions trade qatar Politics Policy Open Skies News law italian air International Affairs Government Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade Economy Delta Air Lines Business & Economy American Airlines airlines airline industry

One hundred-plus countries engage each year in tens of trillions of dollars worth of global trade.

Far too many nations engage in all sorts of anti-free trade actions – so as to warp the markets to their advantage.

And when caught, far too many nations don’t stop their anti-free trade actions – they look for new and innovative ways to continue rigging the system.

To demonstrate an ongoing, rolling, evolutionary scam, we humbly give you – The Open Skies Agreement:

“‘The United States has 120 Open Skies agreements with countries from around the world. The agreements are meant to expand international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States.’

“Outstanding – until someone starts cheating and lying:

“‘The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies released a report in January 2015 that alleges that the governments of Qatar and the U.A.E. have granted close to $40 billion in subsidies and “other unfair benefits” to its state-owned carriers.

“‘Since then, they say, another $10 billion has been identified as government subsidies.

“‘The Partnership asserts that the subsidies violates the Open Skies agreements and undermines the basic principles of fair and open competition behind the Open Skies policy.’

“A fifty-yard dash is not a ‘fair and open competition’ – if the other runners are putting $50 billion worth of rocks in your pockets.

“You can call this all sorts of things – but you can not call it ‘free trade.’”

Thankfully, Qatar got popped for rigging the system.

Here’s How President Donald Trump’s Open Skies Deal with Qatar Will Help Make America Great Again

Unthankfully, Qatar didn’t start complying – they started an anti-free trade, anti-Open Skies workaround.

In the cinematic classic The Godfather – Part II, we are provided a precursor to Qatar’s latest move.  Mob enforcer Willie Cicci is testifying before Congress – and he has this exchange with Senator Pat Geary:

Senator Pat Geary: I’m interested to know, was there always a buffer involved?

Willie Cicci: A what?

Senator Pat Geary: A buffer. Someone in between you and your possible superiors who passed on to you the actual order to kill someone.

Willie Cicci: Oh yeah, a buffer. (Laughter)  The family had a lot of buffers.

Behold Qatar’s buffer – Air Italy:

Air Italy Is Just Qatar Airways Draped In An Italian Flag:

“Exploring new frontiers in commercial aviation, let’s take a chronically money-losing European airline and put it together with a heavily subsidized Middle East airline and then dramatically boost flying to the United States, even though the Middle East airline had indicated it wouldn’t do that.

“What do you get?

“‘The Italian version of Qatar,’ is what United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz called it earlier this month, during a conference call with reporters.

“In 2017, Qatar purchased 49% of Air Italy, which very quickly thereafter adopted a Qatar strategy:

“Build a hub with rapid expansion of U.S. service, enabled by lots of new airplanes purchased with government money.”

So Qatar hasn’t stopped their anti-Open Skies mass subsidies of flights into the United States.  They have purchased a foreign front – through which they run their mass subsidies of flights into the United States.

Whether the mass subsidies are in Qatari Riyal or Italian Euro – they are illegal.

I very much appreciate and admire President Trump’s taking on the mind-bogglingly monstrous task of trying to right the very many global trade wrongs the United States has for decades suffered.

One price of the mission – is eternal vigilance.

Having popped Qatar once – Trump must pop Qatar again.  And not just for the sake of the Open Skies Agreement:

“Qatar must be called to account, and not just for its own mischief but for the message that would send to the Chinese and other major U.S. trading partners.

“If Qatar Airways continues to use Air Italy as its proxy, and gets by with it, that would tell China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Europe they can agree to trade deals and if they’re caught cheating the United States will look the other way. Someone could write a book, and call it ‘The Art of the Steal.’”

Which, by the way, countries like China have already been doing.

NAFTA’s ‘Uninvited Guest’: Why China’s Path to U.S. Manufacturing Runs Through Mexico

Uber-subsidizing China spent decades running trillions of dollars worth of their uber-subsidized goods through Mexico (and Canada) into the US.  To circumvent trade limits imposed upon them because of their uber-subsidies – by abusing the daylight out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) advantages Mexico and Canada enjoyed.

Which Trump for decades understood.  Which is why he – when he became President – rightly killed NAFTA.

And Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada – because China has been running through Mexico and Canada their ridiculously subsidized steel and aluminum.  Which he will remove when NAFTA successor USMCA – which addresses the China buffer – is ratified.

