Worldwide Corporate Tax Dodge
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
Over the past thirty years, corporations have convinced governments around the world to lower their taxes, leaving individual taxpayers with the bill. Of the developed countries, Ireland has the lowest tax rate for corporations at12.5 percent, while individuals on the Irish Isle pay nearly four times as much, or 48 percent. Because of this exceptionally low corporate tax rate, Ireland has stolen nearly all of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry—Pfizer, Merck, Abbott, Allergan, Glaxo Smith Kline, Lilly. Ireland’s low tax rate has enticed drugmakers and other companies from Switzerland and other countries.
Workers around the World Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.U.S. workers are not the only workers in the world to live hand-to-mouth. An annual study by the Molinari Institute concluded that French workers are the most taxed in Europe – above even the Belgians who held have previously held the unfortunate title. This explains why the French are protesting the in the streets, setting fire to barricades, destroying property and otherwise acting out their frustrations.
Corporations Used to Pay More
It used to be that corporations paid taxes equal to or above the rate paid by individuals. Increasingly, corporations worldwide are not paying their fair share of taxes.
In 1952, the corporate income tax accounted for 33 percent of all federal tax revenue. Today, despite record-breaking profits, corporate taxes bring in less than nine percent of federal revenues.
Europe has the lowest regional average rate, at 18.35 percent (25.58 percent when weighted by GDP). The worldwide average corporate tax rate has consistently decreased since 1980, with the largest decline occurring in the early 2000s.
Since January 1, 2018, the federal corporate tax rate in the United States was reduced to a flat 21% due to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Individuals in the United States now pay up to 37% tax, 76% higher rate than corporations.
The Bahamas, Bermuda and some other tax havens charge corporations no tax at all. In France, the corporate tax rate is 33 percent, while individuals pay 45 percent. In Germany the gap is even larger, where corporations pay 29.95 percent while real people pay 47.5 percent. Similarly, in Japan, corporations pay 29.94 percent while individuals pay a whopping 56%. In China corporations pay only 25% while people pay 45 percent. While China is nominally a “communist” nation, Karl Marx would not have approved of this large disparity
Contrary to the reasons stated for getting low rates, corporations have not been using their ill-gotten gains to create new jobs. They have, in the main, used windfall profits to buy-back their own stock. All this accomplishes is raising stock prices without making the companies more productive. Stock buybacks hit a record $1.1 trillion in 2018. Stock buybacks do not create jobs or make products more efficiently; They only boost stock prices.
We needa worldwide treaty that sets a uniform international corporate tax rate that is equal to or higher than individual tax rates around the world. Corporations can move around the world much easier than individuals can. They open “offices,” often mailboxes, in Bermuda or the Bahamas to escape paying taxes altogether.
The United States can lead the way by proposing a Uniform Corporate Tax Treaty. The European Union should be our first partner as it suffers severely from the tax-dodging corporations doing business there. For example,in August, 2016, the European Commission found that Apple benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland from 2003 to 2014 for more than $15 billion.
At the same time, the United States can set its corporate rate at the maximum rate charged individuals, or about 37%. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations have constitutional rights like citizens, why should they pay a lower tax rate? After the Trump Administration lowered corporate taxes to 21%, the budget deficit soared by more than $1 trillion. The U.S. can also prohibit by statute, or declare invalid, U.S. corporations who move their headquarters offshore to Ireland, Bermuda or the Bahamas, and impose taxes on these companies based on U.S. tax rates. These so-called “inversions” are blatant tax dodging and must be stopped.
Thanksgiving 2018 Newsletter:
Thanksgiving Dishes and Cutlery
On this Thanksgiving, you should look at your dishes, knives and flatware and think about where they are made. Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Carve your turkey with an American knife. Consider buying American-made dishes and flatware. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Freedom from Want,” by Norman Rockwell.
Cutco, established in 1949, is the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the United States and Canada. Cutco’s product line includes kitchen knives and utensils, shears, flatware, cookware More than 600 employees work at Cutco’s factory and administrative headquarters in Olean, New York. Cutco products are sold through in-home sales demonstrations, at local events, Cutco retail locations and online.
Dexter-Russell is the largest manufacturer of professional cutlery in the United States. Throughout its long and rich history, it has maintained a tradition of excellence in both materials and workmanship. Our company is the proud successor to the two oldest American cutlery manufacturers: The Harrington Cutlery Company and the John Russell Cutlery Company.
Henry Harrington, a New England craftsman and inventor, established the first cutlery company in the United States on June 18, 1818 in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Harrington manufactured surgical equipment and shoe knives, as well as well crafted firearms. As his cutlery line expanded, he gradually discontinued his firearm business. In 1884, Harrington introduced the Dexter trade name. The Dexter line of fine kitchen and table cutlery soon gained a reputation for quality in America’s homes and restaurants.
