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June01, 2015

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22 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE TOP 100 IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS 2015 JUNE 1.2015 By Peter Tirschwell Nevertheless, Guillen arg ued, "It is undeniable that whenever you make a change in a trading regime — whenever you change the rules of trade either for greater trade or more restrictions on trade — there are always winners and losers in the short run." In the long run, "everyone is going to benefit," including consumers who gain access to foreign goods at lower prices, which is tantamount to an increase in their income, he said. In the shorter run, Guil- len added, the key is whether "we can take care of those (other) people who suffer as the result of free trade (rather than) let the winners hijack the entire process." Much as in the case of NAFTA, many of the TPP's proponents and detractors are making exaggerated claims about its vir- tues or its defects. "The economic analysis is that the (TPP's) impact on growth will be not very large," DeLisle argues. Whereas NAFTA furthered the economic integra- tion of three neighboring countries that already had intimate ties on multiple levels, the TPP will bring together countries that are far more distant. "A lot of the countries in the TPP are already involved in free trade agreements with the U.S.," including Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and South Korea, he added. That's why Japan's par- ticipation is so critical to boosting the TPP's potential impact on the global economy. To win stronger support from anti-trade Democrats, might President Obama opt to make some sort of concession regarding one or more details of the TPP text? "When the NAFTA negotiations were going on, the Democrats were also split," Guillen recalls. "It was Clinton who made the final con- cessions to the more pro-labor wing of the Democratic Party," which involved adding provisions regarding the protection of labor and environmental rights to the text of the agreement." Given that the TPP already incorporates many protections intended to win over labor unionists and environmentalists, what might such a concession involve? A concession may be necessary, Guillen said, "but who knows what that may be?" JOC Contact Alan M. Field at Can We Talk? The president of the PMA, acknowledging a breakdown in the process, seeks a new way to negotiate with ILWU THE WEST COAST negotiating process that yielded months of disruption at ports through February is "not sustainable," the leader of the management group that nego- tiates with the longshoremen says. "We absolutely do" need to do things dif- ferently to avoid the crippling disruption that caused untold losses to importers and export- ers until the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union reached a contract agreement on Feb. 20, PMA President James McKenna said. "What we're doing now is not sustain- able, not for the industry and not for the country," McKenna said in an interview at the International Maritime Hall of Fame dinner on May 13. "Certainly, I have to talk to my board and I have to talk to the industry itself, but we have to find a different way to get where we need to be with an agreement between the ILWU and the PMA." McKenna wouldn't get specific on what he has in mind, absent a change to the law governing longshore contract negotiations, such as the suggestion to put the longshore- men under the federal Railway Labor Act. That route is seen as tougher in responding to instances of labor disruption in the inter- ests of the national economy. Last December, David Adam, who heads the PMA's counterpart on the East Coast, the United States Maritime Alliance, simi- larly suggested that a new way be found to conduct longshore labor negotiations. "The process, to me, is not working," he told the JOC's Port Performance Conference in Newark, New Jersey. "It's old, it's decrepit and it really needs to be reviewed." Harold Daggett, president of the Inter- national Longshoreman's Association, immediately shot down Adam's suggestion. "The answer is no," Daggett told The Jour- nal of Commerce. "We're going to continue to negotiate the way we negotiate now." USMX and the ILA, however, did agree to open discussions about a new, long-term contract more than three years before their current East and Gulf Coast labor agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2018 — a tacit acknowl- edgement of the uncertainty surrounding longshore negotiations. McKenna used similar lang uage to describe a system that many believe is broken because of the disruption and uncer- tainty it creates on a national scale, due to nothing more than the vicissitudes of a tra- ditional union-management negotiation. "Both parties have to realize how times have changed and take steps to correct it, "Both parties have to realize how times have changed and take steps to correct it."

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