Qatar’s Air Italy – is China’s Mexico and Canada.

A Godfather buffer – to yet again get around the law.

President Trump popped Qatar once.

It’s time for him to do it again.

The post Qatar Using Italy to Abuse US: Government Money Warps Everything Everywhere appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Cicci-300x173 Qatar Using Italy to Abuse US: Government Money Warps Everything Everywhere us travel association United Arab Emirates United Airlines unions trade qatar Politics Policy Open Skies News law italian air International Affairs Government Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade Economy Delta Air Lines Business & Economy American Airlines airlines airline industry   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Actually

Let’s get real.  There are issues on which Britain and America will disagree, such as how to deal with Iran.  But both countries are members of the “five eyes”, and the closest possible security relationship will continue, despite the occasional blip from both sides.  The two countries are, with the anomalous exception of Greece, NATO’s biggest contributors.  They work intimately together at the United Nations and in other international institutions.  The UK is the U.S’s seventh biggest trading partner with, the latter’s trade representative reports, “$127.0 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018.”  And the two countries are bound together by a web of historic and cultural ties.

No Conservative Government would seek to weaken this relationship, regardless of whether it were led by Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson.  This applies regardless of Donald Trump’s tweets about and attitude to our Ambassador.  Perhaps Johnson should have taken the same line as Hunt and insisted that Kim Darroch would see out his term.  But nothing of import would have changed as a result.  Darroch was already due to leave his post this winter.  So he would have left.  Trump will continue being Trump, in any event.  And American and British Ministers, civil servants, members of the armed forces, security officials, MPs and Congress members will go about their business as usual.

The essence of the matter is that Darroch’s relationship with the White House, and thus his wider effectiveness, was finished from the moment those diplomatic cables were published.  He is no way to blame and (from a broader point of view than that of journalism) the leak of his cables was abhorrent.  Wearing our citizenship hat, we hope that the leaker is eviscerated – to use Johnson’s own word. But whether he is or not, life will go on, and a replacement will be appointed.  That person will serve under the new Prime Minister and it would thus make sense for this new Prime Minister to appoint him, rather than Theresa May.

There is a strain of anti-Americanism in British life.  Maybe this is inevitable if one cousin is bigger (America) and the other better (Britain, or so most of us would say) than the other.  That famous scene in Love Actually in which a British Prime Minister tells an American President to get knotted has a certain resonance.  This is especially so when the real-life President in question is Trump.  As a site that wanted Hillary Clinton instead – Trump’s position on NATO was very worrying – we understand the feeling.  But is has to be said that he’s turned out better than we feared.  To pick up on the very point that most concerned us, the defence alliance is still alive and, it seems, kicking.

We are suspicious of Trump’s protectionist stance, see no evidence that he has a plan for controlling spending, and wonder whether an economic correction will take place at precisely the wrong moment for the President in America’s electoral cycle.  That touches on a key point: as matters stand, Trump is likely to be re-elected.  We may have to live with all the faults of which Darroch complained a while longer.  In which case, whingeing about the President – his tweets, instability, his boasts – is like whining about the weather. Better to seek to exploit his instincts.  These may be anti-Darroch but they appear to be pro-British.

That being so, it is worth making every effort to strike a trade deal, and exploring whether NAFTA membership is a runner.  Some on the Right, reacting to anti-Americanism on the Left, take being pro-American off the chart: parts of it seem to think Britain should be the 51st state.  This isn’t where the temper of our country is and, when it comes to trade, the Trump administration will doubtless put America First (as any other administration would seek to do too).  But if Global Britain is to mean anything, striving for a trade deal with the United States should be part of it.  For better or worse, the facts of life are less Love Actually than Trump Actually.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Daniel Hannan: For Brexit to work, power must be stripped from the quangorats – and returned to people we elect

Daniel Hannan is an MEP for South-East England, and a journalist, author and broadcaster. His most recent book is What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit.

When Donald Trump entered the White House, his then senior adviser, Steve Bannon, set out the administration’s three priorities. First, “national security and sovereignty” (hurrah!) Second, “economic nationalism” (boo!) Third, “the deconstruction of the administrative state” (huh?)

Few Americans had much idea of what “the administrative state” was; but conservative think-tankers and writers were ecstatic. Indeed, Trump’s readiness to act against the administrative state (or the regulatory state) is, along with his judicial appointments, the main reason that they overlook his character flaws and back him.