Another New Englander, John Russell, founded his Green River Works on March 1, 1834. After having made his fortune in the cotton industry, Russell, at age 37, turned his energies to the manufacturing of quality cutlery. He built his water-powered factory on the banks of the Green River near Greenfield Massachusetts. His first products, chisels and axe heads, were made from fine English steel of the type normally reserved for tableware. As the Green River works expanded its line to include knives, the company continued to use only the finest materials.
By paying much higher wages than English cutlers, Russell was able to attract skilled European craftsmen to his factory. With all the manufacturing operations consolidated under one roof, these skilled craftsmen were able to produce large quantities of high quality hunting knives to supply the needs of America’s western frontier.
On May 1, 1933, the Harrington Cutlery Company and the John Russell Cutlery Company merged, bringing together the two most respected names in cutlery: Dexter and Russell. The new company, Russell Harrington Cutlery Company, offered a broad range of quality cutlery products from the famous knives that “won the west” to innovative cutlery for the professional and industrial markets. In 2001, the company changed its name to Dexter-Russell, Inc. to reflect its long history of product brand identity.
Today, the same tradition of quality and variety is carried on in Southbridge, Massachusetts, where Dexter-Russell produces the broadest line of professional cutlery made by any single manufacturer in the world.
Lamson & Goodnow
Established in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, in 1837, Lamson & Goodnow is the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States.
For nearly two centuries, the name Lamson has been synonymous with the finest handcrafted cutlery available. A fusion of artistry and functionality, our knives and kitchen tools are masterfully created to offer an unrivaled, professional-quality product to expert chefs and home culinary enthusiasts alike.
In 1869, newly elected U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant received a rather “cutting edge” gift from a small manufacturer nestled in a quaint northwestern Massachusetts town. Lamson & Goodnow humbly presented our nation’s new leader with a 62-piece dinner set. Lamson & Goodnow makes a full range of kitchen tools, including knives, spatulas and barbecue tools.
Radahas made and sold over 150,000,000 knives since 1948, earning the reputation for remarkable cutlery, service, and value. Rada Mfg. Co. is located in Waverly, Iowa and has been manufacturing cutlery since 1948. Rada Cutlery has earned the reputation of being remarkable. Our employees live our mission of “providing our customers the best value of kitchen knives for their dollar.”
Rada Cutlery products are 100% American Made — from raw materials through construction. Rada Mfg. Co. is able to continue our Made in the USA manufacturing because our committed employees strive each day to ensure efficiency and eliminate waste. This is done at every stage — manufacturing, packaging, order-processing and shipping.
China and Dishes
Heath Ceramics is an American company that designs, manufactures, and retails goods for tabletop and home, and is best known for handcrafted ceramic tableware and architectural tile in distinctive glazes. Founded in Sausalito, California by Edith Heath (1911–2005) and her husband Brian Heath (1911–2001) in 1948, Heath Ceramics is now owned and run by Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, who purchased the company in 2003.Heath has two manufacturing facilities: its original dinnerware factory in Sausalito (built in 1959), and a tile factory (established in 2012) in the Heath Building in San Francisco.
HF Coorsis a full-line manufacturer of commercial quality, restaurant grade, extremely durable and highly chip resistant ceramic dinnerware. HF Coors dishes are vitrified/completely non-porous, lead-free and cadmium-free, passing and surpassing California Prop 65 and FDA standards. Every piece (plate, bowl, platter, cup, mug, salt and pepper shaker, serving piece, mixing bowl, ramekin, tray, pitcher, sugar and creamer, baking dishes and other kitchenware and tableware) is microwave safe, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, oven and broiler safe (there is no temperature limit for HF Coors dinnerware) … and they are very durable, they are even busboy safe! HF Coors has been serving the food service industry for over 90 years. Its high strength body is specially made to meet the rigorous demands of this industry. We sell this exact same quality to our public consumers .HF Coors – Dinnerware Made in the USA 100% was formed in California in 1925 by Herman Frederick Coors, son of the renowned Coors brewery founder, Adolf Coors. HF Coors moved to Tucson, Arizona in 2003.
Founded on the banks of the Ohio River in 1871, The Homer Laughlin China Company began with the simple premise of making quality china at a fair price. The Laughlin Brothers set up shop in the small town of East Liverpool, Ohio. The company soon flourished. By the turn of the twentieth century, The Homer Laughlin China Company had outgrown its modest factory, and, to keep up with demand, we expanded operations to the nearby Newell Farm, which was located across the Ohio River in West Virginia.Operations continued to expand modestly until the 1936 introduction of their flagship brand, Fiesta®. Fiestaware continues to be a strong seller nationwide, carried by Macy’s and many other stores.
