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.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 200 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least eight Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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More Brexit shenanigans: Britons this week saw Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in upcoming elections. As a special bonus, they got to see Corbyn return the favo(u)r with a formal endorsement of Johnson. Most viewers in the UK will have understood immediately that these are the latest example of "deep fakes," digitally manipulated video images. The more important Brexit story this week is a pledge by Nigel Farage that his Brexit Party will not run candidates in areas held by the Conservatives in upcoming national elections. That's a boost for Johnson, because it frees his party from having to compete for support from pro-Brexit voters in those constituencies.

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80: More than 80 percent of the electronic voting systems currently used in the US are made by just three companies, according to a new report which warns that they are regulated less effectively than "colored pencils."

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Are we going to learn anything new from public impeachment hearings?

No, but like with Mueller, you know, people weren't reading the transcript, but they did actually listen to Mueller when he gave his speech. Now, the question is: Are they going to take anything different away from the public impeachment hearings? And the answer is, yes. They'll take very different things away, if they're watching on Fox or if they're watching on MSNBC. Still deeply divided and still can't imagine senators on the GOP impeaching, slash, convicting President Trump.

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