In the bigger picture… Within the trade team, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is positioned with primary responsibility toward the EU and India. Ross clear-cuts through the politics, explains Trump’s objectives amid the trade proposals, and paves a path for U.S. Trade Rep Bob Lighthizer to engage his counterparts.
India has always been a key strategic nation within the global trade-realignment taking place by the Trump administration. Under all of the banter, the “Indo-Pacific” strategy is structurally the decoupling of the U.S. from China. As a part of the strategy President Trump has positioned the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as benefactors in manufacturing & trade as an outcome of the U.S. decoupling from China.
However, India has genuine concerns about the global dynamic. Specifically, India is worried about allowing the multinationals to have influence over their economy and social structure. In this regard India is not wrong; their concerns are not unfounded.
We can all see, heck we’ve lived through, massive multinational corporations quickly gaining too much influence; including -eventually- corporate influence over the politics of a nation. That inherently leads to corruption.
When Americans see it in other nations we call it “bribery and corruption”, but when it happens in Washington, DC, we call it “lobbying”; the process is exactly the same.
As a consequence of the concern, Indian Prime Minister Modi has been straddling the fence while President Trump tries to influence him to come over to the side of ‘free markets’.
In an effort to dissuade the corrupt multinational concerns of Modi (and Trump has clearly indicated he does see validity within the concerns), President Trump has used Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an example of what can be possible with economic nationalism.
President Trump (USA), Prime Minister Abe (Japan) and Prime Minister Modi (India) have held several unusual trilateral discussions as this dynamic has played out over the past two years. The concerns express by India are valid; however, so too is the opportunity… that’s where Secretary Wilbur Ross comes in:
India and the United States have spoken openly about the ups and downs of their current trade negotiations. Their discussion at the Forum’s India Economic Summit revealed new insights into both sides positions – and a key sticking point.
US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and Indian Minister for commerce, industry and railways, Piyush Goyal represented the US and India, respectively. WATCH:
Prime Minister Modi, as represented by Minister Goyal, is concerned about the influences that comes with allowing massive foreign investment. Secretary Wilbur Ross will never diminish the concern because structurally that negative outcome, an outcome of corporate influence, is exactly what President Trump is now trying to untangle in the U.S. economy.
If President Trump is successful the new era of national trade will be based on genuine reciprocity and economic nationalism. The decades of allowing corrupt multinational corporate influence have created massive social inequities.
These inequities, both domestic and global in nature; driven almost exclusively by corporate greed to the benefit of multinational interests; allowed China to strategically step-in, open their doors and take advantage.
Fast forward to the past ten years and China is holding their national interests -and grip over prior investment- like a ‘sword of Damocles’ over the heads of the global corporations. As President Trump has said: “I don’t blame China … I blame stupid politicians”.
In many ways President Trump is asking Prime Minister Modi to join in a network of nations and help the U.S. correct the current issue that personifies what Modi is worried about happening to India in the future.
Lastly, and here’s the important part; this is the part the global financial media seem to miss…. When you look at all of this ancillary geopolitical activity taking place toward the objective; you see it is all connected to a singular goal…. President Trump is not negotiating a “deal” with China, he is strategically decoupling the U.S. from China. Period.
If Trump wasn’t decoupling from China, then all of these conversations with Mexico, Canada, the U.K., Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil and India would not be taking place in the clear manner and sequencing we see.
For some reason the global financial media cannot see the connective tissue between Wilbur Ross’s statements in India and the U.S. policy toward China.
“There are trillions at stake”…