Lenoxwas founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox as Lenox’s Ceramic Art Company, Trenton, New Jersey. From the start, it was organized as an art studio and not as a factory. It did not produce a full range of ceramic articles but rather one-of-a-kind artwares. The company at first had just eighteen employees. Lenox’s products were first displayed at The Smithsonian Institution in 1897.
Lenox continues to manufacture bone china dinnerware at its plant in Kinston, North Carolina, built in 1989. The 218,000-square-foot (20,300 m2) plant is situated on 40 acres (160,000 m2). Its manufacturing capabilities include enamel dot, etch, color, and microwave metals.
Lenox was the first North American bone china to be used in the White House, and the company has since made tableware for six U.S. presidents. They are officially titled:
- The Wilson Service: Designed by Frank Holmes. Delivered to the White House between August and November 1918. The pattern is a deep ivory border surrounding a brighter ivory body and two bands of matte gold encrusted with stars, stripes and other motifs. This first set of American made tableware of 1,700 pieces from Lenox cost $16,000.
- The Roosevelt Service: Ordered October 1934. It is described as patriotic, bearing a border of 48 gold stars, and the presidential seal in enamel colors on an ivory body.
- The Truman Service: Consisting of 1,572 pieces, the pattern includes a border of celadon green flanked by an etched gold band and a 24 karat gold rim on an ivory body. Delivered in early 1952.
- The Reagan Service: The pattern includes bands of scarlet varying in width depending on the scale of the piece and are framed on each side with etched gold. The presidential seal, in raised gold, partially overlays the red border.
- TheClinton Service: The pattern features a border of pale creamy yellow, and images of the White House facades. Each piece in the place setting is decorated with a different pattern, the motifs derived from architectural elements found in the State Dining Room, East Room, and Diplomatic Reception Room. No presidential seal appears.
- TheBush Service: Laura Bush first displayed this newest service on January 7, 2009. The porcelain place setting service features a green basket weave border based on a French dinner service believed to have been owned by James and Dolley Madison. The dessert plates replicate a laurel wreath found on Madison’s Parisian c. 1799-1805 dinner plates. The serving plates and the rim of other pieces also feature an eagle emblem inspired by an American bald eagle inlay found on the center drawer of the Massachusetts sideboard, believed to have been owned by Daniel Webster.
Lenox tableware is at the vice president’s official residence, more than 300 United States embassies, and more than half of the governors’ mansions.
Pickard China is a porcelain decorating and manufacturing company in Antioch, Illinois, United States. The company was founded in 1893, and continues to produce ceramic tableware and art ware today. In 1977, Pickard was selected by the U.S. Department of State to manufacture the official service of china used by American embassies and other diplomatic missions around the world. The special decoration has an embossed gold border of stars and stripes and an embossed reproduction of the Great Seal of The United States. Pickard was also selected to produce exclusive fine china services for heads of state, corporations, and hotels including The King of Saudi Arabia, Hilton Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Corporation, General Motors, the U.S. Air Force, New York’s Gracie Mansion, the United Nations, Air Force One, Blair House and Camp David. The 3,520-piece Obama State China service was introduced on April 27, 2015.
Mudworks Potteryin Elwood, Pennsylvania, tucked in the Pocono mountains manufactures handmade pottery. Mudworks makes a large Thanksgiving platter, as well as a pumpkin pie plate and a smaller turkey sandwich plate.
Liberty manufactures the only flatware Made in the U.S.A. The company was founded in 2005 when Matt Roberts and Greg Owens bought the factory and equipment from their former employer, Oneida Limited, when it ceased manufacturing in the facility.
The flatware sets and accessories created by Liberty Tabletop are made in the United States, employing American craftsmen and using the highest quality materials. Liberty flatware is 18/10 stainless steel, meaning it will retain its attractive luster as it is passed down through generations. They use the traditional, time-honored technique of hollow handle knife construction. The design, materials, weight and balance are tactile indicators of a level of quality and craftsmanship you can expect every time you pick up Liberty Tabletop flatware. Quality flatware & silverware built to last a lifetime.
It sells its flatware and other home goods to consumers under the brand Liberty Tabletop. www.libertytabletop.com
The Demise of American Denim?
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
Levi Strauss and Cone Mills were partners in the production of denim jeans in the United States for more than 100 years, creating an American style. Denim became part of the American culture that was spread around the world.
