24 minutes | Jan 24, 2023
Airlines Offshoring Plane Maintenance?!
If you thought the air travel fiasco could not get worse, consider the scary news that airlines are offshoring the maintenance work needed to keep planes safe. It’s the same greedy cost-cutting behind the outdated computer systems and gutted airline staffing that is causing the epic air travel meltdowns upending millions of peoples’ lives. In the race-to-the-bottom offshore aircraft maintenance facilities in El Salvador, Singapore, China, and Brazil mechanics’ special aircraft certifications, security and background checks, and drug testing is waived. And of course there are no FAA inspectors doing spot checks. Just like with the flight schedule Hell, the Department of Transportation is letting the airlines get away with it. Experts say it’s just a matter of time before there is a horrific incident. In this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach, we are joined by the two people in the country who know the most about this threat. William McGee, Senior Fellow for Aviation and Travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, is America’s leading aviation consumer safety and rights expert with 22 years at Consumer Reports. He’s a former FAA licensed aircraft dispatcher. Gary Peterson is the Vice of the Transport Workers Union and a certified Airframe and Powerplant aviation mechanic by trade. He is Executive Director to the International President and former Air Division Director at the union. Gary worked for decades for American Airlines leading the teams who safety inspect and rebuild planes. He also served as crew chief doing maintenance on aircraft in the Air Force. Gary, Bill and Lori talk about the lunacy of offshoring aircraft safety inspection and maintanace lunatic practice has been allowed and how to fix the problem now.
25 minutes | Dec 16, 2022
Shocker or Not: End China Trade Status Says Bipartisan Commission
Shock waves were sent through Washington, D.C.’s many trade wonks when the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission gave a unanimous bipartisan recommendation that Congress consider ending China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR). Opponents of China PNTR were trashed as idiots, protectionists and doom mongers during a brutal 2000 U.S. national debate about China’s trade status and entry into the World Trade Organization. Now 22 years later, those opponents’ concerns proved not only to be right, but understated. But its a rarity in Washington to have high-level commissioners half appointed by the GOP while Democratic leadership AGREE to call for the reversal of a major policy mistake. “Hallelujah!” was the response from a labor leader receiving the news, while a small business CEO emailed us back an “Amen!” Whether or not Congress will follow the recommendation remains to be seen. But the fact that the U.S.-China trade debate has come to this juncture is both shocking, and based on the outcomes of the last 22 years, is not shocking at all. On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach, we are joined by Michael Wessel, an original member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, who is one of the nation’s leading experts on China trade and security. Lori and Michael unpack how we got to this juncture, the damage that was done along the way, the supply chain issues we are now dealing with, and our options going forward for U.S.-China trade relations. This episode provides the color commentary to bring context to the endless parade of China trade headlines in the news.
28 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
EVs and Solar: What’s with the Rage About US Joining Fight Against Climate Chaos?
The U.S. finally is getting its act together on climate with big new tax credits for people who buy electric vehicles (EVS) and go solar and incentives for companies to do invest in green production. So why are European and Asian governments steaming mad at us and screaming “trade barrier!!” in numerous languages, instead of cheering our better-late-than-never climate action? Especially given we only have less than 10 years to take drastic measures or face dire climate catastrophe! Will the Biden administration cave in and roll back these excellent new policies that were explicitly designed to simultaneously counter the interrelated crises of climate chaos, supply chain meltdowns causing shortages and inflation, and economic inequality and anxiety? On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach we unpack what was in the Inflation Reduction Act and how it can help more people get an EV, go solar, have reliable supplies of such products and good jobs making them. Ben Beachy, the Vice President of Manufacturing and Industrial Policy at the BlueGreen Alliance explains it all. Plus, Ben and Lori make sense of the short-sighted sniping from other countries. (Hint: Think circular firing squad!)