In Britain, we call it “the quango state”. We mean the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies that can set rules without legislation, raise money without taxation, and impose decisions without accountability. We mean bodies like the Charity Commission, the National Lottery Community Fund, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the Carbon Trust, the Export Guarantees Advisory Council, the Care Quality Commission, the Food Standards Agency, the Low Pay Commission, the Information Commissioner’s Office, UK Sport, the Highways Agency and a hundred others.

There may be occasions when MPs need narrowly and contingently to delegate authority. But what has happened in Britain, as in other large democracies, goes well beyond specific outsourced functions. We have seen the growth of an imperium in imperio, a network of bodies staffed by people who think in similar ways, and who pursue their agendas more or less independently of the wishes of Parliament or people.

Naturally, those who share the quangocrat outlook – fondness for higher public spending, obsession with diversity and inclusiveness, enthusiasm for the EU – are untroubled by this state of affairs. But Conservatives have never much cared for it, and fitfully go through phases of scrapping the more obviously obsolete quangos while encouraging people from beyond the Left to apply for the others. This website, for example, runs a regular “Calling Conservatives” feature, aimed at encouraging more Tory applications to some of these bodies. None the less, perhaps inevitably, the system remains dominated by Blairite smoothies.

So pervasive is the soft Left culture in our administrative state that attempts to even the balance are often seen as an invasion, and the few Conservatives who take on positions on even purely advisory bodies can be hounded out of them. Just ask Roger Scruton.

The first task of the new prime minister in a couple of weeks’ time will be to reassert the supremacy of our elected representatives over our functionaries. That might strike you as an eccentric statement. Surely the new Prime Minister’s first task will be Brexit?

Yes, but the two things can no longer be separated. Over the past three years, we have seen large chunks of our standing bureaucracy – civil servants, quangocrats and other officials –working to frustrate the referendum result. The Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office have harassed Vote Leave campaigners. Eurosceptic donors even appear to have been targeted by the tax authorities. At the same time, senior civil servants have taken full advantage of Theresa May’s disastrous readiness to be ruled by official advice.

What I am saying should be uncontroversial. The purpose of having elected ministers at the top of departments is to ensure that those departments – including the quangos they fund – work for the general population rather than for themselves. A minister who simply does what his officials tell him is guaranteed a quiet life. He will be well regarded. He will get a reputation as a safe pair of hands. Approving remarks about him will find their way into the papers. But he is utterly failing to do his job.

Not every Secretary of State is like this, of course. Indeed, the starting line-up in the current Conservative leadership election included some of the ministers who had shown themselves most prepared to impose themselves on their departments. But, in general, May preferred – and offered preferment to – ministers in her own image: that is, ministers who deferred to the experts, said little in public and declined to rock the boat.

Well, that won’t do any more. Not at a time like this. We need the entire government machine to be working to make a success of Brexit. We need to be cutting taxes, especially business taxes, so as to attract investment. We need to be exploiting the regulatory freedoms we acquire as we diverge from Brussels. We need to let our financial services, in particular, compete against their global rivals. We need to remove tariffs and trade barriers, unilaterally if necessary. These things will require an act of collective national endeavour. We simply can’t afford to let Sir Humphrey frustrate things because of his sincere but, in the circumstances, inadmissible belief that we must cling on to every aspect of EU membership.

I’d be tempted to give Michael Gove the task of streamlining our standing functionariat, with Dominic Cummings as his SpAd. That should sort things out.

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John Lamont: Contrary to the SNP’s expectations, the closer we get to Brexit, the more popular the Union becomes

John Lamont is MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and is a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. This article is from the latest edition of Bright Blue’s magazine, Centre Write.

Like many people across the UK, it took me some time to digest the news that broke on the morning of 24th June 2016. Whatever side of the argument you were on, the result of the EU referendum was a surprise to most people.

However, one person in the UK wasted no time to jump on the vote, so sure was she of the implications. As soon as the result had been declared, Nicola Sturgeon hastily called a press conference at Bute House, her official Edinburgh residence. She stood in front of assembled media and declared that a second referendum on Scottish independence was now firmly back on the table, asserting that Scots were so outraged about leaving the EU they would now want to leave the UK. Her political calculation was that she would be able to exploit the fact that the majority of Scots voted to Remain to get her flagging campaign to break up Britain back up and running.