Late last year, we received probably the worst news possible in the American denim scene: On October 17, 2017 Cone Mills announced it would close its last American denim mill at the end of the year. After more than 110 years of continuous production the Cone’s White Oak mill in Greensboro, North Carolina ceased operations.
The Role of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
In March of 2004, current U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross bought Cone Mills for $46 million. He also bought their longtime competitor Burlington Industries and several other smaller manufacturers and rolled them all into a new conglomerate, the International Textile Group (ITG).
Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor, saw an opportunity to turn around delining domestic textile producers. Secretary Ross sought to take the knowledge and name brand appeal of these domestic mills while moving their operations overseas, a tactic he employed to great success with bankrupt steel companies just two years prior.
But textiles didn’t prove to be the quick turnaround Ross found with steel. His textile companies began with a combined revenue of about $900 million in 2005, but had dropped to $610 million a decade later in 2015. The company’s flagging sales combined with Ross’s political ambitions lead him to sell the textile company to private equity firm Platinum Equity in October, 2016 for $99 million. Ross then became Secretary of Commerce in the Trump Administration in February of 2017. Within a year after the sale, Cone Mills closed its doors forever.
It is ironic that the Secretary of Commerce for the administration claiming to champion “Made in the USA” would be responsible for the loss of the world’s largest denim manufacturer.
History of Cone Demin
The Cone family history began in 1845 when Herman Kahn (1828–1897), a Jewish-German immigrant, and his family left their home in Bavaria, Germanyfor a new life in the United States. Herman changed the spelling of his last name from Kahn to “Cone” upon arrival in the United States to become more American. Their first child was Moses Cone, born in 1857, was the founder of Proximity Manufacturing Company (original name for the Cone Mills enterprises). Their next son was Ceasar, born in 1859.
In 1887, the Cone brothers invested $50,000 in the C. E. Graham Mill Manufacturing Company of Asheville, North Carolina. In 1905 under Proximity Manufacturing Company the Cone brothers built White Oak Cotton Mills in Greensboro. By 1908 it was the world’s largest producer of denim. The heavy-duty blue denim manufactured by the mills controlled by Moses gave him the reputation of being the “Denim King.” The Cone company produced denim fabric for Levi Strauss & Company since 1915.
Cone Mills and Levis saw rapid growth as denim became accepted as American casual wear in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. By the 1980s, the foreign fabric producers began to compete with what was produced in the United States but significantly reduced cost.
1994 would deal a double blow to Cone. First, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect and eliminated textile and apparel tariffs between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Over the next decade, companies like Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler, The Gap, Lucky Brand, and many others moved most of their production out of the United States. With fewer garments produced domestically, it became less advantageous to buy domestic fabric and more brands used imported fabric.
Second, the World Trade Organization called for an end to textile and apparel quotas worldwide by 2005. Previously, countries could set limits to the amount of fabric they wanted to import In ten years, textile and apparel manufacturers would all be competing directly against each other without such regulation to protect domestic mills like Cone.
By 2003, only a fraction of the clothing consumed in the United States was being produced domestically and much of what was made here, was being made with imported fabric. The global wholesale price of denim had dropped 27 percent.
What is Left of the Denim Industry in the United States
With the death of Cone Mills, only Mount Vernon Mills is left, the last largescale denim producer in the country. Mount Vernon operates one of the largest denim manufacturing facilities in the world in Trion, Georgia. This mill produces a wide variety of denim including washed, over-dyed, and stretch fabrics. Other products within the group include twills, drills, duck, and plain weave fabrics.
There are also other, much smaller, selvedge denim operations emerging in the U.S. in the wake of the closure. Most notable is Huston Textile Co. in Sacramento, California.
Denim has and will likely always be the fabric of America. Billionaire Wilbur Ross should have preserved the largest denim producer in the world, rather than letting it die. He is another of the phony “Made in the USA” member of the Trump Administration, that includes Ivanka Trump and Donald, who made all of their signature clothing in Asia.
October 2018 Newsletter:
The U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement is a Fraud
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
Like Trump University, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement is a massive fraud. It is NAFTA light. The USMCA was negotiated badly, but will be promoted by the White House to claim that the President achieved another goal, the end of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Meanwhile, NAFTA is still in force. The renamed trade agreement, the USMCA, won’t start until 2020 at the earliest, because of all of the signatures and approvals the deal needs from leaders and legislators. It may not even pass Congress. Under the Constitution, all treaties must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Make no doubt about it, the USMCA is a treaty, an agreement with foreign nations that will last many years. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration will bypass the Treaty Clause and just seek a majority vote in both chambers, ignoring the Constitution.