26 minutes | Oct 27, 2022
Factory Towns Can Save Democracy & Democrats Alike
Every election is THE most important in our lifetimes, except the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential actually are. How have we come to this crisis of democracy? A team of data scientists, opinion researchers, and strategists spent a year studying the two-time Obama voters who then elected Trump in 2020 and their shattered communities. The resulting “Factory Towns Project” demolishes the conventional wisdom about the path forward for democracy and Democrats. And yes, decades of corporate-rigged trade deals and economic policies that killed millions of manufacturing jobs in thousands of “factory towns” are part of this story. On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach we get a guided tour from the two “Factory Towns Project” leaders: Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners, who is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists and one of two lead pollsters for the Biden campaign in 2020. And Mike Lux, co-founder of Democracy Partners and President of Progressive Strategies LLC. Spoiler: going moderate and mushy to target suburban voters is not the way forward for Democrats. More importantly, making America meet its promise by delivering for the factory town communities is critical to the health of our democracy. Here is the link to the report: https://www.americanfamilyvoices.org/post/winning-back-the-factory-towns-that-made-trumpism-possible
16 minutes | Sep 21, 2022
Treat IPEF with Sunlight To Avoid Harm
Your doctor’s not at fault if you don’t know about IPEF. It’s not a new virus. But it could harm billions of people. Or not. IPEF = Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. Setting rules for 40% of the world’s economy is the goal of this recently-launched “trade” negotiation. With the public and Congress locked out so far, few people even know about these talks involving 14 nations. Big Tech interests are using their money and lobbyists and the IPEF’s secretive process to try to rig it. They want to lock in their power and monopolies to rake in the profits by trading in our personal data, tracking us, flooding our kids with garbage, and crushing competitors. Some in the Biden administration hope to harness IPEF to develop a new “worker-centered” trade policy. Others seem to be in cahoots with Big Tech. In this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach, Lori breaks down what the IPEF is, how these talks could affect each of our lives and why we all need to start paying attention to IPEF before it’s too late.
30 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
Shady COVID Deal: WTO’s Midnight Scandal
After two years of pandemic and 15 million dead, how did the first big global WTO summit end with WTO intellectual property barriers still blocking global access to COVID meds? This episode exposes how a sham text gavelled through in the middle of the night and produced a worse-than-nothing outcome only Big Pharma can love. How could this happen given more than 100 WTO countries wanted a real fix? On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach we bring back two activist lawyers we heard from earlier in the fight: Fatima Hassan at Cape Town’s Health Justice Initiative, South Africa and Sangeeta Shashikant with the global Third World Network. Together, they’ll walk through what happened, how we’ve been collectively gaslighted, and the current state of affairs. The fight for global access to COVID meds continues!
23 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
De Minimis: Amazon’s Big Little Secret
On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach we’ll expose Amazon’s big little secret — a loophole which allows Amazon and other online giants to import billions of dollars in uninspected, unsafe, tax-dodging goods from China into the United States every year. Only Uzbekistan has a bigger “de minimis” loophole, which is the technical name for this scam. Today, more than two million such uninspected packages slip through every day from China alone. Lori is joined by one of our country’s great champions for working people and manufacturing, the President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations, Kim Glas. She will break down how this loophole works, who it is hurting and what’s being done to fix it.
23 minutes | Apr 29, 2022
Drugs, COVID, the WTO and a Leaked Text
In this episode, Lori talks with two trailblazing attorneys: Fatima Hassan at Cape Town’s Health Justice Initiative, South Africa and Sangeeta Shashikant with the global Third World Network. They discuss why after 18 months, there still is no deal to waive the WTO intellectual property rules blocking global access to COVID vaccines, treatments and tests. And the dire threats posed here and there by less than 20% of people in developing countries being vaccinated. And if you were confused by news that a deal to fix this WTO mess was reached, we’ll help make sense of that too. What *really* happened is a story of attempted steamroller tactics being stopped by people power. Plus, they discuss what’s next in the fight to end the pandemic.
21 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
WTF? WTO Still Blocking End to the Pandemic
In this episode, Lori talks with a leading public health expert about how we could END the pandemic and how World Trade Organization monopolies for Big Pharma are blocking that. Health GAP director Asia Russell, who helped bust Big Pharma monopolies to get HIV-AIDS meds to people worldwide, lays out the current COVID situation worldwide and what actions can end the pandemic.
15 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
MC12, Part 2: Still No COVID Waiver, But WTO Inks Services Deregulation Deal
In Part 1 we discussed some of the big issues at stake at the World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial conference, which was scheduled to take place last week in Geneva. That meeting, however, was postponed after the introduction of travel restrictions related to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Ironically, WTO countries enacting the waiver to get WTO IP barriers out of the way of making the meds to end the pandemic is what many people would consider to be the number one issue for the WTO to act on. A temporary suspension of WTO intellectual property barriers is needed so qualified producers in developing countries can produce more vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19. But while the WTO has again failed to deliver such a waiver, and with a new variant spreading fast, a number of WTO member nations somehow found time to make a new agreement limiting environmental and consumer regulation in the service sector. On today’s show, we discuss the status of the TRIPS waiver, dig into this dangerous and potentially illegal agreement on services deregulation, and ask what could and should happen between now and the next WTO general council meeting to help end the pandemic. -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
15 minutes | Nov 24, 2021
MC12, Part 1: Will Big Pharma and Big Tech Win at Next Week’s WTO Ministerial?
