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No free trade deal

Written By: - Date published: 10:39 pm, March 8th, 2009 - 33 comments
Categories: economy, same old national - Tags:

The Obama administration has halted free trade talks with New Zealand. On one hand free trade is simply increased freedom of capital and without equivalent freedom of labour lends itself toward increased disparity between rich and poor.

On the other hand Douglas and his neo-liberal thugs left us with no protections at all in the 80s and 90s so we don’t have much to lose from a free trade deal.

Of course John Key thinks it’s disappointing. When Aussie got their free trade deal with the US he claimed we missed out because we didn’t follow them into Iraq:

I wonder what he’d be willing to do to get those talks back on line?

33 comments on “No free trade deal ”

  1. sweeetdisorder 1

    We already have troops in Afghanistan Bill. They were sent there by Helen.

    You must be running out of your weekly allocation of straws from which to pull at.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      And I don’t agree with that either.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        I do – failed state was starting to get very dangerous to everyone. But I don’t agree with Iraq. Regardless of the regime, it wasn’t a case for military invention.

        • Travellerev 1.1.1.1

          Iprent,

          How was Afghanistan a danger to everyone exactly?

          Even if you still believe that 19 young Hijackers could deceive the best equipped airspace protection unit in the world for more than 2 hours and that two planes could pulverise three buildings into a pyroclastic flow now killing 70.000 people from inhalation related diseases, the Taliban was prepared to deliver bin Laden to an independent court of law provided the US could show some evidence that bin Laden was indeed involved in the attacks on the US. Bin Laden to this day has not been charged by the FBI for the attack on 911 simply because there is no proof according to the selfsame FBI.

          The year 2001 for the first time in decades hardly any opium was produced in Afghanistan and for the first time in decades the population was actually growing food for themselves rather than opium for the western street junkies.

          Women and children are still treated like crap regardless of our dominance over the country.

          Other than that it seems that rather than defeat extreme Islam it has spread to Pakistan (if you believe the Wester media) and it seems imperative that we now have to attack Iran and Pakistan in order to wipe out extreme Islam over there as well. You are a smart man Iprent so why do you still believe the failed state bogus the MSM has been spouting about to lie us into this war?

          This is the reality in the Bamiyan province our boys are guarding for our imperial masters.

          By all means believe all you want about 911 but the reality is that the US did not attack Afghanistan to help out a poor oppressed people but to rape and pillage their wealth just like Iraq was not attacked to remove the CIA puppet Saddam but to rape and pillage their oil wealth.

          If you want to be scared of a failed states than perhaps you should look at the USA.
          A bankrupt imperialistic empire on the verge of total collapse with job losses numbering 23.000 a day and people loosing their homes one every 13 seconds and 31.8 million people on food stamps.
          A financial system in ruins because of the actions of a greedy few and no production of anything real to speak of left because those same greedy few, like the ones over here, exported all the jobs to China.

          And that is what we want to have a free trade deal with?

          There is nothing to trade over and nobody left to do it with. The US is a third world country, it just doesn’t know it yet and neither does New Zealand it appears.

        • Travellerev 1.1.1.2

          It seems I made to many links and I have been placed in purgatory again. Help!

        • gingercrush 1.1.1.3

          Yeah I never agreed with Iraq either. In fact I remember trolling American sites talking how cruddy they were and how much it was going to be a mistake for them to invade Iraq. But at the same time. You can’t simply withdraw troops and expect Iraq to somehow be stable. Such a view is truly naive at best.So while I never agreed to go into Iraq. The view of many that you simply withdraw from Iraq and that it would be better,I simply can’t agree with it.

          Mind you National could bomb Fiji and I’d still likely vote for them.

          [lprent: we don’t have offensive air weapons. Perhaps you mean ‘shelled’ by the navy]

          • Bill 1.1.1.3.1

            The Navy got much in the way of explosives? Or are we looking at a line of uniforms fast bowling sea shell variety shells.

            I prefer the latter.

  2. infused 2

    Indeed.

  3. Afghanistan & Iraq are two different kettles of fish. Iraq was mostly about the oil, and was largely unilateral. Afghanistan was about flushing out the Taliban & al-Qaeda, and is more of a multi-lateral operation.

    And the Oz-US FTA (signed under Dubya) was full of fish hooks. The DMCA, embargoes on Aussie sugar and beef, just to name a few. This classic gem from Aussie political blog Crikey summed it up nicely:

    ——-
    “In doing so, the Washington Post says:

    “Mr. Zoellick calculated that flawed trade deals are better than none, so he went ahead with Australia. It is true that Australian tariff cuts will boost U.S. manufactured exports. But the Australian sugar sham sends a signal to protectionists: The Bush administration will cave if you say “boo” to it. After the Central American pact promised the region a tiny crack of access to the U.S. sugar market, the lobby went into high gear to prevent a repeat with Australia. Now the lobby has won. The world’s poor farmers who are waiting for a chance to export their way out of poverty will be the losers, as will shoppers in your local supermarket.”

    So America instantly gets 99 percent tariff free access to Australia, and in 2022 we get to sell them some cattle (I prefer an 18 year old single malt with my steak, not a Scotch with my 18 year old steak), and the farmers of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida keep the milk and sugar out of the trade equations. ”
    ——–

    Free trade is enormously good – at least in theory. In practice, it only works if it’s a two-way relationship.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      Free trade is not enormously good, even in theory, unless it is accompanied by freedom of labour and environmental standards. Otherwise all it does is allow rapidly portable capital to take further advantage of “comparative advantages” like slave labour or a disregard for the environment.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Totally agree. Free-trade can really only happen if all the rules are identical so that costs are essentially the same. So you would be looking at the same minimum wage, the same ecological protections etc. Of course, when you get to that point then the best place to put the factory is in the same place that the products are being sold because the cost of transport would make exporting to expensive.

