Dr. Jackson Presents New Trade Model at West LA College Today

Current models for promoting industry competitiveness in the global market are based on 20th century realities. Dr. Jackson argues for a unique model for understanding and promoting industry competitiveness in the 21st century that have little to do with market-based factors. She will share this unique model with students at West Los Angeles College as a part of the Pro-Global Trade and Logistics Consortia Coffee House series.

SJ at Zoe's 04-02022013

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Furthermore, Dr. Jackson will discuss her model for industry competitiveness within the context of accessing the Cuban market.

If you would like to learn more, let Dr. Jackson guide you to the Cuban market during a live online webinar scheduled for June 2nd.

In Classic Car and Univ of Havana

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Dr. Jackson to Speak at Redondo Beach Rotary Club Today

Sarita D. Jackson PhD PhotoThe rhetoric against U.S. free trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has increased during this year’s presidential debates. For example, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shifted her support away from the TPP once the deal was complete. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been vociferous against unfair trade practices and has focused his attention on China. On the other hand, President Barack Obama argues in favor of the TPP and established the National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports between 2010 and 2015. So, what is the truth in all of the rhetoric? Are the candidates protectionists, free trade advocates or somewhere in between? What do free trade deals mean for the U.S. economy and the business community?

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I will answer these questions today at the Redondo Beach Rotary Club. My presentation will guide the audience through the noise to have a clearer understanding of the actual positions of the candidates. The talk will go further to adequately explain the TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) agreement, which is currently being negotiated with the European Union. Finally, the talk will explain how previous trade deals have impacted the U.S. economy and particular sectors such as manufacturing and services.

See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/2507/Speakers/a4d00843-2c08-4689-9b68-4e0671295562#sthash.6iz3cHnX.dpuf

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Doing Business in Cuba


My visit to Cuba (May 2016)

I recently returned from my second visit to Cuba. While comparing this visit to my first in 2012, during which I began studying Cuba’s political and economic reforms, some things have remained the same. However, a number of things pertaining to Cuba’s economy have noticeably changed. In addition, I enjoyed the opportunity to experience staying in someone’s home and gaining another perspective on the Cuban economy both in the city and in a rural area.

Since many people have expressed an interest in learning more about the changes in the Cuban economy and the opportunities for their goods or services, I will be hosting a live online webinar to share this information with you. The webinar is scheduled for June 2, 2016 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. PST. People are already signing up. Space is limited. Sign up today.


Making juice from sugarcane

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Tobacco Factory in Havana, Cuba

Although the U.S. embargo against Cuba remains in place, some U.S. industries have experienced tremendous growth from 2000 to 2015. Particular industries show growth ranging from 26 percent to as high as 9,811 percent. This growth reflects the changing U.S. policies from 2000 to today, which are becoming more flexible in terms of the types of goods and services that U.S. businesses can export.

This live webinar is designed to highlight those various industries that benefit from U.S. policies as well as look at state of the same industry in Cuba. Furthermore, based on my visit to Cuba this month, I will discuss the areas of need in Cuba, which presents opportunities for U.S. companies to collaborate with Cuban entrepreneurs and contribute to the country’s economic development.

Date: June 2, 2016 (RSVP by May 31, 2016)

Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m. PST

Location: Online (Access information will be forwarded upon registration.)

Investment: $37.99 (covers access to Cuba trade briefs, audio recording and other material) (no refunds unless canceled or postponed)

Paladar (Private restaurant/home)

Paladar (Private restaurant/home)

Topics covered:

1. Opportunities for U.S. companies in specific industries;
2. Challenges for specific U.S. industries in the Cuban market;
3. Update on U.S. and Cuban political economic reforms;
4. Export compliance and appropriate resources; and
5. Cuban laws and what they mean for your business.

*The first 5 people to register will receive a free copy of GRIIT’s CD-Rom titled, “One Simple Decision Can Increase Your Profits.” This recorded seminar provides a fun discussion and interactive activity focusing on a unique step-by-step process of taking advantage of the global market to grow your profits.

 – RSVP here


Port of Havana

Posted in Agriculture, Businesses, Cuba, International Trade, Latin America and the Caribbean, Manufacturing, Services | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blaming Free Trade Alone Ignores Deeper Systemic Issues

Arguments that free trade agreements, including recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), cause more harm than good are based on limited information and extensive rhetoric. Consequently, the real challenges plaguing the United States are overlooked.

