Updates

08/23/11
By Tim Robertson, Director California Fair Trade Coalition US Trade Representative Ron Kirk was in San Francisco Wednesday promoting pending Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, a key aspect of the president's "jobs plan." I managed to catch up to him in the spacious lobby of a downtown high tech firm and he was nice enough to engage in a brief interview with no advance notice. My disagreement with many of his trade goals was clear from my opening question, yet he stuck around long enough for a few follow-ups, a full five minutes until his staff pulled him away. In that time, he managed to spit out just about every pro-free trade boilerplate talking point ever spoken, but displayed an alarming disregard for some of the consequences to American workers if the FTAs were to pass.
08/23/11
By Howard Schneider, Washington Post GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — At a General Electric flight simulator here, the visibility has been set at near zero to mimic thick rain and clouds. But a video console near the pilot shows a vivid picture of nearby mountains precise enough to allow a plane to take off or land despite the conditions. The system is one of several highly valuable next-generation technologies that GE has developed — and that the company has passed along to China as part of a joint venture with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
08/22/11
By Vicki Needham, The Hill The contentious and potentially explosive issue of China's currency could slide into the spotlight again next month as lawmakers begin what is expected to be a difficult trade debate in Congress. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) "is strongly considering" offering his China currency bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), as an amendment to a standalone worker-retraining measure that is expected to begin movement through the House and Senate next month, a Senate aide told The Hill.
08/22/11
By Dave Gram, Kansas City Star A free-trade agreement between the United States and other countries around the Pacific Ocean might not seem like an obvious topic of discussion inside Vermont's Statehouse. But in Montpelier and other state capitals, there's growing concern that such agreements could undermine states' authority in a host of areas, including regulation of important local industries, negotiations over health care costs and control over public utilities like water supplies.
08/22/11
By Don Siegel, Pittsburgh Post Gazette President Barack Obama won support from hard-hit manufacturing workers in states like Pennsylvania in 2008 with his pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and create trade agreements that generate jobs here. Now, he is flip-flopping on those commitments and pushing three NAFTA-modeled trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia. These deals are projected to further hurt our state and nation.
08/22/11
By CNN's Jack Cafferty Here is more evidence of the suicide mission this country is on: General Electric announced it's moving its 115-year-old X-ray business from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Beijing, China. The X-ray business is part of General Electric's GE Healthcare unit, and this move is just part of a broader plan by GE to invest $2 billion in China.
08/18/11
Ryan McLaughlin, Bangor Daily News Before she started touring the New Balance manufacturing plant on Wednesday, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, held up a black New Balance sneaker, posed for a couple of pictures and couldn’t help but smile. “I wear New Balance,” the senator said to a group of New Balance officials and reporters. Snowe visited the factory in the wake of a June 10 letter she wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk expressing concern that a potential free trade agreement with low-wage footwear-producing nations in Asia could severely damage the domestic rubber footwear industry and the jobs it supports in Maine communities such as Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Norway.
08/18/11
Amy Westervelt, Forbes A year or so ago I met an attorney on a plane who explained to me that his was a very niche practice. He explained what he did as “defending companies whose operations were being threatened by governments,” and cited examples of oil companies that had been drilling in Venezuela when Chavez came in and restructured resource rights. “Obviously the Venezuelan courts are going to back Chavez, so these companies need an objective third party to review their grievances.”
08/18/11
The Associated Press A trade group representing 20 of the biggest financial companies spent $310,000 during the second quarter lobbying the federal government on free-trade agreements, new banking rules and taxes, according to a disclosure report.
08/18/11
Devin Dwyer and Ann Compton, ABC News "At his rural economic forum in Iowa Tuesday, President Obama exhorted the need to boost the manufacturing and export of U.S. cars and trucks to create jobs,” ABC’s Devin Dwyer and Ann Compton write. “But it turns out the president's new custom motor coach comes stamped with a brand that's located someplace else: Canada. The $1.1 million jet-black rumbling bus that has been carrying Obama through the Midwest this week was designed in part by Prevost, a motor coach manufacturer based in Quebec. The New York Post was first to report this, and Provost officials confirmed this fact to ABC News. ‘We just build an empty shell of a bus, and then sell them to a converter for outfitting,’ Prevost's Steve Zeigler told ABC News.

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