It’s finally Friday! Yes, we are fully aware of the impeachment votes in the House Judiciary Committee but Jim sums up his analysis in roughly two seconds as we begin today’s podcast. After that Jim and Greg celebrate the big win for the Conservative Party in the UK and are thrilled to report the political demise of Jeremy Corbyn. They are also hoping that the substance matches the excitement as Congress prepares to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to replace NAFTA and President Trump announces agreement on “phase one” of trade negotiations with China. And Jim details why Joe Biden’s campaign could face serious turbulence after reports that Hunter Biden had a 1988 drug arrest expunged at the same time Sen. Biden was advocating for very tough drug crime sentencing.
Lots of big news to break down on Tuesday’s Three Martini Lunch! Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at how much better President Trump is doing against all top-tier Democrats in three key battleground states than he was before impeachment began. They also discuss the IG report savaging the FBI and Justice Department for it’s sloppy, error-ridden FISA warrant requests aimed at the Trump campaign, and since the inspector general could not definitively find proof of political motivation, they’re left to shudder at the conclusion that the FBI is just thoroughly reckless and incompetent at its job. And Jim finds it awfully curious that Democrats would announce two articles of impeachment this morning and then immediately announce a series of legislative compromises with President Trump.
House Republicans are hammering Speaker Nancy Pelosi for putting legislative business on hold while the impeachment process plays out. At the top of their grievance list is the inaction on the USMCA, the trade agreement among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico designed to replace NAFTA.
Florida Rep. Ted Yoho tells Greg Corombos how impeachment is gumming up the legislative works but he also details why he cannot support USMCA in it’s current form…and why he doesn’t think it has the votes to pass at all.
Earlier this week, President Trump hailed a new trade agreement with our Canadian and Mexican neighbors, but is the agreement a good one for the U.S. and is it better than the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which Trump has railed against for years.
Barbara Hackman Franklin served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce for President George H.W. Bush and was heavily involved in the original NAFTA negotiations. She is very pleased to see the three countries reach a deal.
“I’m delighted that this negotiation is now done because I think the process of it was unsettling to investors, businesses, consumers. Some of the rhetoric surrounding it was not real helpful so I think it’s a good thing that we got this done,” said Franklin, who is now president and CEO of Barbara Franklin Enterprises.
The biggest changes to the deal, known as USMCA, would impact the auto and dairy industries. Franklin says the agreement could be very good news for American dairy exporters.
“Canada agreed to open its dairy market by eliminating some of the quotas and the pricing system that has been in place and has been problematic our dairy farmer. Hopefully, our dairy farmers will be able to send more butter, milk, and cheese to Canada under this agreement,” said Franklin.
The changes for the auto industry could be very good for manufacturers and their employees. Wages would be set at a minimum of $16 per hour and a significant majority of auto parts would be made in North America. Some economists fear a wage floor would mean higher prices for consumers, but Franklin says it’s too soon to tell.
The major U.S. concession is maintaining the NAFTA provision on dispute resolution.
“Under this mechanism, it means that disputes can be solved by national panels, in other words panels of the two countries together, rather than going through the U.S. judicial process having to do with anti-dumping and countervailing duty,” said Franklin.
Trump badly wanted to change the policy but it appears to have been a deal-killer for Canada.
The deal is still not done and the clock is ticking. The leaders of all three nations must sign the USMCA and Congress must ratify it. Franklin says it is critical for Mexico to approve it before a change in its presidency on December 1. She also says the midterm elections here could influence the fate of the agreement.
While Franklin is not a fan of Trump’s approach to trade negotiations and the uncertainty it creates, she is still hopeful that the USMCA and negotiations with China and the European Union end up boosting our economy.
“I certainly hope we’re going to end up in a better spot. With all of these agreements, the proof is in the pudding and how it actually works,” said Franklin.
“My hope, always, is that whatever we do stimulates more trade because I believe that trade does help economic growth,” she added.