Of ten major problems with NAFTA, the Trump Administration addressed only two of the issues, and even those two areas, cars and dairy, the agreement significantly fails to achieve the goal of leveling the playing field.
Starting in 2020, to qualify for zero tariffs, a car or truck must have 75 percent of its components manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States, a substantial boost from the current 62.5 percent requirement.
There’s also a new provision that a significant percentage of the manufacturing of the car must be completed by workers earning at least $16 an hour, or about six times what the typical Mexican autoworker makes. Starting in 2020, cars and trucks are required to have at least 30 percent of the labor on the vehicle done by workers earning $16 an hour. That percentage gradually moves up to 40 percent for cars by 2023.
The problem with this mandate is that most of labor for $16 an hour will be done in Canada. Remarkably, Canada and Mexico each produce more cars per capita than the United States. Cars are manufactured in Canada because of the weak Canadian dollar and because Canada has a government health insurance program that gives our northern neighbor a $1,500 advantage per car. Cars are made in Mexico because of its cheap labor. Neither the Canadian advantage nor the Mexican advantage were addressed in NAFTA 2.0.
And this is the best part of the new trade agreement.
The new NAFTA deal gives U.S. farmers access to only 3.59 per cent of the Canadian dairy market. Canada now has a punitive 300% tariff on dairy products from the Untied States. Canada agreed to provide new tariff rate quotas for U.S. dairy products, which, in most cases, after reaching designated levels by year six of the agreement, will be raised 1% each year for 13 years. The result is the United States may have access to about 3.6% of the Canadian dairy market, and that is for skim milk solids, not whole milk, not cheese, not ice cream and not yogurt. Ben and Jerry’s will still be banned in Canada.
Canada and Mexico challenged the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL) for meat before the World Trade Organization. The WTO ruled that the U.S. law requiring meat labeling was a non-tariff barrier and had to be eliminated. Congress caved in and dropped meat labeling from the law costing American meat producers $20 billion a year because Mexican beef could be mixed with American meat and consumers would be ignorant of the source of their hamburgers. American cattlemen supported Trump because they believed that he would reinstate COOL in the NAFTA negotiations. Trump failed to negotiate on the meat issue. So much for a tough negotiator.
Canada and Mexico’s grievances about our meat labeling law should have been handled via a NAFTA dispute panel. The new NAFTA 2.0 should have required that any dispute among the parties to the agreement be settled via the agreement, not by going to an outside organization like the WTO.
Canadian Film Subsidies
Did you ever wonder why so many films and television programs are being produced in Canada? Canada has been illegally subsidizing their film industry with billions of dollars in tax credits for more than a decade. In response, some states, including California and Louisiana, have enacted their own illegal subsidies to get film production there. NAFTA 2.0 should have dealt with film subsidies and outlawed all of them. Films should be made where the conditions and economics make sense, not because of some tax scheme that distorts the free market.
Who Loves Beer?
Trump supporters, including Justice Kavanaugh, love beer. But American beer companies have been banned from selling their brews in Canada. On the other hand, Canadians are free to sell Molsons, Labatt and Moosehead lager in the United States. Why did NAFTA 2.0 fail to deal with the unfair ban on American beer?
When NAFTA 1.0 was signed in 1993, there were three Mexican pesos to the dollar. Now there are 19. Mexicans could not, and still cannot, afford most American products. It is exceptionally difficult to compete against a third world country with a weak currency. That is why the European Union created the Euro, so that the poorer countries like Portugal and Estonia, will not be operating with a weak currency. NAFTA 2.0 does not touch currencies. The three countries could have used the opportunity to create the North American Dollar that would have stabilized trade amongst the three nations, but failed to do so.NAFTA 2.0 is a slight improvement over the original. But in the main, the Trump Administration substnatially failed to negotiate an agreement that will level the playing field and bring jobs back to the USA. It is a promise made by the President that was broken by NAFTA 2.0.
September, 2018 Newsletter:
Is the WTO, the World Trade Organization, Unfair to the United States?
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
President Trump has argued that the WTO rules against the United States 90 percent of the time. Bob Woodward responded that the United States actually wins 85 percent of the cases that it brings at the WTO. Who is right? Both are right to some degree. The United States is sued more often than any other WTO member. Since it was set up in 1995, members have filed 150 complaints targeting U.S. policies 78 percent more than there have been against the European Union and more than triple those against China.
Dan Ikenson, director of Cato’s Center for Trade Policy Studies, reviewed WTO trade disputes for a twenty year period. He found that the U.S. prevailed in 90 percent of cases that it brought against other countries. However, he also found that “When the United States is a respondent it has lost on 89 percent of adjudicated issues.”