Here are a couple of arguments that appear true to some degree but ignore the real causal factors and, thus, fail to offer long-term concrete solutions.

Boycott in the Senate! What will happen in the House tomorrow?

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Free Trade, Education and Employment

A piece titled, “Education Can’t Save Us from Free Trade,” argues that the TPP would worsen the plight of the middle class. To illustrate this point, the author says that “whites and blacks working side by side in semi-skilled industries made more money than they ever had” and that he “saw better race relations in the 1960s there [in South Carolina] than in parts of New England.”

This example of “racial democracy” in the workforce ignores the education, employment and income disparities of the mid-20th century. In the 1940s, the unemployment rates for African Americans were double that of Caucasians. On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy noted that African Americans had “one-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional man, twice as much chance of becoming unemployed, about one-seventh as much chance of earning $10,000…and the prospects of earning only half as much.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 took effect to correct for the systemic discriminatory practices that contributed to disparities in employment, as well as education and earning power.

The unemployment gap reached a peak in the late 1980s with blacks having a rate of 2.77 times higher than whites. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is often blamed for the decline of U.S. manufacturing, had not even taken effect yet.

These disparities continue today, albeit slightly improved. By December 2015, black unemployment dropped to 1.59 times that of white unemployment. Nevertheless, there remains a trending disparity that has its roots in a system developed far in advance of the regulated global economy as we know it today.

Let’s not discredit education. Former Secretary of Labor and UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich finds that those with higher levels of education benefit from increased access to global markets seeking those particular skills, which leads to higher pay. At the same time, those who are not well educated lose out as trade deals may add to the loss of factory jobs that many relied upon for employment, decent pay and great benefits.

The loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs has disproportionately impacted African Americans. However, free trade is merely exacerbating a deeper problem that must addressed.

From 2006-2016, manufacturing employment dropped from 14 million to around 12 million. A higher share of manufacturers do not have a college degree relative to the overall share of U.S. workers. A few years ago, non-college educated manufacturers made 10.9 percent more than workers with similar levels of education in other parts of the economy. Simultaneously, wages in the manufacturing sector have declined dramatically within the last 15 years. Although about 75 percent of African Americans actually accounted for management, professional, service and sales/office positions at the beginning of the century, a good number remain in lower paying jobs that offer minimal opportunities for upward mobility.

Reich writes, “The core problem isn’t really free trade, or even the loss of factory jobs per se. It’s the demise of an entire economic system in which people with only high-school degrees, or less, could count on good and secure jobs.”

Access to quality education at the primary and secondary levels is the real issue. There has been progress in terms of the high school graduation rates for African Americans. However, adequate preparation for colleges and universities remains a problem. For instance, an NAACP study finds that 19 percent of African American students attend schools that do not offer advanced placement (AP) courses compared to 6 percent for Asian; 12 percent, Latino; and 15 percent, white students. As one who had the opportunity to attend public schools that offered advanced courses and had ample resources, I realize the importance of access to a quality education in order to compete.

The figures for college graduation rates also call for deeper solutions. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education finds that black student college graduation rates have improved in recent years. Nevertheless, the nationwide graduate rate remains low at 42 percent compared to 62 percent for white students. The same study also reveals the importance of education and says, “Most important, blacks who complete a four-year college education have a median income that is near parity with similarly educated whites.”

How We Should Not Respond

While teaching undergraduate courses, some students have criticized free trade and called for protectionism. However, when these same students were asked about where they purchase their food—Walmart–and to read the labels on their clothes—Made in China—the loud rhetoric fell to a whisper.

Placing high tariffs on imports from China in order to protect jobs and save U.S. businesses is not the answer. These tariffs are in response to concerns that China manipulates its currency and subsidizes certain industries. This is an issue of unfair trade practices. The deeper issue rests with the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in making sure that all members, not just China, play by the rules.

As history has shown us, protectionism results in higher cost imports for businesses that rely on lower cost inputs from other countries, higher costs for consumers, businesses losing revenue in the international market, and the loss of jobs in trade-related industries such as transportation.

A More Productive Approach

In sum, free trade merely reveals deeper systemic problems in the United States. The most productive response is to address the more complex structural problems that create economic disparities and push for stronger enforcement of trade rules to reduce unfair competitive advantages in the global market.


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Posted in Free Trade Agreements, International Trade, Manufacturing, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates on International Trade


Natalie Hatour

With the New York primaries having just ended, the five remaining U.S. presidential candidates continue their campaigns as they prepare for the next big round of primaries on June 7, 2016 (covering California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota).

