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Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach

Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach

By Rethink Trade
The changes needed to support living-wage jobs, to combat the climate crisis, to make medicines accessible for all...

Much of it won’t be possible unless we overhaul our corporate-rigged trade system. Trade Expert Lori Wallach explores ways to make our progressive trade vision a reality.

Episodes 1 - 43 were produced in partnership with Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
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Drugs, COVID, the WTO and a Leaked Text
In this episode, Lori talks with two trailblazing attorneys: Fatima Hassan at Cape Town’s Health Justice Initiative, South Africa and Sangeeta Shashikant with the global Third World Network. They discuss why after 18 months, there still is no deal to waive the WTO intellectual property rules blocking global access to COVID vaccines, treatments and tests. And the dire threats posed here and there by less than 20% of people in developing countries being vaccinated. And if you were confused by news that a deal to fix this WTO mess was reached, we’ll help make sense of that too. What *really* happened is a story of attempted steamroller tactics being stopped by people power. Plus, they discuss what’s next in the fight to end the pandemic.
22:41
April 29, 2022
WTF? WTO Still Blocking End to the Pandemic
In this episode, Lori talks with a leading public health expert about how we could END the pandemic and how World Trade Organization monopolies for Big Pharma are blocking that. Health GAP director Asia Russell, who helped bust Big Pharma monopolies to get HIV-AIDS meds to people worldwide, lays out the current COVID situation worldwide and what actions can end the pandemic.
20:48
February 09, 2022
MC12, Part 2: Still No COVID Waiver, But WTO Inks Services Deregulation Deal
In Part 1 we discussed some of the big issues at stake at the World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial conference, which was scheduled to take place last week in Geneva. That meeting, however, was postponed after the introduction of travel restrictions related to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Ironically, WTO countries enacting the waiver to get WTO IP barriers out of the way of making the meds to end the pandemic is what many people would consider to be the number one issue for the WTO to act on. A temporary suspension of WTO intellectual property barriers is needed so qualified producers in developing countries can produce more vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19. But while the WTO has again failed to deliver such a waiver, and with a new variant spreading fast, a number of WTO member nations somehow found time to make a new agreement limiting environmental and consumer regulation in the service sector. On today’s show, we discuss the status of the TRIPS waiver, dig into this dangerous and potentially illegal agreement on services deregulation, and ask what could and should happen between now and the next WTO general council meeting to help end the pandemic. -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:04
December 06, 2021
MC12, Part 1: Will Big Pharma and Big Tech Win at Next Week’s WTO Ministerial?
Will the WTO get out of the way of global production of COVID-19 vaccines and meds so we can end this pandemic? Whether Big Pharma or humankind will win is the biggest question as the WTO’s major biennial ministerial meeting starts the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  But Big Tech also has a play… More than 120 countries support waiving some of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules that are limiting production of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. But the European Union, UK and Switzerland are blocking. A waiver wont happen without more leadership from the Biden administration. With all this as a backdrop, Big Tech corporations are also vying for influence at MC12, urging the body to push so-called “digital trade” proposal that would close domestic policy space on issues of great importance, including gig economy worker protections, discrimination and algorithm transparency, competition policy and anti-trust, corporate liability, and consumer privacy. Big Tech wants the WTO to formalize what have beeb rump talks in violation of its own rules. The stakes could not be higher for the WTO or for the world: Failure to enact a waiver will prolong the pandemic, leading to more death, illness, economic hardship, and social and political disruption. And rushing through a “Trojan Horse” set of “digital trade” rules will only further erode democracy worldwide. LINKS: MC12 Global Call to Action 3 Million TRIPS Petitions Delivered to President Biden Senators Sanders, Warren, Baldwin and Brown call on Biden to Push for TRIPS Waiver at MC12 Reuters: Activists Urge Biden to Push for Intellectual Property Waiver for COVID-19 Vaccines Big Tech’s “Digital Trade” Trojan Horse Strategy -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:29
November 24, 2021
A New U.S. Approach to the WTO?