This press conference has set the tone for the political debate in Scotland since. The SNP have time and time again confidently asserted that Brexit makes Scottish independence much more likely. At every available opportunity they have sought to utilise Brexit to argue the only option is to leave the UK. It is almost a weekly occurrence for the First Minister or one of her senior Ministers to repeat that Brexit makes Scottish independence a sure thing.

After the EU referendum, a re-energised SNP embarked on a nationwide campaign to sell their new independence message. They commissioned a so-called ‘Growth Commission’, led by Andrew Wilson, the economist, to refresh the hugely discredited economic case for leaving the UK which Scots rejected in 2014.

Given the First Minister’s confidence, an outside observer might be led to conclude that Scottish independence is a likely outcome of Brexit. But three years on from that Bute House press conference, that is not how things have turned out.

Poll after poll shows that support for Scottish independence is actually falling, despite the SNP’s best efforts. One of the most recent, commissioned by Angus Robertson, a former SNP MP,  showed support for the Union is up to 62 per cent. At a time when the political establishment in the UK is consumed by Brexit and the nationalists are focused entirely on independence, support for the SNP’s cause is falling, not rising.

The SNP’s ‘Growth Commission’ came back with the conclusion that leaving the UK would result in an extra ten years of austerity, far beyond anything the UK Government has imposed, and it has now been quietly shelved by the SNP leadership.

And in 2017, the First Minister’s impulsive reaction to Brexit resulted in her losing a third of her MPs, including Alex Salmond and Robertson, both to Scottish Conservatives like myself campaigning against another independence referendum. The closer we get to Brexit, the more support for independence falls.

The SNP clearly miscalculated that Brexit would push people towards independence. So, why are Scots still backing the United Kingdom? There are, in my mind, two main reasons.

First, many independence supporters actually want to leave the EU. The SNP kept a tight lid on them during the EU referendum, but since then, senior figures such as Jim Sillars, the former deputy leader of the SNP, have vocally supported leaving the EU. A NatCen report found that over a third of SNP voters backed Brexit.

This makes sense; pro-Brexit Scottish nationalists are at least consistent. Why would you campaign for Holyrood to have more powers, only to want to hand large parts of them back to Brussels? The impact of the SNP’s posturing on Brexit has been that many of these voters have stopped supporting independence.

The second reason that support for independence is falling is that most Scots are, to use a good Scottish phrase, scunnered by the endless constitutional debate. The vast majority of my constituents, whether they voted Leave or Remain, just want Brexit to happen so we can talk about something else. And the last thing they want their politicians to be focusing on is another debate about breaking up the United Kingdom.

If Brexit has shown us anything it is that leaving a political union is challenging. And because the UK is a market worth four times more to Scottish businesses than the EU, Brexit would look like a walk in the park compared to leaving the UK. And unlike with the EU, Scotland is a significant net beneficiary from the UK, meaning independence would result in an instant hit to public finances, even if trade was miraculously left unaffected.

Time and time again I listen to speeches from SNP Members of Parliament outlining how damaging leaving the EU would be for Scotland. Yet, in the same breath, they argue in favour of leaving the United Kingdom. Unpicking more than 300 years’ worth of political, economic and fiscal union would be a huge undertaking, much more substantial than Brexit. So people look back on the SNP’s claim in 2014 that independence could be negotiated and delivered in 18 months and realise that this was complete nonsense. In many ways, Brexit makes the argument for leaving the UK much weaker and that is something the SNP leadership misjudged back in 2016.

Most Scots continue to support remaining part of the UK, but that could change. The SNP should not be underestimated. They have an army of highly motivated volunteers and everything their politicians do is designed to try to boost support for independence.

While we must continue to highlight the weaknesses of the SNP’s argument, the focus for politicians who want the UK to survive and thrive must be on showing Scots how they benefit from remaining part of the UK.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ben Houchen: Which candidate will show leadership on free ports?

Ben Houchen is the Mayor of the Tees Valley.

Free Ports, Free Trade Zones to give them their proper name, are fast becoming one of the hottest issues of the Conservative Leadership Contest. In fact, of all of the policy ideas being floated by candidates, they could be seen as the litmus test of their commitment to Brexit.

Free Ports exist around the world and take a slightly different form depending on where they are. From South Carolina to Singapore, and from Dubai to Dalian, economic growth, trade and job creation are supercharged by creating areas inside a country’s national borders, which fall outside of its customs border.