The WTO Needs to Be Reformed
The World Trade Organization sounds like a real international organization, but it is not. The WTO operates in secret, by hand-picked delegates from around the world. Cases are determined by “judges” selected for one case even if they have conflicts of interest. WTO decisions make a mockery of U.S. and European laws designed to protect the health of consumers and the environment. The WTO is unfair, unethical and undemocratic and needs to be overhauled.
The United States passed three laws in recent years that the WTO has ruled violated principles of free trade. One is the Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL) that requires all grocery stores in the United States to label the country of origin of fresh vegetables, fruit, chicken, beef, pork and seafood. The purpose of the law (and in the interests of full disclosure, I worked on writing the law and lobbied for seven years for its passage) was to inform consumers where products came from so that they could make informed decisions. If there were contaminated raspberries in Guatemala, consumers could avoid them. If mad-cow disease was found in Canadian cows, consumers could avoid Canadian beef.
Another American law that ran afoul of the WTO was the Dolphin Safe Tuna Act. This law was passed to allow tuna fisherman to use a “Dolphin-Safe” label on its cans of tuna fish so that consumers could, if they so desired, purchase tuna fished in a more humane manner. Nothing in this law was designed to harm fisherman from other countries. The labeling by fisherman was voluntary, but those using the Dolphin-Safe label had to meet strict standards.
The third U.S. law to be outlawed by the WTO prohibited flavored cigarettes. The purpose of this law was to prevent children from getting hooked on cinnamon, bubblegum or lemon flavored cigarettes. Indonesia challenged this law because the law prevented clove cigarettes being sold in the United States.
The World Trade Organization has four critical flaws:
- The WTO does not have a Permanent Judiciary;
- The WTO does not have Conflict of Interest or Ethical Rules;
- WTO Panels Operate in Secrecy; and
- WTO Panels Do Not Allow for Participation by Corporations and Non-Profit Organizations.
Creating a Permanent WTO Judiciary
The most pressing matter is that the WTO should develop a permanent independent court system to decide disputes with judges who have tenure, not ad hoc appointees for one case. The creation of a permanent court system will give the WTO more credibility and respect.
Susan Esserman, former general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative and Robert Howse, law professor at the University of Michigan wrote that the WTO should create a permanent judiciary:
The manner in which the WTO’s panelists are chosen also needs to change. At present, selection is ad hoc and often not based on expertise in trade law. As long as that remains the norm, the Appellate Body will continue to revise extensively the rulings of the lower panels, all but ensuring that the Appellate Body continues to be accused of inappropriate activism. …Reliance on a professional corps of panelists also might help prevent rulings that disregard international law and WTO precedent. “The WTO on Trial,” Foreign Affairs Magazine, January/February 2003, Vol. 82, Num. 1.
I propose that the highest appellate body, the WTO Supreme Court, should have nine members, like the U.S. Supreme Court. The judges should be confirmed for a fixed term by a majority of the nations in the WTO. This will give the judiciary independence.
The WTO Supreme Court could then create lower courts to hear trade disputes. Lower court judges should be appointed by the Supreme Court.
The WTO does not have Conflict of Interest or Ethical Rules
WTO rules should prohibit judges with conflicts of interest from ruling in a case that involves their interest. As mentioned above Mexico and Canada filed complaints with the WTO challenging the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act. The WTO panel ruled against the United States finding that COOL was a non-tariff trade barrier. One of the “judges” on the case was an attorney from Mexico who had represented Mexico in trade disputes. This obvious conflict of interest weakens respect for the World Trade Organization. No court in the United States would allow a partisan to be a judge in a case involving his or her interests.
WTO Courts Should Be Open to the Public and
Allow Participation by Interested Parties
President John F. Kennedy said, “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” “The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association.” April 27, 1961.
WTO proceedings are now secret. This is repugnant to those living in free and open societies. No members of the press or outside parties are allowed to watch or listen to court proceedings. WTO proceedings should not be secret, they should be open to the public as courts are in most advanced democracies.
In WTO proceedings, non-profit organizations and corporations are not allowed to participate even if the case involves the organization. In the European Court of Justice, non-governmental organizations can intervene in cases before the court. Similarly, in all states of the United States, there is a provision for intervention by non-parties.
President Trump is right that the WTO is often unfair. The world does need an independent arbiter of the rules of trade. But we should reform the WTO to make it work more fairly rather than abolish it.
