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tv   Washington Journal William Mauldin  CSPAN  May 17, 2018 12:32pm-1:00pm EDT

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that begins at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. a look now at the trump administration's trade policy with a wall street journal reporter. this will take us up to live komp coverage of small business administrator linda mcmahon. >> william baldwin is back with us, joins us as congress and the white house bump up against a key deadline in the nafta negotiations. sort of orient us to where we are, what are these deadlines happening this week? >> that's right. it's a bit of a soft deadline by paul ryan, he kind of made it a hard deadline today. he wants to see a deal on nafta by today, or these be notified of one if congress is going to consider that this year. that was a major goal of the administration. you always want to get that kind of thing squared away in the first half of your first term if possible. but they're just not there yet.
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the u.s., canada and mexico are not there. the u.s. domestic political situation is divided over nafta and the trump administration's approach. we would be very shocked if we got word of a deal today. so it looks like no congressional consideration of nafta this year. >> what does that mean for the negotiations, for how this plays out in the coming months? >> it looks like we're going to be in the long haul. it's interesting that president trump's approach to trade and his trade representative bob lig lighthiser, they agree with some groups on the left in terms of the need for changing the way the international trading system works, rebalancing it towards american workers, even if that means getting rid of some of the trade at the order. >> this is william's story from this week in "the wall street journal," as nafta deadline nears, here's four scenarios that could up fold.
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take us through them from most likely to least likely. >> a little bit has changed sense we're about to hit this deadline. but the most likely thing is that talks continue in the long-term. they probably won't be at earnest during the election season. in addition to the midterms that we're all thinking about and heating up, we have the mexican presidential election on july 1st. mexico, it's going to be painful to cut a deal ahead of that election, because the party that's in power right now, preside is facing a big challenge from a populist candidate. in fact, the challenger looks likely to win by a comfortable margin. so that could change the dynamic of the talks. and then the u.s. election, of course, i'm sure they would like to do as much as possible as quietly as possible this year and try to tee something up as early as next year.
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>> what are some of the sticking points in the nafta issue right now? >> they've come really close on the auto rules for the north american auto industry, cars, trucks traded with mexico and canada. the main issues are what they call the america first issues. the trump administration calls them the rebalanancing issues. there are other provisions to rebalance trade and give the american midwest a chance to get back some auto jobs. one of them is a way that companies can inform government whether their rights are violated. this is very unpopular on the left and the trump administration is skeptical of it, so members of congress, maybe even your next guest might be skeptical. that's another issue. there's procurement, how
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companies from mexico and canada can win procurement of u.s. government contracts or whether we favor more of a buy american, hire american approach like the trump administration. so those are some of the key issues that the trump administration hopes will give the american workers a leg up. canada and mexico aren't that eager to embrace these issues. >> is there a possibility that president trump could walk away from nafta all snogt >> well, that's the -- for canada, that's the $282 billion question. there's $1 trillion of trade in these countries. certainly president trump on the campaign trail threatened to withdraw. that threat was continued for months of his presidency. but you know, it's an election year. a lot of farm state senators and members of congress, they don't want nafta to end, because it allows them duty free access to canada and mexico, the sale of u.s. farm products, corn, pork,
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beef. so they don't want to do that. most people, the smart money says president trump won't send notice of you withdrawing from nafta until after the elections. >> larry kudlow from the economic counsel there, what has been his impact on the negotiations and president trump's outlook here since his arrival? >> that's interesting. i think he's had more impact on the china trade issues than nafta specifically. the u.s. trade representative has really taken the reins on nafta. he worked in the reagan administration, so he pretty much owns that particular file. larry kudlow, however, did go on the china trip with other senior officials to see about rebalancing trade there. something that the trump administration considers a
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bigger priority. >> the trump administration's trade policy is the topic of our discussion here. policy is the -- topic for the next 25 minutes. host: we talked about deadlines and outlook fo >> we talked about deadlines and outlook for nafta. so let's do the same thick for the china negotiation. >> that's anybody's guess, of course. the u.s. hat ths threatened $50 billion in imports from china and authorized another $100 billion. china has fallen suit on the first $50 billion and threatened to start what would amount to a trade war if it came to pass. but those tariffs haven't been imposed. instead, they've started negotiations towards some arrangement to avoid that. and the earliest the tariffs, the first $50 billion could be imposed would be later this