U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai’s recent speech about the World Trade Organization was shocking. Why? Because she openly and frankly discussed the yawning gap between the WTO’s expansive rules and what is right and good for people and the planet. And she made clear that the rules of the global commerce agency need a major redo. That sort of tough love may be the last chance for the WTO, which has suffered a deepening legitimacy crisis for decades. Today WTO intellectual property barriers empower a few pharmaceutical corporations to limit how much vaccine is made, prolonging the pandemic. In this episode we unpack USTR Tai’s recent comments and what they mean for the future of the WTO. Learn more: www.tradewatch.org -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14:08
November 11, 2021
Apple & Google Seek U.S. Trade Attack on Anti-Monopoly Law
Right now, Apple and Google are lobbying the U.S. government to attack South Korean anti-monopoly policies. They claim that a recently passed Korean law requiring app stores to allow consumers to use diverse payment systems violates the US-Korea trade deal. Big Tech corporations want to hijack trade pacts to outlaw as a “barrier to trade” anti-trust, labor, environmental or consumer protections that could cut into their profits.  On today’s show, we discuss this case and Big Tech’s current attempts to quietly thwart domestic digital governance and pro-competition policymaking now underway in the U.S. Congress, in various U.S. agencies and in countries around the world by misbranding such policies as “barriers to digital trade.” Learn more: www.tradewatch.org -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:44
October 18, 2021
President Biden Could End the COVID Pandemic at This Week’s UN Summit - Will He?
Getting the world vaccinated and ending the pandemic is a political choice: World leaders have the medical, technical and financial capacity. To produce enough vaccines involves three clear steps: getting intellectual property monopoly barriers out of the way through a temporary WTO TRIPS waiver, technology transfer through sharing the recipes, and funding global production so the world is not reliant on a few monopoly sources. With this year’s United Nations General Assembly now underway and President Biden’s upcoming COVID Summit around the corner, the U.S. has a powerful opportunity to end the pandemic. Unfortunately, the targets for Biden’s COVID summit exclude making a final deal on the TRIPS waiver or any others steps to share vaccine recipes with the world so more shots can be produced. To discuss all of this, we are joined by longtime HIV and social justice activist Matthew Rose, who leads U.S. policy and advocacy work at Health GAP and has been deeply involved in the fight for the TRIPS waiver. Click here to sign the petition. Click here to learn more about Health GAP. --- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
19:53
September 21, 2021
Labor Day Special: An Historic Vote in a Mexican Auto Plant
On August 19th, workers at the massive General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico participated in an historic vote that ousted the corrupt and undemocratic protection union that had long controlled labor relations there. The effort to win such a vote was made possible by the labor rules and Rapid Response enforcement mechanism of the USMCA trade deal. In this Labor Day special, we sit down with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Research Director Daniel Rangel and long-time labor organizer Jeff Hermanson, who has been supporting the General Motors campaign through the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center. We discuss the situation at Silao, its significance in the context of trade policy and what it says about the prospect for workers to utilize the USMCA to fight for labor rights in North America. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
18:21
September 07, 2021
Hyperglobalization, COVID and Failed Supply Chains: Now What?