Hard financial incentives like tax breaks, tariff inversion, and R&D funding are combined with measures like simplified planning, expedited customs processed and express visas to make these zones extremely attractive to business. They have been used to create growth in previously undeveloped areas, but in post-Brexit Britain they can be used to turn around the fortunes of our least competitive regions.

Since the idea of creating Free Zones when we leave the EU was first mooted by Rishi Sunak, the MP for Richmond whose North Yorkshire constituency borders my Tees Valley Region, they have caused great excitement in pro-Brexit and pro-market circles, and all the disdain you would expect from the Left.

While Conservatives, some of the more sensible Labourites and even Scottish Nationalists have got behind the idea, seeing the jobs and growth it can yield, some individuals who would like to see the economy operated as an arm of the Government have trotted out the same old, tried and tested anti-trade tropes.

Free Ports are about creating areas where manufacturing will flourish, particularly in industries like renewables and chemicals, where British companies need a level playing field with foreign competitors. They would mean thousands of well-paid jobs, all of which protect our world-leading employment rights. Plus, even when you take into account the cost of tax breaks, the Treasury would make a net gain.

Not quite the dens of tax avoidance and warehouses full of stolen art that the left would have you believe Free Zones area. Some have even gone so far as to suggest they would endanger worker’s safety and environmental protections. The proposal I have presented to both candidates sets out, clearly, a system of economic regeneration for use in a developed country, not the dystopian vision certain parties have tried to create

My policy ‘white paper’ offers our next Prime Minister one of the tools they need to rebalance the UK’s economy and let some of the poorest regions stand on their own two feet. It isn’t right for proud people, people who make things, to have to rely on London and the south east to subsidise their public services, and it is laughable to think wonks in Westminster will have the answer to this.

Free Zones are a policy developed in the North for the North, and other regions that haven’t experienced the growth London has. My proposal suggests up to six possible sites across the UK, which could create 70,000 jobs and add £4 billion to the economy.

As the Mayor of the Tees Valley, you would expect me to put my region first, but this policy really comes into its own on a national scale. However, the idea of a pilot Free Zone on Teesside makes sense for two reasons, it would have the largest positive economic impact of such area in the UK, and thanks to the South Tees Development Corporation we have a secure site, next to a port, where work can start tomorrow.

I have made no secret of my support for Boris Johnson in this contest, because I believe he has the positive global vision that post-Brexit Britain needs, and he’s not just saying this, he really believes it. I have also made no attempt to hide my admiration for Jeremy Hunt, whose service in the Cabinet has been exemplary.

Free Zones, as well as being a huge opportunity for Britain, can pay dividends for both candidates. By unequivocally backing a policy of Free Ports, with a pilot Zone in Teesside, Boris can take a step towards realising his vision for Brexit, while Jeremy can remove any doubts about his commitment to leaving.

You can read my full policy proposal here.

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Fake Free Trade: More Government There – Means Economic Destruction Here

Many countries – most especially Communist China – subsidize their domestic products that are then sold on the global market.

This isn’t free trade.

Some countries – most especially Communist China – intentionally subsidize to such an extent they sell their domestic products on the global market at a loss.

This isn’t free trade.  And this goes light years beyond anything remotely resembling economic sense.

The ONLY reason to sell things at a loss – is to gut the countries purchasing your products.

Communist China has mastered doing it to us.  They have spent the last half-century plus undercutting and thereby dismantling major sectors of our economy – to be reassembled there.  We’ve handed them trillions of dollars and millions of jobs.  It has really been titanically stupid.

Communist China is almost inarguably the best at doing this.  They are by no means the only ones doing it.  And we are by no means the only victims of it.

To wit: The European Union (EU).  Who in the face of massive foreign subsidies – did what some Americans think we should do: unilaterally disarm.  The results for the EU were catastrophic.

Westlake Legal Group Dollarphotoclub_55982352-620x506 Fake Free Trade: More Government There – Means Economic Destruction Here trade import limits trade Taxes Tariffs subsidies Politics Policy News intellectual property theft Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade fair trade Business & Economy

Fair Trade Grunge Stamp


Behold a report: Lessons from the 2006 EU Sugar Regime Reform.  Authored by Brit Patrick Chatenay:

“Patrick Chatenay has been involved with the sugar industry since 1985….In 2008, he founded ProSunergy which provides strategic advice and implementation services for the world’s sugar, renewable energy and bio-fuel industries.”