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month. we don't expect that necessarily. but this administration is full of surprises. we expect a protracted period of negotiations. the trump administration is working with china on north korea, and a lot of other issues. certainly there's some corporate problems in the mix with china's zte and qualcomm from the u.s. they don't want to dash the hopes of these companies on either side. so we would expect it to be a long, drawn-out battle. >> the thing we've seen the most in these negotiations is the president's tweets on them in recent days and weeks. what impact have those tweets have on the negotiations, do you think? >> it's been very interesting. china was a target during the campaign and has been. certainly the commerce department sanctioned zte, the chinese telecom provider, over connections with iran and other
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countries under sanctions. and pretty much laid down the law. then all of a sudden, president trump tweeted hey, zte may be off the hook. sanctioning them has cost jobs in china. that was seen as a sweetener to get talks started with china. and the deputy prime minister -- deputy premier is coming to town this week. on the other hand, democratic critics and even some republicans said zte violated sanctions, you can't let them off the hook as part of a trade arrangement. >> the president sent a trio of tweets about the negotiations, including an update on the status of what we have and haven't seen. saying we haven't seen china's demands yet, which should be few. he said the u.s. has very little to give, china has much to give. how do you read those tweets
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from yesterday as you've been following to negotiations? >> a couple of things there. on the give side, president trump looks at the trade numbers, the trading goods numbers and trade deficit and sees we have $375 billion in imports from china. there's a trade deficit of -- i'm sorry, the deficit is $375 billion. we only have $130 billion exports to china. so certainly the u.s. can penalize more of china's exports to the u.s. than china can penalize u.s. exports to china. so that's where he sees that. that brings up the big question, what do they want here? the case that ustr bob lig lighthiser brought goes into intellectual property. so that pretty much would hint that the u.s. wants a broad -- china to take a broad look at its own industrial policies.
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on the other hand, do they just want china to agree to buy more u.s. products? the u.s. maybe to buy a little less chinese products and balance that $375 billion trade deficit and call it a day. they're positioning themselves on either side. >> if you have questions about the trump administration's trade policy, now is a good time to ask william baldwin. mitchell in indiana, line for democrats. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. thank you so much for c-span. yeah, me and 1500 other people lost their jobs due to nafta in lawrence county. i am proud our president is putting these tariffs on things. and i was just curious, sir, is there a reason our government will not stop all this leaving america jobs? is it because these people
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donate to their candidacy, is that the reason this won't stop? thank you, sir. have a good day. >> thanks so much, eddie. certainly the trump administration is interested in tariffs as a way of protecting u.s. industry. he sees it as a problem in the midwest and indiana. the other side of that is when the u.s. puts tariffs on a country, usually they have the opportunity to retaliate through the world trade organization. if you try to restrict another country's ability to export to you, they're going to try to restrict your ability to export. of course, as far as jobs leaving, it's a major problem the u.s. is facing. you know, at the end of the day, in the free enterprise system and global trading system we have, companies often see
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opportunities to maximize their profits and supply chain. >> annadale virginia, matt, go ahead. >> caller: sir, i believe that the obama administration's failure on the transpacific partnership wals a harm parlarge to the secrecy of the creation of the tpp. if you can't get enough stake holders in the united states to know what they're going to get, there's going to be a large backlash against it. so i have a question about the trump administration, because i feel like they have realized the error of their ways and not approving the transpacific parter inship, but they don't like what it was. who is our chief trade negotiator currently and what is the plan in terms of moving forward with a new transpacific partnership? >> a lot of questions there, matt. the trump administration
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mentioned the possibility of returning to the tpp, but they need to see it as a much better for the united states tpp, according to their metrics. that's a long-term plan from what we can see at this point. a lot of countries in the tpp, before letting the u.s. back in, would want to see what happens with nafta, and how those negotiations play out. trade talks are secret in this country. there's some negotiating texts that members of congress can see in the basement of the capitol. not all of the texts are out there even for congress to see. >> we remember the hunts for the tpp text. and paul had c >> i just heard from someone from the opposite party, i heard from congressman ron kind yesterday that very little text was available for the nafta talks, and he was able to get a briefing to answer your question, matt, bob lighthizer
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has kept his cards very closely. occasionally they tell us what's going on with the talks. otherwise we would have no idea. so transparency is a big issue. traditionally it's been kept quiet in the u.s., because they don't want lobbyists to fight it out in public before the deal is done. but there's been calls for more transparency. >> jessie is on the line from kansas, a republican. >> caller: as a republican, i certainly support the president and support any current president who has chosen to serve the country. but as a farmer, i guess i don't understand how we're winning on ag exports and what is going to be the next new trade deal for grain commodities. care to comment on that? >> thank you, jessie. you raised probably the biggest debate in this midterm election, especially in many rural republican districts, such as kansas. our trading partners know this. china targeted sargum when the