In our very first episode, we looked at how corporate-led globalization has fueled shortages in our medical supply-chains and limited our ability to fight COVID-19 Today, we catch everyone up on the latest, discussing two Biden-Harris Administration initiatives aimed at addressing this mess -- a targeted supply chain-review and an executive order on Buy American procurement rules. We also make sense of the latest U.S. trade data, which suggests a record trade deficit in 2021. Yup, that's probably another COVID symptom… Episode transcript. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
18:36
August 24, 2021
U.S. Inaction is Enabling COVID-19 Variants to Spread
The world celebrated when President Biden announced the U.S. would support a temporary waiver of World Trade Organization “TRIPS” intellectual property barriers to boost global production of COVID-19 vaccines. But months later, Big Pharma’s monopolies remain.  The administration has failed to deliver on the waiver or to get vaccine makers to share their recipes. That means dire shortages of vaccines continue and with the vast majority of people worldwide exposed, COVID is on a murderous, variant-spawning rampage. Now the delta variant first detected overseas is burning through the U.S. Public health experts are warning that lockdowns and perhaps other measures, like postponing in-person learning, may be necessary. The U.S. must act now to end the pandemic. Every moment of further inaction enables COVID-19 variants to develop and spread. Take Action: rethinktrade.org. ---- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
17:15
August 09, 2021
NAFTA Keystone XL Pipeline $15B ISDS Attack
Within hours of taking office, President Biden revoked the permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The project, which would worsen the climate crisis, also posed major health and safety risks to indigenous people whose land it crossed. Now the Canadian corporation that wanted to build the pipeline is using a NAFTA Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS) tribunal to demand $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers. ISDS allows multinational corporations to sue governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers, who can award unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. A years-long civil society and labor campaign got the original ISDS rules whacked out of the revised NAFTA. But that fix is phased-in over three years. This means legacy cases like TC Energy’s can be launched until 2023. In this episode, we look at the Keystone XL NAFTA ISDS case, the new rules governing investor rights in North America, and the future of the ISDS regime. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. ---- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod.  Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove.  License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:05
July 29, 2021
The USMCA: A Year in Review
On July 1, 2020, following a lengthy campaign by unions, civil society groups and congressional Democrats to win key improvements, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, or United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), went into effect. Unlike the original NAFTA, the USMCA requires its signatory countries to respect workers’ rights. And it has a special Rapid Response Labor Enforcement Mechanism. The revised deal largely gutted the disastrous Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. But recently-filed labor enforcement complaints and a “legacy” ISDS case with the corporation behind the XL pipeline demanding $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers provide a stark warning that if and how the USMCA improves life and work in North America will depend on activism in all three nations. See Public Citizen’s analysis of the delayed phase-in of Mexico’s new labor justice system here: http://bitly.ws/dRnT Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
20:23
July 12, 2021
The Fight for Workers’ Rights in North America: Big Developments Under the Revised NAFTA
This May 27th webinar “The Fight for Workers’ Rights in North America: Major Recent Developments Under the Revised NAFTA,” featured Mexican labor leader Susana Prieto Terrazas (Sindicato Nacional Independiente de Trabajadores de Industrias y de Servicios), Ben Davis (United Steelworkers), Rachel Micah-Jones (Centro de los Derechos del Migrante) and Daniel Rangel (Public Citizen). These US and Mexican labor and civil society leaders discussed recent labor enforcement cases under the revised NAFTA. The event coincided with the release of a new Public Citizen analysis of the delayed phase-in of Mexico’s new labor justice system, which was one of the key commitments undertaken by Mexico when NAFTA was renegotiated in 2018. The report reviews which Mexican states will be in compliance and by what date, based on states’ share of foreign direct investment, industrial activity, labor conflicts and more.  Read the report here: http://bitly.ws/dRnT Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
50:37
June 07, 2021
Emergency COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver: With U.S. Now Supporting, What’s Next?
On May 5th, the Biden administration announced its support for an emergency COVID-19 waiver of “TRIPS” intellectual property barriers at the World Trade Organization. As we’ve detailed in previous episodes, 100 mainly developing countries have pushed for a TRIPS waiver to facilitate more production of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments around the world.  By reversing the Trump administration block against waiver negotiations, the Biden-Harris administration created momentum for a waiver to be adopted. And made clear saving lives is the priority.  But while we celebrate this historic U.S. announcement and the efforts of people around the world to get a waiver, the Pharma lobby is gearing up to derail, weaken or delay any waiver. In this episode, we reflect on the U.S. campaign for a TRIPS waiver, and the fight still to come as we work to secure the fastest possible agreement on a waiver covering all intellectual property barriers for COVID-19 vaccines, tests & treatments. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
17:01
May 26, 2021
NTE: The Corporate Seek-And-Destroy List that Guides U.S. Trade Policy
The National Trade Estimates report is an annual wish list of other countries’ laws, policies and practices that corporations want labeled as “trade barriers,” in hopes that the U.S. government will turn their elimination into policy goals. Like our trade agreements, however, this seek-and-destroy list of so-called trade-barriers is largely not about trade. Instead, legitimate public interest policies, from environmental protections to consumer health regulations, are targeted for elimination. But with major shifts happening in the U.S. around the future of trade policy, there is reason for hope: according to a recent statement from Public Citizen, this year’s report may “be the last NTE that targets access to medicines, food safety, and digital trade policies as trade barriers.” Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:13
April 12, 2021
Deep Dive: How WTO Rules Protect Big Pharma Profits
Millions of people around the world may not get COVID-19 vaccines until as late as 2024 due to World Trade Organization rules that protect medicine monopolies for the Big Pharma giants. What do these WTO rules require? How do they implicate access to essential medicines? How do countries escape these WTO-imposed barriers that protect corporate profits for vaccines developed with boatloads of tax-payer money? On this episode, Lori gives us a guided tour through the thorny thicket of intellectual property monopolies, the “trade” agreement rules that oblige countries to enforce them and the WTO waiver needed to boost production of COVID vaccines, treatment and tests worldwide. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:49
March 31, 2021
Will Biden Build Back Green, or Import Green?