That is a severely truncated biography excerpt.  Seriously – read the whole thing.  Suffice to say – Chatenay knows of which he speaks.

Per Chatenay’s report, this bio portion is of particular interest and import:

“From 2003 to 2008, Patrick researched investment opportunities in the Brazilian sugar/alcohol industry for the Südzucker Group, following its acquisition of Saint Louis in 2000.”

The Brazilian government – subsidizes sugar to the tune of more than $4 billion per year.  As a result – they alone control about half of the entire global sugar market.

Get that?  More than 100 countries sell sugar – and Brazil has mass-subsidized its way to control of half the market.

This isn’t free trade.

And Chatenay was involved in the Brazilian sugar industry – immediately before and during the EU’s unilateral removal of all aspects of its sugar program.

A titanically stupid decision – resulting in maximum EU damage:

“Chatenay reported, ‘After dropping 22%, bulk refined sugar prices in Europe are now (2012) some 10% above what they were before the reform….’

“The European job losses were…disastrous…ultimately (leading) to the closure of 83 sugar mills and the loss of 120,000 jobs.”

The EU – having suffered so dramatically as a result of their titanic stupidity – returned to sanity:

“In a 2015 follow-up report about policy reforms, Chatenay found that sugar supports had been restored in the EU….”

Fake free traders will bemoan this restoration.  We actual free traders – understand and embrace Reality.

And the reality is – unilaterally disarming is demonstrably, titanically stupid.  The EUs disaster – proves it.

And the global market – has only gotten more fake-free-market subsidized:

“(I)n 2017 alone China, and mammoth exporters India and Brazil among others, announced new, expanded protectionist measures for their sugar industries.”

So if we were to replicate the EUs titanic stupidity and unilaterally disarm?

The damage to our economy – would be even worse than was the damage to the EUs.

The solution – is negotiating actual free trade deals.  That bring down government subsidies – everywhere.

Thereby rendering protectionism – actually-no-longer-necessary.

As the EUs folly taught us:

Pretending unfree markets are free – is titanically stupid.

And incredibly damaging to the pretenders.

The post Fake Free Trade: More Government There – Means Economic Destruction Here appeared first on RedState.

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Greg Hands: Here are the next steps towards implementing our Alternative Arrangements plan

Greg Hands is the MP for Chelsea and Fulham.

One point just about everyone in the Conservative Party agrees on is we need to deliver Brexit as soon as possible if we are not going to face some sort of existential crisis at the ballot box.

All effective political action, in my experience, rests on three qualities: keeping your overall objective resolutely in sight, but be being willing to listen and to compromise when it comes to implementation.

It was that philosophy which underpinned the Brady Amendment, the only positive Brexit amendment to pass during the recent Parliamentary debates on Brexit. It recommends approving the Withdrawal Agreement, as long as the Backstop could be “replaced with Alternative Arrangements”.

Prosperity UK’s Alternative Arrangements Commission (AAC), which I co-chair with Nicky Morgan, was launched in April to build on the Brady Amendment by developing credible and practical Alternative Arrangements to the Irish backstop. The AAC is neutral on Brexit outcomes and politically independent. We draw our legitimacy from a Parliamentary Commission, including over 40 MPs and peers, and a Technical Panel chaired by Shanker Singham and including a former head of UK Border Force, a leading Dutch customs expert, Sweden’s former Director of Customs and Fujitsu’s Industry Lead for Customs and Borders.

This week the AAC launched its interim report at an all-day consultative conference in Westminster. It’s taken a lot of work to get this far, but one thing we don’t have is time because, frankly, the Government should have started doing this work months ago. In that regard, I am delighted that, as the DEXEU Secretary of State, Stephen Barclay, told the conference, the Government has now commenced its own work in this area and set up three advisory panels.

Our ambition has been to produce credible and detailed Alternative Arrangements, and a protocol on how to implement them, and publish them as a resource for all sides in the Brexit negotiations. It’s up to the next UK Prime Minister, and his interlocutors in Brussels, Belfast, Dublin and other European capitals to work out how best to use them. We recommend that Alternative Arrangements can be fully implemented within two to three years, or sooner in many cases.

We have not recommended any single solution. Instead we have suggested a tiered trusted trader programme for large and medium-sized companies; special economic zones for cross-border communities, such Derry/Londonderry-Donegal and Newry/Dundalk; exemptions for the very smallest companies; and that Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) checks should be carried out by mobile units away from the border using the existing EU Customs Code or a potential common area for SPS measures.

