Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 12:39:23 CST
From: Scott Marshall (Scott@rednet.org)
Subject: New US attempts to run world economy
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L (ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu)
LONDON -- Over the past year, the Clinton administration has been engaged in some of the most ambitious U.S. foreign policy schemes since John Foster Dulles sought to girdle the earth with U.S.-led cold war blocs.
Today, "free" trade is the preferred weapon -- more effective than armies for opening up markets for transnational companies.
In the past year Clinton has sought to build capitalist trading blocks through the adoption of a new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation community (APEC) and ground-laying for an Americas Free Trade Area (AFTA) covering the western hemisphere.
APEC is the most ambitious. It embraces 18 Pacific Rim countries over an area forecasted to be the major industrial and market region of the future. It makes up half the world's economy, two-fifths of global trade. Its trade potential is indicated by the existing six-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which has a population of 340 million people and an import market of $226 billion. Towering beside ASEAN is China with an incalculable market.
In the latter part of 1993 President Clinton seized the initiative by calling an APEC summit meeting in Seattle. Last November the first planning forum was held in Jakarta. It set forth an APEC program for the removal of all trade barriers by developed member countries by the year 2010 and of barriers by developing member countries by 2020.
A month later, in December, Clinton called a 34-nation summit in Miami, including all the countries of the western hemisphere except Cuba. Projected was a free trade area encompassing 850 million people, or 13 percent of the world's population, with a buying power annually of $13 trillion in goods and services -- the mere thought of which makes the eyes of U.S. transnational executives glisten.
Concentration on the Pacific Rim and the western hemisphere does not mean any withdrawal of U.S. interests from Europe or the rest of the world. The European Union, however, is a major rival block. In the Asia/Pacific region and the Americas, the U.S. hopes to shape the order of at least two-thirds of the world.
However, there is resistance to U.S. plans. Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir opposed any reintroduction of foreign control in Asia. He declared the APEC discussion non-binding and rejected the setting of a timetable for removing protection of his economy or others.
Other APEC countries, especially China, Japan and Thailand, have the same attitude as Malaysia. China recently denounced U.S. stalling over China's entry to GATT as due to U.S. fear that the "rapidly growing Chinese would enable Chinato join hands with developing countries to threaten U.S. dominant status in the world economy." A current dispute over alleged Chinese pirating of U.S. patents is charged by China as a U.S. effort to "pry oven China's financial, insurance, telecommunications, transport and other service markets for entry of its own companies."
In Latin America the U.S. is confronted by equally difficult problems. On Jan. 1st a step toward a South American Free Trade Area, with Brazil as its center, was taken. It includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Brazilian ambassador to London, Rubens Barbosa, said that if South American countries joined NAFTA they "would lose their capacity for adopting autonomous policies insensitive areas such as investment, services and intellectual property."
The coming decade will be one of disorderly struggles, with free trade and national sovereignty in conflict, as the U.S. tries to impose its order on the world.
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