Our tax dollars should support green jobs with fair wages, not a global race to the bottom that exploits workers and poisons the environment. But thanks to corporate-rigged trade policies, “Buy American” government purchasing requirements are waived to include purchases from 60 other countries. This means our tax dollars are exported instead of being recycled at home to develop electric car and domestic solar, wind and other renewable energy manufacturing. With the COVID-19 relief bill currently being implemented and another major spending bill on the horizon, the president must take a simple but important action to keep trillions in taxpayer dollars circulating in the U.S. economy to build a green future. Thankfully, the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan acknowledges this as a problem for both climate justice and economic justice, but obstacles still remain. More on this subject is available here. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:42
March 22, 2021
LIVE: U.S. Must Lift WTO Block on COVID-19 Vaccine Technology (w/Rep. Jan Schakowsky and other guests)
Audio from a live Public Citizen webinar featuring Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-ILL), South African Counsellor to the WTO Mustaqeem De Gama, and Senior Legal and Policy Advisor at Doctors Without Borders, Yuanqiong Hu.  The event discusses how millions of people around the world may not get COVID-19 vaccines until as late as 2024 unless President Biden reverses the Trump administration’s deadly position at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
01:00:15
February 23, 2021
What The Biden Administration Can Do To Fix Our Trade Mess, Part 2
The Biden administration inherited a political and trade policy landscape transformed since the end of the Obama presidency by both the Trump trade strategy and the COVID-19 pandemic. To deliver on its Build Back Better promises, the administration must create new approaches to trade that prioritize good jobs, promote the environmental and energy policies needed to counter climate catastrophe, protect consumer health and safety, and promote small business by breaking up monopolies. In part one of a two-part series, we discuss the short and middle-term steps the Biden Administration should take to accomplish these goals. Welcome to the Cliff Notes version of the Transition Memo on Trade Policy, recently released by Public Citizen and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod  Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
18:06
February 16, 2021
President Biden Should Reverse Trump's Deadly Obstruction of Global COVID-19 Vaccines
Millions of people around the world may not get COVID-19 vaccines until as late as 2024—unless President Biden reverses the Trump administration’s deadly position at the World Trade Organization (WTO). SIGN THE PETITION: https://rethinktrade.org/actions/urge-biden-reverse-trumps-deadly-obstruction-of-global-covid-19-vaccine-access/ Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:54
February 08, 2021
What The Biden Administration Can Do To Fix Our Trade Mess, Part 1
The Biden administration inherited a political and trade policy landscape transformed since the end of the Obama presidency by both the Trump trade strategy and the COVID-19 pandemic. To deliver on its Build Back Better promises, the administration must create new approaches to trade that prioritize good jobs, promote the environmental and energy policies needed to counter climate catastrophe, protect consumer health and safety, and promote small business by breaking up monopolies. In part one of a two-part series, we discuss the short and middle-term steps the Biden Administration should take to accomplish these goals. Welcome to the Cliff Notes version of the Transition Memo on Trade Policy, recently released by Public Citizen and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
20:10
February 02, 2021
Rethinking Trade in 2021: What Are We For?
