Will Trump Sink Structural Changes in Exchange for Soybeans?

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Writer/Researcher, AAM

Ahead of Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He’s return to Washington, D.C. for yet another round of U.S.-China trade talks, China’s priming the pump for a potential deal. Yet, Beijing hasn’t shown signs of true compromise when it comes to the objectives as the heart of the talks: stymying China’s abuse of state subsidy programs for industry, intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers.

This Monday China announced it would finally ban production and export of fentanyl-related substances, which have fueled an epidemic of addiction in the U.S. – an action long overdue. Additionally, China purchased 828,000 tons of U.S. soybeans this week – its second soybean purchase since the start of U.S.-China trade negotiations. All of this is good but fails to address any of the systemic problems that have unfairly advantaged China in trade.

As Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul illuminated in a RealClearPolitics opinion, prioritizing Chinese purchases of U.S. commodities like soybeans and natural gas over structural changes would sacrifice the leverage the U.S. trade team has cultivated for the sake of a quick, easy solution.

Indeed, boosting U.S. exports to China may have disastrous consequences in leaving U.S. industry increasingly dependent on China as The New York Times recently reported and American semiconductor companies warned against.

China’s attempt at luring the Trump administration into believing its recent actions signal willingness to conclude trade negotiations while refusing to advance to a market-oriented economy should all come to naught if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer continues to steer the course of negotiations. Lighthizer has repeatedly attested that he refuses to settle for anything but a deal that truly addresses China’s unfair trade practices.  

No rest for the weary…

With a packed trade agenda, Lighthizer is tackling not only the gargantuan task of overhauling U.S.-China trade relations but also Congressional ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this week. On Tuesday, he met with freshman House Democratsas part of the effort to win support from their party, which has contended that the deal’s enforcement of labor and environmental standards require further strengthening.

However, that same day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told POLITICO Playbook that Congress would not ratify the USMCA until Mexico passed legislation protecting workers’ rights. (Concerns over Mexican labor reform are also a sticking point for AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.)

Lighthizer may have a long way to go before a U.S.-China trade deal is settled and the USMCA is ratified, but with time both ventures hold promise for resolution.   

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work