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u.s. began tariffs on washing machines and solar panels. that hits squarely in kansas. that's really pinching the farmers there. you also have other grain crops. the tpp would have given that, and the trump administration is seeking to do other bilateral deals. they've asked japan to start negotiations. japan hasn't jumped at the opportunity yet. they hope by reserving nafta, it will preserve the canada and mexico markets. but after that, you get the feeling countries are waiting and seeing how the nafta talks go before they jump into some high pressure trade negotiations with the trump administration. >> ian is in oceanside, new york, republican, go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i would like to touch off of nafta with clinton. casper under bush. barack keeping corporate taxes so high. thank heavens for president trump. you can't just have high level
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google jobs. the future is steel, coal, like those jobs that went to mexico, those are coming back. they're going to revitalize that whole area. one factory is going to go in, and then there will be delis and contractors and people, and it's going to revitalize. you can't be a nation of consumers without jobs. then you have socialism like barack. he chased all the companies out of here with high corporate taxes and hand out food stamps. that's socialism. you need jobs to be a nation of people to consume things. we can build everything, and it's about time we get back to doing that. we can't worry about -- we got one steel, 210, a steel that goes into all the transducers. we have one company left that builds it. we can't rely on china. good forbid there's an emp.
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then we have to rebuild our infrastructure if we get hit. we should have four places that build that type of steel. otherwise, we will be in big trouble. >> ian, thanks to the call. >> yes, a lot of points. very interesting. one really good point you made is the dodge trucks. fiat chrysler is moving them back to michigan from mexico. they're seeing a lot of risks that nafta could fall apart. and they're making that move, you know, probably that couldn't have happened under another president. whether the u.s. should make everything. economists would strongly disagree with you. countries have believed that their competitive advantage, and it makes sense to trade that everybody gets richer. on the other hand, you make a valid point on national security. certain kinds of steel probably that are strategic, certainly no country can make every specialty
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steel, at least it would be very inefficient to do so. but there is a concern from china and the trump administration and that national security apparatus of the government. there's a russia, and i think the trump administration wants to make sure that the u.s. isn't too dependent on these countries for certain strategic materials. >> macon, georgia, next. gwendolyn, line for democrats. go ahead. >> caller: yes, sir. i'm calling about the portion of the ttp that allows companies to sue entire governments and receive billions of dollars from them if they feel that their profits have been threatened in a way. nobody talks about that. but some companies over in europe have been devastated about that, and that's a major problem, and that's one reason i don't think we should return to the ttp. thank you. >> gwendolyn, you've identified one of the biggest areas of
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debate in the nafta talks. i alluded to it briefly. investor state dispute settlement, or isds. and that's certainly what's really dividing talks in the nafta negotiations, but it's also dividing the u.s. you have speaker paul ryan and house republicans, at least the ones closer to the business community very interested in isds. they don't want the trump administration to gut isds. and you have some conservatives on the right and liberals on the left and labor groups, environmental groups that think this is a disaster. and what it is is it allows an investor or company from one country to sue a government of another country if it's treated unfairly under international law. i mean, this can be a great benefit in some countries where rule of law is poor, that have bad court systems, that can allow investors to recoup some damages, but the problem is people don't want the u.s. to be sued in that very same way.
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the u.s. has never lost a case in isds, but it could happen some day. meanwhile, the concern among workers and the concern among the trump administration is this is just a green light for outsourcing, that if companies are protected from foreign governments overseas, then they'll move jobs abroad. so, gwendolyn, great point there. >> another issue you mentioned briefly earlier was fast track authority. remind us what that is and what the results of the 2018 election could mean for granting the trump administration fast track authority going forward. >> right, john, fast track was also known as trade promotion authority that paul ryan helped pass as chairman of the ways and means committee. they was designed to give, it's used in lots of trade agreements, but it was essentially designed to help pass the tpp. it was also more recently designed to help the trump administration pass its renegotiated form of nafta. what it does is it lets
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congress -- it forces congress to have a vote under a certain time frame on any trade agreement that the trump administration or another president brings, but there are no opportunities for amendments. the trump administration or another president has to follow certain rules. that authority expires on july 1st, unless it's renewed. and you know, you can see that the renewal of that being debated. it's hard to remove the fast track authority from president trump. it would be hard for a republican-led senate and house to do that -- >> if it's renewed, how long is it renewed for? >> it's renewed for another three or four years, i believe. i'd have to double-check, but july 1st is the deadline for renewal, and it would go into the next presidency, so look to remove something, certainly it would take a big step to remove that authority from president trump. if it did happen, you would also be removing it from another president, preventing new trade agreements from moving forward at a time when many other countries and economies are signing them left and right.
