THE “NON-MARKET ECONOMY”

In your Tuesday edition, I wrote about the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement—known variously as the USMCA, “New NAFTA,” or the “Tremendous Rejiggered Unbelievable Manufacturing Pact”—and why it’s a political win for Donald Trump.


But there’s another noteworthy aspect of this deal that has since become public.

There’s a stipulation near the end of the new agreement that parties to the deal must notify the other members three months in advance if they intend to begin trade negotiations with a “non-market” economy (that would be China). They must also explain what they intend to negotiate and why.

In addition, before signing any such trade deal, the other members have the right to review its terms to assess what impact it might have on their own economies. Any breach of these terms could terminate the USMCA.

In other words, the US claims the right to essentially veto any trade deal that Canada or Mexico might negotiate with China, which the US insists, not without reason, is a “non-market economy.” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed this week that this stipulation in no way undermines Canada’s right to choose its own trade partners, but it appears to force Canadian (and Mexican) negotiators to choose between access to China’s market and access to the US market.

This may well become a contentious issue as lawmakers in Canada, Mexico, and the US debate the deal’s ratification.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, explains the feud between Trump and Twitter and weighs in on Elon Musk's ambitious space plans:

What is happening between Trump and Twitter?

A lot. Twitter decided it had to fact check the president because the president said something that wasn't entirely true, and perhaps was false, about voting. Twitter cares a lot about lies about voting. So, they fact check Trump. Trump got really mad, said he's going to get rid of some of the laws that protect Twitter from liability when people say bad things on their platform. That started war number one.

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Trump promised a statement about China. Today's announcement was not about China. Most significant was about the World Health Organization, which is a distraction for Trump because it's weaker. They're reliant on the US, have no ability to hit back. But announcing they're pulling all funding and pulling out of the World Health Organization, the international governmental organization tasked with responding to pandemics, in the middle of a pandemic, is one of the stupidest foreign policy decisions that President Trump could make.

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The world's worst health crisis in a hundred years might not seem like the best time for the World Health Organization's biggest financial supporter to threaten to pull the plug on its operations, but that's where we are. On Friday afternoon, President Trump announced that the US is withdrawing entirely from the Organization.

The move comes ten days after the White House sent a withering four-page letter to the organization's Director General which accused the organization of ignoring early warnings about the virus' spread and bowing to Chinese efforts to downplay its severity. The letter closed with a threat to withdraw within 30 days unless the WHO shaped up to better serve "American interests." In the end, the Administration had patience only for 10 days after all.

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