    • Matt 3.2

      The Taliban?!? You’re not still buying that old saw are you?

      Invading Iraq was about gaining control of oil production, Afghanistan was about gaining control of natural gas, and therefore petroleum production / refinement.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1984459.stm
      http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/oil.html
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline

      etc…

      Things just didn’t work out quite as smoothly as planned…

      And while I’m here, lest us also not forget the heroic efforts of the occupiers while over there.

  4. yeah indeed, heh.

  5. Karl Marx 5

    Nothing is free.

  6. Tigger 6

    Yep, Key was literally prepared to sacrifice Kiwi lives in Iraq for money.

    Sorry mate, that’s not a swap that works for me.

  7. ieuan 7

    Can someone please explain to me what ‘freedom of labour’ is and how a lack of freedom of labour leads to ‘increased disparity between rich and poor’.

    I would have thought that ‘freedom of labour’ was the ability for an employer to hire and fire at well, but considering this is a trade union site and the ability to hire and fire at will is the union ‘version of hell’ I am probably wrong.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      It’s about workers having the same mobility as capital. Free trade allows capital to avoid the construct of the nation state. Something workers cannot do. That means we can have situations like the deal with China in which they have the constructed advantage of cheap labour. If it wasn’t for the nation state they would not have a captive workforce.

      Of course the freedom of free trade deals is very much only freedom for capital.

  8. Sam Buchanan 8

    I don’t know what ‘freedom of labour’ is either. Maybe freedom to organise?

    But free trade means the freedom to move jobs to places where wages, safety standards, environmental protections and the cost of capital and assets are lower.

    In its most extreme form, such as in the China-NZ FTA, it means the ability to move workers and their conditions of work (low wages, etc) to places iwhere a local worker has better legal protection.

  9. ieuan 9

    I don’t see how freedom of labour could ever be a viable concept, unless a factory moved and all the workers moved with it. Anyone fancy going to work in China?

    A free trade agreement is about selling your goods into a market without restrictions like tariffs or sales taxes, the effects on capital and labour etc are a secondary effect of these.restrictions (or lack of restrictions).

    New Zealand has much to gain from FTA’s because there are so many restrictions on agricultural goods (especially the USA and Europe) and New Zealand is a very efficient agricultural producer.

    • Quoth the Raven 9.1

      When the US still has masses of agricultural subsidies it’s a bit of a have isn’t it?

    • IrishBill 9.2

      Try Chinese workers being able to come here without immigration restraints. I’m sure there are several hundreds if millions that would enjoy the work rights offered by us and other western nations.

  10. rave 10

    Trade is about exchange. Freedom of exchange ignores the inequality of the parties. Either workers who are selling the labour power under duress (because they can’t survive otherwise – ask WINZ), or poor peasants etc who have to sell cheap to monopoly capitalists.

    There can be no free trade, even including workers, under capitalism. The solution to the problem is to get rid of the market and to socialise the means of production, not as bailouts for the rich, but as the social property owned collectively by the vast mass of those who work for a living.

    • ieuan 10.1

      Ever been to a country that ‘socialised’ the means of production and wondered why everything was run down and there was nothing to buy? It is also just about impossible to get anyone to do anything because in a country where everyone is ‘equal’, why try harder?

      Capitalism is a long way from being perfect but it is a hell of a lot better than every other alternative.

  11. Greg 11

    “On the other hand Douglas and his neo-liberal thugs left us with no protections at all in the 80s and 90s so we don’t have much to lose from a free trade deal.”

    Please explain the benefits of protectionism?

  12. Stephen 12

    Bargaining tool 😉

  13. BLiP 13

    “Free Trade” – another oxymoron up there with “military intelligence” or “free market”.

  14. Greg 14

    Hey BLiP, did you know that trade barriers cost the third world far far more than we currently give them in aid?

    • BLiP 14.1

      Who’s we, Kemosabe?

      I don’t know what esoteric economic volume you could cite to provide even an etheric substantiation of your claim (was it something Greenspan said, perhaps?), but how about this: if the multinationals operating in the third world gave one flying fuck about non-shareholding human beings, would there be a need for international aid in the first place?

  15. Nick C 15

    Phil Goff would disagree with your position on free trade

    “Labour leader Phil Goff was yesterday optimistic that the goal of an FTA remained on track.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/2131050/Obama-puts-off-trade-talks

    He’s right. You have to be a a bit thick to not think free trade is a good thing for what is often described as an export lead economy, so its no surprise that IrishBill is writing this.

  16. Greg 16

    Here ya go BLiP. And this is just the EU…………… http://www.cne.org/pub_pdf/2003_09_04_EU_barriers_kill_PR.htm

    • BLiP 16.1

      Hahahaha – you’re not seriously suggeting data produced by the Centre for New Europe is valid – that’s like crediting the Business Roundtable with anything other than greed. Have a read of this: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Centre_for_the_New_Europe – here’s an extract:

      The funding of the CNE is not transparent. It failed to answer a think tank survey by the Corporate Europe Observatory in 2005. However, the annual reports of Exxon Mobil reveal that CNE in 2003 and 2004 received $40,000 and $80,000 respectively for its “Global Climate Change Education Efforts”.

      In other words, your citation is bollocks.

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