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>> about five or six minutes left with william mauldin of "wall street journal." now to the line for independents. go ahead. >> caller: yes, good morning to all of you and i appreciate you taking the call. i'm from burbank, illinois, and i worked for a big company for almost 40 years, and unfortunate eye la, i lost my job with all this trade going on. but my question is also, how come nobody's talking about the trades with the middle eastern countries, and especially saudi arabia, where they're right now, the oil price has rocketed at almost about $80 a barrel, which is taking a big chunk out of us from here, and also our jobs -- illinois's one of the most corrupt, actually. but most of our jobs left illinois and also left the whole country, especially one of the gentleman earlier says about nabisco, wrigleys and all these
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countries. so, they blame the president for all these problems, but he's trying to fix all the trade for us, okay, but it's still, there's an issue of how the trade has gone before him. >> i thank you so much. a bunch of good points. and on the oil price, of course, the trump administration has arguably helped boost the oil price by withdrawing from the iran nuclear deal that, by definition, that implies they are putting more sanctions on iran and limiting their oil exports. so, that puts upward pressure on the oil price. people are going to see that at the pump. generally in the middle east, those countries have been a priority for trade because the u.s. has a trade surplus. if you discount oil, they have a surplus, but the u.s. sends to these countries more than it takes back. the u.s. is targeting for trade agreements countries where there are trade deficits, and they're looking at places like china, rearranging those trading relationships, mexico, japan,
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south korea. >> darryl is in detroit, michigan, line for democrats. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i like to sit back and look at the bigger picture. i want to take up two numbers from the u.s. debt clock. as we speak, the u.s. trade deficit is $820 billion. as we speak, your federal budget deficit is $751 billion. isn't it possible to assume that what we're actually doing with our federal budget deficit is creating the cash to pay off our u.s. trade deficit? i think trump is wrong. and in fact, he's attacking these individual products. what we should do is put a worldwide tariff of 35% on all imported goods, regardless of country. however, if the country's trade deficit -- if our trade deficit falls down to balanced budget, for example, that deficit would automatically drop to zero. if we do this, americans would
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determine which products are good to import to us because they have the value of the extra 35 -- they deserve the value of the 35% tariff or they don't. we are paying for this budget deficit, trade budget deficit, through welfare that we're paying to this state. this has been going on for four years. it must stop. free trade is not free. >> thanks, darryl. that's a good point, linking the trade deficit to the budget deficit. trade deficit and the broader current count deficit are intrinsically related to how much a country saves and invests. if the country's spending too much, they're not saving enough, and you'll likely have a trade deficit. that's one criticism that some pro trade democrats made about the republican tax bill. 35% tariff, certainly president trump has discussed things like that. you know, it's unclear how you do that without violating the world trade organization rules and bringing retaliation on all
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of your exports. so, the u.s. would probably take an economic hit if it did something like that. its own exports would be reduced. you know, but certainly, people have had that idea. just a matter of whether you think this is a domestic economy or whether you think the u.s. needs to grow by exporting to countries that are growing faster and to populations that are growing faster than our own is. >> the website the caller referred to, usdebtclock.org, u.s. national debt right now $21,1 $21,158, 000,000 and growing. >> caller: i have a question about trade policy. the nafta agreement and the trump administration regarding mexico on immigration. a huge part of our immigration problem is because of our involvement with mexico, and they depend on us, we depend on them. we do not depend upon their
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human labor force, nor their overpopulation. anything in the trump administration regarding nafta to be renegotiated regarding the influx of all the immigrants from mexico. thank you. i'll take my answer offline. >> thanks, margaret. interesting points. president trump yesterday linked immigration and trade policy with mexico, appearing to complain about both of them. you know, it's a big debate right now. businesses, and certainly the u.s. government, wants a growing economy. a growing labor force will help with that, with immigration. on the other hand, there are people with very strong views about that. same thing when it comes to trade. and these are debates that are hashing themselves out in the political debate right now, and we'll see how it comes out in this midterm election as well as the next presidential election. >> and you can see all of william mauldin's work at wsj.com. reporter for the "

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