Henry Ford Would Fire
Ford CEO Jim Hackett
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
Henry Ford helped build Detroit into a great city and would be heartbroken by its current appalling, rundown, dilapidated condition. Detroit looks like a war zone in many areas, with buildings rusting in place, badly leaking roofs and crumbling walls. And Henry Ford would be astonished that Ford Motor Company is not helping to rebuild Detroit. Jim Hackett, Ford’s current and hopefully not future CEO, is spearheading the dismantling of Ford’s U.S. auto production.
Hackett is importing into the United States the first vehicle made in India, the Ford Ecosport. The car may be well-suited to India, with its tiny body and a three-cylinder engine, but it is not made in or for the USA. Car and Driversaid about the Ecosport, “Truthfully, the tiny ute is neither very economical nor very sporty.” Consumer Reportschimed in, “the $28,000 as-tested price for our EcoSport SES has us wondering what else could be bought for that money: a mildly optioned Ford Escape . . . come(s) to mind.” The Ford Escape is made in Made in the USA. Ford is cannibalizing its own models, hurting U.S. sales with its lame imports taking sales away from its made in the USA models.
Henry Ford said, “The genius of the American people is Self-Reliance.” Ford News,
Februrary, 1925. It is not self-reliant to import a cheap car from India and then slap a Ford badge on it. Henry Ford also said,“A big business never becomes big by being a narrow society looking after only the interests of its organization and stockholders.”(Moving Forward by Henry Ford and Samuel Crowther, 1931.) Henry Ford started the venerable Ford Foundation in 1936 to promote public welfare and scientific studies. Ford Motor Company has previously been a good corporate citizen, caring about the overall economy and Detroit in particular. Ford Motor Company provided seed money for the Made in the USA Foundation in 1989 and many other non-profit organizations. I call upon the Ford Motor Company to once again be a good public citizen, help rebuilt Detroit and bring manufacturing back to the United States.
GM and Chrysler are Not Role Models Either
General Motors and Chrysler were both bailed out by U.S. taxpayers in 2008. Neither GM nor Chrysler paid taxpayer back in full and have now shown how ungrateful they are by moving production offshore. As a condition for their bailouts, the U.S. government should have required GM and Chrysler to keep manufacturing in America. Taxpayers did not bailout the auto companies to make cars in China, South Korea and Europe.
GM shocked the auto world last year by importing the first vehicle from China, the Buick Envision. Now, out of eight Buick models, only three are made in the USA, the rest are made in Poland (Cascada), China (Envision), Germany (Regal Tour), Canada (Regal), and South Korea (Encore).
Chrysler decided to start making Jeeps in Italy (Jeep Renegade) and shipping them back to the United States. Previously all Jeeps were made in the USA, mostly in Toledo, Ohio. Chrysler also announced that it will stop making cars in the United States, and will now only manufacture trucks and SUVs in this country.
A New IDEA
Ford is running television ads for the Ecosport touting its fuel-efficiency, but has failed to mention that it is made in Chennai, India. The Made in the USA Foundation is proposing new federal legislation call IDEA, the Import Disclosure and Education Act. This proposed law would require country of origin disclosure in all advertising for all products, on television, radio, cable, on the Internet and in print. American consumers have a right to know where their products are made and this law would only provide people with information. Would consumers rush out to buy the Ecosport if the ad said, “Made in India?” Or a Cascada if it announced that it was made in Poland?
The Made in the USA Foundation was supported by the Ford Motor Company when it proposed the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) in 1992 when it was passed into law. The AALA requires that all new car price stickers include country of origin information including where final assembly took place, what the U.S. content is, and where the engine and transmission were made. This law has helped consumers make informed decision about car buying. The IDEA legislation will increase consumer knowledge and exposes car companies who import cars from countries not known for their automotive excellence.
Made in the USA Reports
A Publication of the Made in the USA Foundation
Vol. 30 No. 1 © Made in the USA Foundation—January, 2018
Levi’s Has Returned to USA
Levi’s, the inventor of blue jeans in San Francisco in 1872, has started to make some of its classic jeans in the United States at reasonable prices. Levi’s legendary 501 “made in the USA” jeans are selling for $88. Many other “designer” jeans sell for $200. Levi’s is also making 505, 511 and 541 jeans in the U.S., in regular, slim and athletic fits.
President Trump’s Made in the USA Report Card
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
President Trump has been in office for one year: It is now time to grade his achievements. “Probably one of the major reasons I’m here today –
trade,” Trump said two months after taking office. The President also campaigned on a promise to negotiate “better deals” with China and Japan and to hire Carl Icahn to conduct these negotiations. But Carl Icahn quit soon after being appointed and has not been heard from since. The President did hire Peter Navarro and Robert Lighthizer, two solid “Made in the USA” negotiators. But their hands have been tied by other factions in the White House including Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, two globalists from the Goldman Sachs academy of unfettered international free trade.