With Georgia’s run-off elections shifting control of the Senate to the Democrats, the party will have a lot more room to pursue progressive reforms than in previous years. What does this mean for fixing our rotten trade rules, and what kinds of policies should we be pursuing? In part one of this episode, we address this question by discussing the TRADE Act of 2009. Co-sponsored by 135 members of the House and developed with a coalition of labor, environmental and other civil society organizations, the TRADE Act laid out a comprehensive vision for trade policies that would promote employment and development while protecting the environment and public health. But a lot has happened since then, from the harsh lessons COVID-19 had taught us about the facilities of hyperglobalization to the growing climate crisis to Big Tech’s monopoly choke hold. So how would progressives build on the vision of a decade ago? In part two, we look at President-Elect Biden’s commitment to impose a moratorium on new trade deals until major investments are made to protect U.S. workers, and we discuss how important it is that this period also include a process of rethinking and fixing U.S. trade policy to work for people and the planet. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:34
January 19, 2021
How U.S. Trade Policies Disproportionately Impacted Black and Latino Workers, w/Special Guest Dolores Huerta
In this episode, Lori is joined by Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chaves of the United farm Workers and renown civil rights activist, to discuss our Trade Discrimination report. This new research reveals how decades of corporate-rigged trade policies have disproportionately impacted Black and Latino workers. In her decades of labor and civil rights activism, Huerta has witnessed how corporate-rigged globalization has gutted Latino and Black livelihoods and communities nationwide. Trade Discrimination: The Disproportionate, Underreported Damage to U.S. Black and Latino Workers From U.S. Trade Policies, published this week at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, details how U.S. structural, race-based social and economic inequities that undermine the economic and social welfare of people of color have been further exacerbated by U.S. trade policies. You can find the report here. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
32:37
January 11, 2021
U.S. Officials Are Blocking Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access at the WTO
World Trade Organization (WTO) rules undermine access to COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. That’s why scores of countries are demanding that the WTO’s monopoly protections for pharmaceutical corporations be temporarily waived so COVID-19 vaccines and treatments can be produced worldwide. This is essential to ensure enough affordable doses to end the pandemic and save lives. But U.S. trade officials are blocking the waiver, insisting that even during this deadly global pandemic, Big Pharma profits should come first. The question is: Will this position change under a Biden administration? Click here to take action. Click here to learn more. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
10:55
December 18, 2020
What Will Biden’s Cabinet Picks Mean for U.S. Trade Policy?
President-elect Biden’s appointment of the next top U.S. trade official has taken on enormous political and symbolic value. In just a few weeks, the White House is going to look a lot different – but what about U.S. trade policy?  On this episode, we examine whether the new president’s political commitment to fixing some of the worst aspects of the old corporate-rigged trade agenda will become reality, or if the office of the U.S. Trade Representative will function as a gateway for big corporations to write the rules. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:01
December 04, 2020
Preview: The Friendly Troll - The US Kenya FTA Part 3, featuring Lori Wallach
Lori "sat down" recently with The Friendly Troll host Dr. Melissa Omino and Dr. Isaac Rutenberg from Kenya's Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law to discuss the US-Kenya free trade agreement currently under negotiation. Listen to the full episode here.
04:11
November 23, 2020
Whatever Happened to Trump’s Big China Deal?