Will the WTO get out of the way of global production of COVID-19 vaccines and meds so we can end this pandemic? Whether Big Pharma or humankind will win is the biggest question as the WTO’s major biennial ministerial meeting starts the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. But Big Tech also has a play… More than 120 countries support waiving some of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules that are limiting production of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. But the European Union, UK and Switzerland are blocking. A waiver wont happen without more leadership from the Biden administration. With all this as a backdrop, Big Tech corporations are also vying for influence at MC12, urging the body to push so-called “digital trade” proposal that would close domestic policy space on issues of great importance, including gig economy worker protections, discrimination and algorithm transparency, competition policy and anti-trust, corporate liability, and consumer privacy. Big Tech wants the WTO to formalize what have beeb rump talks in violation of its own rules. The stakes could not be higher for the WTO or for the world: Failure to enact a waiver will prolong the pandemic, leading to more death, illness, economic hardship, and social and political disruption. And rushing through a “Trojan Horse” set of “digital trade” rules will only further erode democracy worldwide. LINKS: MC12 Global Call to Action 3 Million TRIPS Petitions Delivered to President Biden Senators Sanders, Warren, Baldwin and Brown call on Biden to Push for TRIPS Waiver at MC12 Reuters: Activists Urge Biden to Push for Intellectual Property Waiver for COVID-19 Vaccines Big Tech’s “Digital Trade” Trojan Horse Strategy -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
A New U.S. Approach to the WTO?
U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai’s recent speech about the World Trade Organization was shocking. Why? Because she openly and frankly discussed the yawning gap between the WTO’s expansive rules and what is right and good for people and the planet. And she made clear that the rules of the global commerce agency need a major redo. That sort of tough love may be the last chance for the WTO, which has suffered a deepening legitimacy crisis for decades. Today WTO intellectual property barriers empower a few pharmaceutical corporations to limit how much vaccine is made, prolonging the pandemic. In this episode we unpack USTR Tai’s recent comments and what they mean for the future of the WTO. Learn more: www.tradewatch.org -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
14 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Apple & Google Seek U.S. Trade Attack on Anti-Monopoly Law
Right now, Apple and Google are lobbying the U.S. government to attack South Korean anti-monopoly policies. They claim that a recently passed Korean law requiring app stores to allow consumers to use diverse payment systems violates the US-Korea trade deal. Big Tech corporations want to hijack trade pacts to outlaw as a “barrier to trade” anti-trust, labor, environmental or consumer protections that could cut into their profits. On today’s show, we discuss this case and Big Tech’s current attempts to quietly thwart domestic digital governance and pro-competition policymaking now underway in the U.S. Congress, in various U.S. agencies and in countries around the world by misbranding such policies as “barriers to digital trade.” Learn more: www.tradewatch.org -- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
20 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
President Biden Could End the COVID Pandemic at This Week’s UN Summit - Will He?
Getting the world vaccinated and ending the pandemic is a political choice: World leaders have the medical, technical and financial capacity. To produce enough vaccines involves three clear steps: getting intellectual property monopoly barriers out of the way through a temporary WTO TRIPS waiver, technology transfer through sharing the recipes, and funding global production so the world is not reliant on a few monopoly sources. With this year’s United Nations General Assembly now underway and President Biden’s upcoming COVID Summit around the corner, the U.S. has a powerful opportunity to end the pandemic. Unfortunately, the targets for Biden’s COVID summit exclude making a final deal on the TRIPS waiver or any others steps to share vaccine recipes with the world so more shots can be produced. To discuss all of this, we are joined by longtime HIV and social justice activist Matthew Rose, who leads U.S. policy and advocacy work at Health GAP and has been deeply involved in the fight for the TRIPS waiver. Click here to sign the petition. Click here to learn more about Health GAP. --- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
18 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Labor Day Special: An Historic Vote in a Mexican Auto Plant
On August 19th, workers at the massive General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico participated in an historic vote that ousted the corrupt and undemocratic protection union that had long controlled labor relations there. The effort to win such a vote was made possible by the labor rules and Rapid Response enforcement mechanism of the USMCA trade deal. In this Labor Day special, we sit down with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Research Director Daniel Rangel and long-time labor organizer Jeff Hermanson, who has been supporting the General Motors campaign through the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center. We discuss the situation at Silao, its significance in the context of trade policy and what it says about the prospect for workers to utilize the USMCA to fight for labor rights in North America. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
19 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
Hyperglobalization, COVID and Failed Supply Chains: Now What?
