Policy Laundering: how the US Trade Rep is trading away America's right to unlock its devices

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9 Responses to “Policy Laundering: how the US Trade Rep is trading away America's right to unlock its devices”

  1. oasisob1 says:

    We’re fucked.

  2. Cary Allen says:

    Treaties still have to be ratified by the Senate before they have the force of law in the U.S. There are plenty of treaties that the U.S. has signed that have never been ratified (like the Law of the Sea Treaty). So there is no “locking up” until the Senate acts to ratify. Not that we can count on the Senate to do the right thing necessarily, but the USTR does not have unilateral power to bind the nation.

  3. Dave Lloyd says:

    And, to make things worse, you’re forcing your shitty policies on the rest of us via the same mechanism.

  4. anansi133 says:

    Corporate citizenship sure looks better than natural born these days. What’s a netizen to do?

    “taxation without representation” is a pretty old problem, really.

  5. Heevee Lister says:

    The office of the USTR has caused inestimable damage worldwide.  Here’s just one example.

    A friend of mine spent a year in South Korea back in 2000-01, and noticed over that year that their vehicle population rapidly evolved.  At the beginning it was mostly small cars.  A year later, you couldn’t walk a step without tripping over a big SUV or minivan.

    I did some investigation.  I learned that for years, large vehicles were heavily taxed there – the idea being that if you could afford a big, expensive car, you could probably afford to pay more tax on it.  This encouraged Koreans to buy small, efficient cars. 

    The US automakers didn’t make any vehicles that small.  But they apparently figured that if Korea would quit taxing big vehicles so much, maybe they could sell some of their hulking SUVs there.

    In 1998, the USTR got the Korean government to sign a “memorandum of understanding,” agreeing to level the vehicle taxes.  Korea also agreed to stop using vehicle taxes to support education and rural development, to not tax foreign and domestic vehicles differently to support mass transit (subway bond), and to reclassify minivans as passenger cars.

    It worked, but not quite the way the USTR had hoped.  The number of SUVs and vans in Korea increased 80% from 1999 to 2000.  But they weren’t Ford Explorers, Chevy Blazers, Dodge Caravans, and Jeep Cherokees.  They were Hyundai Gallopers, Daewoo Korandos, and Ssangyong Mussos.

    So, at the USTR’s ham-fisted urging, South Korea increased their carbon footprint and cut their support of education, rural development, and mass transit.  This would be bad enough if it were US business gaining advantage at Korea’s expense; but in the end, there wasn’t even any significant gain for GM, Ford, or Chrysler.

    The USTR is just one more example of harm done in our name by our government, but largely invisible to us, and mostly unregulated by Congress.

  6. This is the kind of internal handshaking that destroys economies and governments, methinks.

  7. I tell you as a non-american, it’d be nice to see that the US itself is negatively affected by these USTR treaties – at least then there’s a chance you guys might do something about stopping them! It’d be nice to have that candle burning at both ends.

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