Donald Trump makes a big deal out of what he calls his “big deal” with China. But Trump’s “Phase 1” China trade deal actually encourage U.S. companies to outsource jobs to China. Meanwhile the Chinese government is not following through on its promise to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural goods. The second phase of the China deal is MIA. And that’s the part that was supposed to bring down the trade deficit by getting China to stop subsidizing it exports. Not on the agenda at all were stronger labor protections and other rules that would’ve actually made a difference for working people here and in China. That’s a real problem, because labor conditions in China remain bleak. On this episode we break down Trump’s China trade deal and how it became yet another one of his broken promises to working people. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:30
October 27, 2020
How We Were Fast Tracked Into Corporate-Rigged Trade Deals
The most damaging U.S. trade agreements were hatched using the same process: “Fast Track.” Fast Track empowers the executive branch to unilaterally select partner countries for trade deals, decide their contents and negotiate and sign them – all before Congress gets to vote on the matter.  Meanwhile, hundreds of official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests have special access to texts and negotiators. Under Fast Track, when Congress finally has a say, it is limited to a “yes” or “no” vote with limited debate and amendments forbidden.  The result? Wide swathes of U.S. law and policy entirely unrelated to trade get rewritten with the public and Congress locked out, and the U.S. is locked into corporate-rigged agreements with trade sanctions imposed on us if Big Pharma does not get special protections, food imports that do not meet U.S. safety standards are prohibited or foreign investors do not get better treatment when they offshore investment.  But there’s good news: Fast Track only exists if Congress grants it. And the last grant ends on July 1st, 2021. That means soon, we will have a chance to create a new process with the public and congress playings the lead role in the formative stages of trade deals with more accountability over trade negotiations. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15:36
October 14, 2020
Big Oil Wants to Use a Stealthy Trade Deal to Kill African Environmental Protections
Chemical, oil and gas companies face plastic bags bans and other policies to fight the plastic waste that is clogging rivers and choking our oceans. Since China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, the industry has sought a new place for the garbage as vital to maintaining demand for sales of more single-use plastics.  A recent New York Times exposé identified the U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement now being negotiated by the Trump Administration as the chemical and oil industries’ vehicle to gut Kenya’s cutting edge plastics policies and establish a gateway to make Africa a new dumping ground for plastic waste. In this episode, we discuss the Kenya plastics case as sadly just one of many examples of how corporate-rigged trade rules can undermine and gut a country’s domestic environmental protections. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
12:29
September 28, 2020
Offshoring Continues: The Data vs. Trump’s Promises
Donald Trump pledged he would swiftly eliminate the huge job-killing U.S. trade deficit, end job outsourcing and rebuild manufacturing. Did he? The government collects data on each issue, and it’s been a triple fail.  Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14:20
September 21, 2020
How Free Trade Divided the Democratic Party
Many Americans are confused – does any U.S. political party stand for trade policy that puts working people first? Since the late 1980s, Democratic and Republican presidents alike have systematically sided with corporate elites in support of “free trade” deals like NAFTA.  While most Congressional Democrats have sided with working people against them, a few have joined the overwhelming majority of Republicans who support and pass corporate-rigged trade deals. Trump railed against such deals, and then pushed new ones packed with giveaways for Big Pharma and Big Tech corporations. In this episode, we untangle the confusing politics of trade.  Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:24
September 16, 2020
Online Retail Giants Sneak Attack by Trade Pact
Online retail giants like Amazon have been quietly stuffing trade agreements with terms that handcuff governments from protecting consumers or breaking up the online behemoths. What these corporations and their government co-conspirators call “digital trade” rules are in fact designed to forbid governments from protecting our privacy, holding the online giants accountable for dangerous or fake products they sell us, and empowering us to control our personal data.  “Digital trade” rules being pushed in U.S. trade deals give some of the world’s largest corporations further control over our personal data and the online-retail market. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
11:39
August 31, 2020
What’s the Real Story With All the “Buy American” Hype?
Since the 1930’s, “Buy American” rules have required that the U.S. government purchase goods – from cars and computers to planes and paper –  that are made in the United States.  But these rules that recycle our tax dollars to support jobs and promote domestic innovation have been severely undermined by our trade policies in the last few decades. Today, “Buy American” really means that companies and products from 60 countries must be given the same access to the almost $600 billion spent annually in U.S. government contracts as U.S. firms and products. Effectively, we now outsource our tax dollars to support jobs in other countries.  On this episode, we unpack these policies and examine both Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s recent Buy American policy proposals. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:58
August 19, 2020
Did You Buy PPE Made by Uyghur Forced Labor in China?