In our very first episode, we looked at how corporate-led globalization has fueled shortages in our medical supply-chains and limited our ability to fight COVID-19 Today, we catch everyone up on the latest, discussing two Biden-Harris Administration initiatives aimed at addressing this mess -- a targeted supply chain-review and an executive order on Buy American procurement rules. We also make sense of the latest U.S. trade data, which suggests a record trade deficit in 2021. Yup, that's probably another COVID symptom… Episode transcript. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
17 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
U.S. Inaction is Enabling COVID-19 Variants to Spread
The world celebrated when President Biden announced the U.S. would support a temporary waiver of World Trade Organization “TRIPS” intellectual property barriers to boost global production of COVID-19 vaccines. But months later, Big Pharma’s monopolies remain. The administration has failed to deliver on the waiver or to get vaccine makers to share their recipes. That means dire shortages of vaccines continue and with the vast majority of people worldwide exposed, COVID is on a murderous, variant-spawning rampage. Now the delta variant first detected overseas is burning through the U.S. Public health experts are warning that lockdowns and perhaps other measures, like postponing in-person learning, may be necessary. The U.S. must act now to end the pandemic. Every moment of further inaction enables COVID-19 variants to develop and spread. Take Action: rethinktrade.org. ---- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
13 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
NAFTA Keystone XL Pipeline $15B ISDS Attack
Within hours of taking office, President Biden revoked the permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The project, which would worsen the climate crisis, also posed major health and safety risks to indigenous people whose land it crossed. Now the Canadian corporation that wanted to build the pipeline is using a NAFTA Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS) tribunal to demand $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers. ISDS allows multinational corporations to sue governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers, who can award unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. A years-long civil society and labor campaign got the original ISDS rules whacked out of the revised NAFTA. But that fix is phased-in over three years. This means legacy cases like TC Energy’s can be launched until 2023. In this episode, we look at the Keystone XL NAFTA ISDS case, the new rules governing investor rights in North America, and the future of the ISDS regime. Learn more at rethinktrade.org. ---- Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
20 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
The USMCA: A Year in Review
On July 1, 2020, following a lengthy campaign by unions, civil society groups and congressional Democrats to win key improvements, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, or United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), went into effect. Unlike the original NAFTA, the USMCA requires its signatory countries to respect workers’ rights. And it has a special Rapid Response Labor Enforcement Mechanism. The revised deal largely gutted the disastrous Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. But recently-filed labor enforcement complaints and a “legacy” ISDS case with the corporation behind the XL pipeline demanding $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers provide a stark warning that if and how the USMCA improves life and work in North America will depend on activism in all three nations. See Public Citizen’s analysis of the delayed phase-in of Mexico’s new labor justice system here: http://bitly.ws/dRnT Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
51 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
The Fight for Workers’ Rights in North America: Big Developments Under the Revised NAFTA
This May 27th webinar “The Fight for Workers’ Rights in North America: Major Recent Developments Under the Revised NAFTA,” featured Mexican labor leader Susana Prieto Terrazas (Sindicato Nacional Independiente de Trabajadores de Industrias y de Servicios), Ben Davis (United Steelworkers), Rachel Micah-Jones (Centro de los Derechos del Migrante) and Daniel Rangel (Public Citizen). These US and Mexican labor and civil society leaders discussed recent labor enforcement cases under the revised NAFTA. The event coincided with the release of a new Public Citizen analysis of the delayed phase-in of Mexico’s new labor justice system, which was one of the key commitments undertaken by Mexico when NAFTA was renegotiated in 2018. The report reviews which Mexican states will be in compliance and by what date, based on states’ share of foreign direct investment, industrial activity, labor conflicts and more. Read the report here: http://bitly.ws/dRnT Learn more at rethinktrade.org. Music: Groove Grove by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3831-groove-grove. License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/