We will spend the next few weeks sharing our ideas with key stakeholders in Belfast, Dublin, Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Paris – indeed, I am due to visit Holland and Germany as I write. We are also encouraging people to share their comments and ideas by filling in the consultation form. We will listen carefully to what people have to say before publishing a final report, including the Protocol, in July.

The first and most important precondition we set for the report is that any workable arrangements must protect the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement. An important aspect of the AAC’s work has been the opportunity to spend time in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Let’ s be honest, listening and respecting Irish opinion on the ground has not actually ever been a strong point of Westminster politics and we have been determined to behave and to act differently.

We’ve tried to spend spent as much time as we can talking to people, organisations and businesses in Northern Ireland and Ireland. In total, we met over 50 organisations on three separate visits. These have included Diageo (the owner of Guinness); the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association; the Irish International Freight Association; the Irish SME Association; Manufacturing NI; Londonderry Chamber of Commerce; the NI Retail Consortium; the list goes on…

The second precondition is that any solutions should rely on existing technology and processes – which, incidentally, are advancing all the time – and not any high-tech “unicorns”.

And the third precondition is that Alternative Arrangements must be compatible with any of the potential Brexit outcomes, including but not limited to the current draft Withdrawal Agreement. This means Britain would be ultimately able to adopt its own independent trade and regulatory policy.

We believe our Commission has met these conditions.

So what are we going to do, once we have finished consulting on our findings? We are going to finalise the report and publish alongside it next month a Draft Alternative Arrangements Protocol. This could either be inserted into the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure the Backstop is superseded or used on a standalone basis in any other Brexit outcome.

Politically, we hope that by genuinely listening, engaging and doing the technical work we can help break the Brexit logjam and give both sides something to negotiate around. Having demonstrated that Alternative Arrangements are possible, in a reasonably short time-frame, we can further say to both the EU and to the Irish Government that a negotiated Brexit is within reach, as long as they can make progress on the Backstop issue.

That is an incredibly important prize and it is no exaggeration to say that upon it the future of both Brexit and the Conservative Party depend. I hope all colleagues in the party can wish us good luck.

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We Shouldn’t Be Doing Business with Communist China

We didn’t win the (first) Cold War with Communist Russia – by handing them trillions of dollars.

Embargoes and Sanctions – Cold War Sanctions:

“In 1948, the United States began a campaign of economic sanctions against the Soviet Union that would last more than fifty years….

“For many years, the embargo on the Soviet Union was quite severe….

“(R)estrictions were tightened again after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. In 1983, Ronald Reagan approved the National Security Decision Directive 75, which set the policy of using economic pressure to limit the foreign policy and military options of the Soviets.”

In 1991, Communist Russia collapsed in an economically-ravaged heap.

And as important: Communist Russia spent the preceding half century limping around far less effectively – because we were denying them trillions of dollars of operating capital.

Contrast this – with how we’ve dealt with Communist China.

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President Nixon Aimed to Establish a New Strategic Framework Built on Peaceful Relations with Beijing

And “peaceful relations” – meant trade.

Which meant in the name of fake “free trade” – we would ignore all sorts of Communist China’s abuses of us and the global market.

We were suddenly quite happy to abuse Chinese prisoners – put to slave labor by the regime to make cheap stuff for us to buy.

Exposed: Slave Labor and Torture in Communist China

Human rights?  Forget about it – I’m saving twenty dollars on this TV.

American workers won’t work for one (small) bowl of rice a day – so Amercian companies have spent the last half century-plus becoming de facto Chinese companies.  To avail themselves of Communist China’s slave labor.  Thereby handing Communist China trillions of dollars to which they never otherwise would have had access.

This isn’t even remotely close to free trade.

But that’s not all.  Communist China doesn’t just trade – Communist China steals and cheats.

China has spent the last five decades stealing trillions of dollars of our companies’ Intellectual Property (IP).   And in the name of fake “free trade” – our government has done nothing to defend our companies from this inconceivably huge heist.

This isn’t even remotely close to free trade.

China cheats – by floating its currency:

‘Dirty Float’: How China Manages its Currency:

“(I)t is controlled through central bank’s buying and selling currencies in a bid to cap its appreciation….

“Market analysts widely suggest that the yuan is held at a substantially undervalued level to make its exports more globally competitive.”