China has 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic-minorities locked up in concentration camps in western China. Others are being shipped all over the country as forced-laborers to a network of factories supplying Nike and a slew of other U.S. companies, including those producing PPE. You may be buying these products thanks to loopholes in U.S. trade laws that are supposed to ban the sale of forced labor goods.   On this episode we discuss efforts currently underway to end the exploitation of China’s Muslim political prisoners, the latest from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and how good trade policies rooted in human and labor rights could prevent such nightmare scenarios in the first place. Learn more about the campaign at enduyghurforcedlabour.org. Learn More. View Episode Transcript. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
12:40
July 28, 2020
Trade-Related Job Losses Have Continued Under Trump
Despite Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to “bring back jobs,” trade-related job losses have continued under the Trump administration. Under the Labor Department’s narrow Trade Adjustment Assistance program alone, 176,982 workers have been certified as losing jobs to trade since 2017. Trade-related job losses have been especially high in California, Michigan, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and Washington state.  On this episode we break down these figures and discuss Public Citizen’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Database, the online portal where you can search by zip code, state, company name and more for trade-related job losses across the United States. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14:18
July 20, 2020
The New NAFTA: Only Improvements on Paper or Real Change?
Last week we discussed the new North American Free Trade Agreement and some of the key improvements we won after years of organized public pressure. The new NAFTA took effect on July 1st. The text requires significant new labor rights and includes strong enforcement. But corporations paying Mexican workers starvation wages are conspiring with right wing Mexican state officials to thwart any real change. The Mexican national government is not stepping up, and the new Mexican labor law is pinned down under a barrage of legal attacks.  In this episode, we breakdown some of these hurdles and discuss how political pressure, grassroots campaigning, and civil society monitoring efforts are needed to translate the new NAFTA’s improvements on paper to real material differences in workers’ lives. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
10:58
July 10, 2020
New NAFTA’s Start Marred by Labor Activist’s Arrest
After a multi-year campaign by unions, civil society groups and congressional Democrats won critical improvements to the bad NAFTA 2.0 deal Trump signed in 2018, the new North American Free Trade Agreement goes into effect on July 1.  But it’s a bad start: a leading Mexican labor lawyer, Susana Prieto Terrazas, has spent weeks in jail on trumped up charges for helping workers use USMCA’s labor rights, and Mexico’s new USMCA-compliant labor law is bogged down by hundreds of lawsuits aimed at derailing it.  In this episode we discuss the decades-long movement against the original NAFTA, that pact’s outcomes, the recent Replace NAFTA campaign and the cross-border effort to free Susana Prieto Terrazas. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:40
June 30, 2020
ISDS Corporate Attacks Against COVID-19 Emergency Measures
Governments are taking emergency action to fight COVID-19, counter economic disaster and ensure peoples’ basic needs are met. Now corporate law firms are targeting those actions for outrageous Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) attacks.  ISDS law firms are actively recruiting multinational corporations to sue governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers to obtain unlimited taxpayer compensation for government actions related to the COVID emergency. These ISDS tribunals can even order compensation for multinationals’ loss of expected future profits and there is no outside appeal.  In this episode, Lori explains the immediate ISDS danger and breaks down the regime’s history of attacking environmental protections, consumer safety regulations and democracy itself. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-groveLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
19:18
June 22, 2020
The Hong Kong Protests VS. China's Democracy Crackdown
Hong Kong is at a significant crossroads—and its special trade status with the US has become a central point of leverage in determining the outcome of this crisis.  One year ago, millions took to Hong Kong’s streets in response to the Chinese government’s attempts to limit free speech, protest and unions rights. The protests would become one of the largest sustained protest movements in recent history, and would succeed in derailing repressive legislation that Chinese leadership was pushing through the Hong Kong legislature. But last month, China moved to skirt that legislature and impose from Beijing a national security law that threatens the freedoms of the Chinese government’s critics. It would allow HK residents to be arrested for criticizing the Beijing government and jailed in mainland China.  In this episode, Lori and Ryan discuss the protest movement and the central role US trade policies are playing in influencing the future of Hong Kong. Learn more. View Episode Transcript. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:52
June 16, 2020
Crisis at the World Trade Organization