As one of the top issues in the presidential race, international trade not only divides, but also brings about some commonalities in the positions of all five candidates.

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Similar Rhetoric?

To appeal to the interests and concerns of the general American population, “Democratic and Republic candidates are backing away from supporting free trade…”. Even more so, as recently noted in a Huffington Post article, “for the first time in a long time, both major party nominees [Clinton, Trump, Sanders and Cruz]…are opposed to free trade deals.” Aside from Kasich (who is a vocal proponent of free trade), every candidate has voiced their opposition to past trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and deals that are still in negotiation, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

However, as mentioned in our blog post on the candidates’ views on international trade in the context of the February 2016 South Carolina primaries, it is important to note that, largely speaking, many of the candidates “…support fair trade practices and trade policies that reduce harm to U.S. workers.”

Democratic Candidates

Hillary Clinton

Generally, Hillary Clinton favors open markets and free trade, but “…has nixed deals in the past over the finer points, especially worker’ rights.” She has, however, arguably received the most criticism in regards to her changing positions on trade agreements, including NAFTA and the TPP. While she supported NAFTA as first lady when it was signed in 1993, she has since criticized the trade deal. Similarly, while she worked on the TPP as Secretary of State, saying that it “sets the gold standard in trade agreements,” in October of 2015, she opposed the TPP, citing “a number of concerns about currency manipulation and concessions to pharmaceutical companies.”

Bernie Sanders

During the New Hampshire Democratic presidential debate on February 4, 2016, Bernie Sanders expressed that he does not believe in “unfettered free trade,” rather, that he believes “…in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families of [the U.S.] and not just large multinational corporations.” Having said that, he has described the last several decades of U.S. trade policy “—and NAFTA, in particular—as a ‘disastrous’ contributor to the decline of the U.S. middle class, loss of countless jobs, and the undermining of U.S. democracy.” For similar reason, Sanders has strongly opposed the TPP. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer though, Sanders stated that if he were to be elected president, he would not ignore, but renegotiate the trade deals he has criticized with partner nations, therefore, “[maintaining] the existing deals as he sought to replace them.”

Republican Candidates

Donald Trump

Overall, Donald Trump generally opposes trade deals and favors protectionism, especially when it comes to U.S. trade relations with China and Mexico. He has also claimed that the U.S. has negotiated “horrible” trade deals, including NAFTA. Unlike Sanders, Trump has expressed that he fully intends to break existing trade agreements and “…violate [NAFTA] and World Trade Organization treaties by imposing tariffs that clearly violate the deals,” if elected president. He also strongly opposes the TPP, which he believes will hurt American firms and the U.S.’ competitive advantage.

Ted Cruz

Generally, Ted Cruz appears to support free trade and trade deals. However, like all of the previously profiled candidates, he has expressed his concern over the TPP and his intention to vote against it.

John Kasich

Lastly, John Kasich seems to be the only candidate that has openly declared himself a “free trader.” While he voted for NAFTA and supports the TPP, viewing it as a good deal for the U.S. “not only in terms of economics, but also in terms of foreign policy,” he does not support every trade deal proposed, such as those that could take away American jobs.

Impact on U.S. Trade Policies

 As mentioned earlier, while there seems to be common opposition to free trade deals among the presidential candidates, there is also general support for trade practices and policies that favor American workers and the U.S. economy.

It is important to mention though that it is difficult to oppose or support a single trade deal or policy as definitively bad or good, respectively, as there are winners and losers in every deal or policy. You have to look at the short and long-term existing and potential consequences and benefits. Trade deals and policies are not as clear cut as they may seem to be when they are debated.

One thing is clear though from the campaigns on both sides of the 2016 presidential election: “the next President of the United States will impact the trading partners of America and their respective economies.”

Natalie Hatour is a member of the project support team at the Global Research Institute of International Trade. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at UCLA and a Master of International Business at Hult International Business, San Francisco. She has worked with the U.S. Department of State in Los Angeles, as well as with the U.S. Commercial Service in San Francisco and San Jose. Integrating her professional experiences with her graduate studies, Natalie is passionate about promoting public-private partnerships to expand international business and development opportunities. To learn more about Ms. Hatour, please click here.


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The opinions expressed by guest bloggers do not automatically reflect the views of International Trade Examiner.

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