Which means China’s slave labor exports – are artificially rendered even cheaper on the global market.  Which is, again, titanically unfair to American companies manufacturing in America.  Further driving them to leave America and become de facto Chinese companies.  Thereby handing Communist China trillions of dollars to which they never otherwise would have had access.

This isn’t even remotely close to free trade.

But that’s not all.  To further rig the global market in their favor – Communist China subsidizes their slave labor exports.  Which artificially renders them even cheaper on the global market.  Which is, again, titanically unfair to American companies manufacturing in America.  Further driving them to leave America and become de facto Chinese Companies.  Thereby handing Communist China trillions of dollars to which they never otherwise would have had access.

This isn’t even remotely close to free trade.

And Communist China is doing all of this – not just to take from us trillions of dollars.  Communist China is doing this – to build up the ability to impose its Communist domination and will on the entirety of the planet.

Made in China 2025: The Industrial Plan that China Doesn’t Want Anyone Talking About

China’s Master Plan: A Global Military Threat

China Is a Geopolitical Threat

5G: China’s Dream to Dominate World Technology

Oh – remember Communist Russia political prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn?

China Is ‘Threat to World’ Says Dissident Writer

Of course China also wants to dominate the United States.

China’s Plan To Dominate The World & Crush The United States

China and the United States Fight for Global Dominance

China Increasingly Challenges American Dominance of Science

And China is worming its way directly into the US.

China Infiltrating U.S. Education System in Propaganda Coup:

“From kindergarten to college, Chinese government programs indoctrinate youth.”

Controversy Surrounds (China’s) Confucius Institutes at American Universities

But hey – at least the slave labor textbooks are cheap.

We shouldn’t be importing government manipulation from anyone.  We absolutely shouldn’t be doing so from Communist China.

And as with all things trade – this isn’t just about fake “free trade.”  This is also egregiously stupid national security policy.

China’s Bid to Control America’s Energy Resources:

“Beijing is deploying predatory trade practices to seize control of the means of production on a global scale….

“Now, China has set its sights on controlling America’s energy industry….

“Just as they dumped steel and aluminum, drywall and PC plastic pipe, the Chinese have been dumping drilling equipment in the U.S. at prices so low American manufacturers can’t compete….

“And it’s not just low-end pipe fixtures. Chinese imports now target the higher-end market for more specialized equipment.

“The supply chain crucial to American energy dominance is made up of scores of small, independent family-run businesses, and thousands of jobs. All of this is at risk.

“China circumvents…tariffs by transshipping their goods through India, South Korea and other countries. Imports of Indian and Korean couplings made from Chinese steel have increased threefold over the last two years….

“China is out to cripple our domestic oil drilling equipment industry the same way it has driven so many of our other industries to the brink of extinction.

“If it succeeds, China will have veto power over the energy essential to America’s economy and national security.”

We’re on the verge of wholly handing Communist China our domestic oil and gas infrastructure.

Which I’m sure China won’t shut down – or threaten to shut down – any time our government protests even slightly any of China’s very many anti-American-and-World actions.

But hey – I just saved four cents on a gallon of gas.

So it’s all good.

The post We Shouldn’t Be Doing Business with Communist China appeared first on RedState.

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Another Pinhole In The Dike

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Credit: Pixabay

Another Pinhole In The Dike

Previously (here and here) I’ve opined that a move away from China by U.S. businesses might be in the offing. It looks like more pieces might be coming together for such a move. In a recent article over at American Thinker, Chriss Street writes

Just hours after Simon Rabinovitch, Asia editor for the Economist, claimed damage to global supply chains from the Sino-U.S. Trade War may be “irreversible” and push the world into recession, Bloomberg reported that an executive of Foxconn, Apple’s Taiwan-based primary assembly partner, has enough non-China capacity for all iPhone production.

This is huge. Although an interruption in avocados from Mexico is tolerable, stopping the flow of the latest iPhones to market would be seen as horrific in some quarters. Although Apple has not publicly indicated that a move away from China is in the works, the very idea that Apple has enough capacity elsewhere, puts paid to the cacophony of voices predicting catastrophic and irreversible damage to the markets.

Once again, a single data point isn’t indicative of any trend. However, it looks like the data points are starting to accumulate. How long before this pinhole is joined by others sufficient to collapse the dam? Stay tuned.

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

The post Another Pinhole In The Dike appeared first on RedState.

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