Today, the World Trade Organization is in a major crisis of its own making, with its over-reaching enforcement regime derailed, its Director-General abruptly announcing his resignation and legislation introduced in both chambers to terminate Congress’ approval of the organization.  When the WTO was launched in 1995, we were promised by an array of corporations and politicians that it would usher in a new era of win-win globalization that would deliver higher wages and good jobs. Instead, as activists and union members warned, the WTO has facilitated a race to the bottom in wages and mass job outsourcing, especially after China joined in 2001. The WTO has ruled again scores of U.S. policies, including environmental and consumer protections.  What happens next at WTO affects us all. In this episode Lori digs in the history of the organization and describes the significance of its current crisis. Learn more.  View Episode Transcript. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
19:47
May 27, 2020
The Loophole That Lets Amazon Deliver Uninspected Imports to Your Door
Nearly 2 million imported products we buy online every day enter the United States and are delivered to consumers’ doors without any inspections. That’s thanks to a trade law loophole that also lets these imports dodge the fees that brick-and-mortar stores pay for the same products.  Amazon and other E-commerce giants pushed for this change to what is called de minimis import policy, and it has facilitated a new flood of fake and unsafe imports that threaten consumers while undermining local businesses. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
18:18
May 18, 2020
As U.S. Pressures Mexico to Re-open NAFTA Factories, Workers Protest
COVID-19 deaths are still on the rise across Mexico. Despite government orders to close all non-essential firms, some U.S. factories have continued operating–with little consequence. Now the U.S. ambassador and hundreds of multinationals are demanding the country prioritize corporate interests over the safety of Mexican workers – by reopening factories now.  With the new NAFTA going into effect on July 1, how will the COVID crisis impact the deal’s new worker-protection requirements and Mexico’s related labor reforms? Learn more.  Episode Transcript Here.  Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14:49
May 12, 2020
A Progressive Shock Doctrine on Globalization?
To try to address human needs during the COVID-19 crisis, many governments have shredded the concepts and laws underpinning corporate-managed hyper-globalization. A quick return to business-as-usual is not likely.  In this episode, we discuss Lori’s recent piece in Le Monde Diplomatique, where she identifies four main ways in which the current moment provides unique opportunities to win significant structural changes to make the global and domestic economy fairer, more resilient and more sustainable.  What comes next depends largely on how we mobilize today. With many people who had been sheltered from the ravages of hyperglobalization now personally affected and fuming about the United States not being able to make or get essential goods needed to save lives, it’s time for a progressive “Shock Doctrine.” Learn more. Episode Transcript Here.  Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
29:17
May 06, 2020
The Looming COVID-19 Medicine Shortage
The COVID-19 crisis revealed how reliant the United States has become on imported masks, respirators and other essential medical goods. The latest news is about medicine shortages.  Decades of bad trade and tax policies have incentivized pharmaceutical corporations to outsource the production of many categories of drugs – and also production of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) that are drugs’ key ingredients. Most APIs come from just two countries, China and India. As workers there have fallen ill and plants have been closed for social distancing, production has dropped. In many categories, there is no domestic production to make up the difference. Learn more. Episode Transcript Here. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
16:20
April 28, 2020
Governments, Not Corporations, Should Regulate Trade in COVID-Crisis Goods
Today, instead of corporations unilaterally deciding where and when to sell every product, governments worldwide are doing what many expected of them all along - prioritizing residents’ needs and securing medical goods. In this episode Lori explains why such reasonable conduct is actually forbidden by trade agreements and what changes are needed to create a more resilient, equitable global economy. Learn more. Episode Transcript Here.  Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:33
April 20, 2020
Crisis Capitalism COVID Response: Let’s Do More Rigged Trade Deals, No One’s Watching…
With everyone rightfully focused on fighting COVID-19, corporate lobbyists are hard at work pushing for more of the same failed trade policies that helped create the unreliable supply chains now failing us all. We dive into a couple of their latest attempts, including proposed free trade deals with Kenya and the UK and efforts to use stealthy World Trade Organization talks to limit regulation of monopolistic online platforms and climate-killing energy firms. Learn more. Episode Transcript Here. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13:31
April 13, 2020
COVID-19: Bad Trade Rules Have Weakened Our Response
Trade expert Lori Wallach breaks down how corporate-led globalization has fueled shortages in our medical supply-chains and limited our ability to fight against coronavirus.  Learn more. Episode Transcript Here.  Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
17:44
April 03, 2020