Is President Donald Trump a “paper tiger” when it comes to trade, as some have suggested? He did not keep his campaign pledge to name China as a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office, and he left currency rates out of his executive orders on investigating why America runs chronic trade deficits with certain countries. And Trump said he might postpone talk of tariff threats vis-à-vis China to his second summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Reports say he will take action on steel “dumping,” but he has not yet acted on steel imports from China.
Just recently, the President did impose tariffs on imported Chinese solar panels, allowing him to earn a barely passing grade.
Candidate Trump labeled Japan a “currency manipulator” and unfair trading nation, but has done nothing at all to negotiate a new trade agreement with Japan. The President has done “nani mo” (nothing in Japanese) to improve our trading relationship with Japan.
During the campaign, the President promised to rip up NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, if he were elected, on day one. It has been one year and the U.S. is still negotiating with Mexico. We have not seen 35% tariffs as proposed by candidate Trump. They are a figment of the President’s imagination, like his border wall.
The U.S.-South Korea deal, which was reached in 2007 and went into effect in 2012, reduces trade barriers between the two countries. Critics charged that South Korea has reaped a greater share of the benefits of the deal, an allegation Trump has personally echoed multiple times since his election while calling for changes to the deal. South Korea is the sixth-largest goods trading partner with the United States, accounting for $112 billion in two-way trade last year, according to the U.S. trade representative. U.S. companies exported $42 billion in goods to South Korea and imported $70 billion in goods last year, leaving a trade deficit of $28 billion. President Trump has imposed tariffs on Korean washing machines made by LG and Samsung. This should be effective in creating more jobs in the United States as both LG and Samsung announced they will be manufacturing washing machines in the USA. The fact that Trump did this even when North Korea is threatening the planet with nuclear weapons, earned him a passing grade.
Mr. Trump has complained that Germany is an unfair trader, but has done nothing but verbally complain to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The President also promised a new trade deal with Great Britain that has yet to materialize. We do, in fact, have a massive trade deficit with Germany. It was nearly sixty-five billion dollars last year—second only to our deficit with China, which was three hundred and fifty billion dollars. The total European Union
trade surplus with the United States was $146 billion, 44% German, 24% Irish. Ireland has stolen most of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry causing this massive deficit with a country that has a population of less than five million people, about the population of Maryland. The reason U.S. pharmaceutical companies have set up shop in Ireland is because the Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5%. Trump’s corporate tax reduction to 20% will not have the incentive for these companies to come back home.
Mr. Trump is a Johnny-come-lately to buying American-made products. His suits, shirts and ties are all made in China. After his Palm Beach wedding in 2005, Mr. Trump and his bride jumped into a Mercedes Maybach limousine. He also bought a limited-edition silver Mercedes SLR McLaren roadster, with a supercharged AMG V8 engine for $465,000. Mrs. Trump had her own Mercedes at the time.
Mr. Trump campaigned on building the Keystone Pipeline with American Steel. The Made-in-America Keystone Pipeline was a big fat lie. Most of its pipes had already been manufactured, a fact the White House grudgingly admitted when it exempted the project from any new Buy American rules a few months later. While some of Keystone’s pipes were made in the U.S., at least a quarter of them came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is an oligarch and Trump family friend. The company, Evraz North America, supplied Keystone and for years has lobbied in Washington against Trump-style protectionism.
A year after his Keystone event, Trump has yet to deliver on his pledge to boost the fortunes of American steel. Two self-imposed deadlines for trade action, one in June and one in July, have since come and gone. Meanwhile, the prospect of tariffs has led to a surge of cheap foreign steel into the U.S., with imports rising 24 percent in 2017, the fastest increase in years.
The Defense Department continues to buy Chinese-made rocket propellant, and the Army and Navy Pxs are stocked with imported clothing and other goods. I personally communicated with the buyers at these stores with offers from U.S. suppliers of American-made clothing, but was told, “we are going to continue to buy from overseas.” I mentioned President Trump’s executive order on buying American, one of those leather-bound orders that the President holds up in show and tell session with the press. The Army and Navy buyers said that they will continue to buy imports and have continued to ignore the President’s executive order.
Mr. Trump’s bad behavior and failure to play well with others has negatively affected trade relationships between the United States and other countries. For example, President Trump is not welcome in Britain because of his crass behavior. Britain has long been one of our most significant trading partners. His alarming tweets aimed at North Korea have hurt his leverage to extract concessions from China and South Korea. He has not accomplished any significant goals on trade and I recommend that he be held back and not be allowed to advance to another grade level.