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Sunday, October 11, 2015 12:57 PM

TPP and Free Trade Canadian Style

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As I have commented before alleged "free trade" agreements are anything but. We now have confirmation from Canada as to what it took for other signatories to agree to the monstrosity of TPP.

Reader TB passed along Alan Guebert's Free Trade’s Cheap Talk is Big Money.

These easy-to-find challenges to NCBA’s silly Trans-Pacific cheerleading point to several underlying myths at the heart of Big Ag’s rock-ribbed belief that free trade is the past, current, and future salvation of American farms and ranches.

One myth is that all U.S. farm and ranch profits are tied directly to free trade. The Obama White House made that connection again Oct. 5 when it noted “roughly 20 percent of all farm income in the United States,” is “provided” by “exports.”

True, but farm income is not farm profit. If it were, U.S. net farm income would have risen when ag exports rose from $141 billion in 2013 to $152 billion in 2014. Instead, U.S. net farm income fell from $135 billion to $126 billion in that period.

Another myth about free trade is that trade agreements are about freedom to export. In truth, most trade deals “specify who will be protected from international competition and who will not,” explains the Economic Policy Institute in its overview of the TPP.

Clear evidence comes from America’s giant neighbor, Canada, whose ag minister announced his dairy and poultry farmers will be compensated for “any losses” caused by TPP before the deal was even signed. It confirms Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s long-held belief that free trade deals are “managed trade agreements, tailored for corporate interests…”

American farmers and ranchers know this in their bones but not their hearts. They are farmers and ranchers, not exporters. Big Agbiz — Cargill, JBS, Smithfield, ADM and the like — are global buyers and sellers who, when able to play both sides of any trade-leveled playing field the world over, rarely lose.

Maybe that’s why the Big Boys aren’t saying squat about the TPP; they got everything they demanded during negotiations. Now they want you to pressure Congress to pass it for them and their shareholders.

In fact, they’re betting on it and, already, their bets are paying off.
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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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