Summer Hiatus

This summer, my team and I are working on restructuring the blog, International Trade Examiner, and other aspects of its parent company, the Global Research Institute of International Trade (GRIIT).

We truly appreciate your patience this summer as we work to organize to bring all international trade news, analysis, etc. to you in a more efficient and effective manner. We thank all of you who have taken the time to respond to our surveys and provide useful feedback.

Blog posting will resume late August/early September. In the meantime, feel free to attend an upcoming event where I will offer my analysis on international trade. See if I will be in your neighborhood at

Also, news updates will still continue via Facebook and Twitter. Like our FB page and/or follow me on Twitter. See you soon!


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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:

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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)

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 , , | 2 Comments

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.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in Free Trade Agreements, International Trade, Manufacturing, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments