Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I Got Mine Really

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, sworn in Feb. 7 and charged with providing U.S. businesses with better trading opportunities, spoke Monday in Washington with staff writer Lauren Markoe and other reporters. Here are edited excerpts from their discussion:

QUESTION: DR. CAFTA — the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement — seems to be in trouble in Congress. What’s the administration’s strategy?
ANSWER: “To get the facts out. On the economic side, we are currently importing from Central America and the Dominican Republic pretty much duty free. Our exports to Central America pay duties. So what CAFTA does is it levels the playing field.”
Really says: To obscure facts. We pay duty export fees but operate in those countries tax free for decades sometimes, local politicoligarchies are well paid to pass labor and environmental laws that benefit our corporations, generally the host country pays to build our factories, provide slave labor. I mean if .60 cents an hour isn't "pretty much" slavery, what is, hahaha.

QUESTION: Do you have a timeline for bringing CAFTA before Congress?
ANSWER: “I don’t believe in timelines.”
Really says: It's just a matter of time before those reluctant to our agenda accept a stack of cash or are shown compromising photos.

QUESTION: NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — hasn’t lived up to its promises. Why shouldn’t people be skeptical about CAFTA?
ANSWER: “Since NAFTA was put in place, our economy has grown 38 percent. Mexico’s economy has grown 31 percent. Canada’s economy has grown 31 percent.”
Really says: Did I say "economy"? I meant CEO salaries and bonuses have grown that much, hahaha. Who gives a shit that NAFTA drove jobs out of the US. I got mine.

QUESTION: What are we doing to enforce the trade treaties we have already signed, specifically the massive influx of Chinese textiles to the United States?
ANSWER: “We self-initiated a review of textiles, three categories of textiles ... Any time we see our trading partners not living up to the agreements, we have to be willing to use the tools we negotiated to enforce the agreements.”
Really says: We really don't give a shit about influx from China, without those cheap China textiles where would Wal-Mart be? And where do you think the Chinese buy most of their raw materials to make that junk? Actually, what was initiated, was a "safeguard review" (aka let-us-dick-around-longer but appear to be looking at it), to review the textile categories of U.S.-made cotton knit tops, cotton trousers and underwear. Who wears this stuff, hahaha.

QUESTION: What are we doing about China undervaluing its currency?
ANSWER: “If I talk about the currency, somebody from the Treasury is going to appear right in this room and take me away.”
Really says: Are you outta your mind? If we punish China do you know how much that would hurt? U.S. exports to China totaled $34.7 billion last year, growing by 114% from 2000 to 2004. US corporations own half of all China's export oriented factories. We sell them the materials they make Wal-Mart shit with. They bought 1/3 of US cotton last year.

QUESTION: Are you worried about the trade deficit?
ANSWER: “Our economy grew last year at 4.4 percent. So we have a very attractive economy ... If the trade deficit is the only number we were trying to solve, we could do things to get the trade deficit down. I don’t believe the solution to the trade deficit is to go back and make ourselves less attractive, put up barriers ... we have to continue focusing on opening markets, expanding, opening trade.
Really says: I made over 7+ million in salary in 2003 in the private sector, you really think I'm worried about it? Imagine what I'll make now after I leave government. But doesn't the word "attractive" sound positively soothing, hahaha?

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