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Author Topic: Latin America Topic Paper  (Read 11593 times)
Mike Davis
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« on: April 23, 2012, 02:29:03 PM »

Attached.

By: Mike Davis, Shree Awsare, Kaitlyn Haynal and Kris Willis

* Current Status.xlsx (13.94 KB - downloaded 971 times.)
* Latin America Paper.docx (72.39 KB - downloaded 1631 times.)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 03:08:20 PM by Mike Davis » Logged
max.o.archer
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 03:13:51 PM »

Can the writers of this controversy walk us through the rationale for trade liberalization as the mechanism for changing foreign policy towards Latin America?  Over there years, there has been much interest in debating our neighbors to the south, but I'm curious why trade is the best way to access this debate.  It'd be a shame for this resolution to be ranked low simply because it doesn't fit the foreign policy topic mold (constructive engagement, foreign aid) or perhaps because people are tired of foreign policy topics.  What unique opportunities does trade provide in terms of learning about Latin America that the conventional FoPo topic does not?
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 07:31:43 PM »

Thanks for the question. A few things:

1. The problem with many of we traditional terms we use (constructive engagement and aid based topics) is that you would actually have a hard time finding advocates calling for an increase in aid to most of the potential countries in the topic. However, there are a large number of scholars calling for increased trade liberalization/reduction of trade barriers.
2. The topic area had been kicked around for a while and there were lots of areas that people wanted to see included (drugs, human rights, environment, relations, etc). After kicking this around for several years I felt that trade liberalization was the best way to access a diverse set of topics while still limiting the controversy area.
3. I believe that the best topics are those where the affirmative (or at least the topic committee) has some flexibility, but still has to take a predictable action. Trade liberalization gives the affirmative (or the topic committee) plenty of options for mechanisms, but still links to most of the negative arguments.

Hope this helps and please let me know if there are any other questions,
Mike


Can the writers of this controversy walk us through the rationale for trade liberalization as the mechanism for changing foreign policy towards Latin America?  Over there years, there has been much interest in debating our neighbors to the south, but I'm curious why trade is the best way to access this debate.  It'd be a shame for this resolution to be ranked low simply because it doesn't fit the foreign policy topic mold (constructive engagement, foreign aid) or perhaps because people are tired of foreign policy topics.  What unique opportunities does trade provide in terms of learning about Latin America that the conventional FoPo topic does not?
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KaitlynHaynal
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 08:58:39 PM »

I think another aspect unique to choosing trade as the mechanism is the recent investment and interest seen in Latin America by other countries. Many influential Latin American countries are becoming aware of their rise to power and have cited trade as an important area of engagement. With other countries taking them more seriously, the US risks losing out on any of those other possible forms of engagement (ie drugs, human rights, environment) as their chance at increasing relations with Latin America slip away to countries such as China who are taking the opportunity to build relations through demands for trade more seriously and aggressively. Trade seems to be the gateway.

Kaitlyn
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kelly young
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 02:27:39 PM »

While I commend the folks that brought us a LA paper (in all seriousness, thank you - people have been wanting this paper for a while), I have two concerns:

1. The direction arrow for trade liberalization between US and LA seems to be in the direction of continued liberalization. Seems tough to be negative when we already have so much integration and friendly relations within the region. Even the excel spreadsheet seems to suggest in most instances that we have solid bilateral political and economic relations with many of these nations. For instance, the paper suggests that negatives can defeat small Caribbean affirmatives with generics, but I fail to see how a negative is going to win a good politics or Venezuela or China DA link when we already have strong relations with these nations despite formal trade agreements.

2. I worry that the topic becomes Ag Subsidies topic 2.0. The primary barriers to increased liberalization in what countries we don't have formal agreements with or regional FTAs seem to be various agricultural market barriers.

For instance, from Hornbeck, specialist in Intl Trade & Finance at Congressional Research Service, Feb 8, 2011 (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/98-840.pdf)

The United States and Latin America have pursued trade liberalization through multilateral, regional, and bilateral negotiations, with mixed results. In part this reflects divergent priorities that have been difficult to fully reconcile. For many Latin American countries, reducing barriers to agricultural trade is top of the list for a successful agreement. This goal includes reducing market access barriers (peak tariffs and tariff rate quotas—TRQs), domestic U.S. subsidies, and nontariff barriers (administrative rules, antidumping provisions). Although there are many other issues, agriculture policy has played a big part in slowing progress in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round and halting the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).7 The United States has made clear its unwillingness to address most agricultural and antidumping issues in a regional agreement like the FTAA to preserve its bargaining leverage in the WTO against other subsidizing countries such as the European Union and Japan. Latin American counties have their own sensitive issues and a particular concern in some countries for easing its subsistence agricultural sectors slowly toward trade liberalization.

My concern is that the affirmative can claim to "substantial increase trade liberalization" by eliminating all subsidies and market support for corn and read tons of domestic advantages/add-ons about the harms of corn subsidies/market support. So we have to debate the international jockeying for influence in LA AND the thorniest issues in our own market distorting policies that we just debated a few years ago.

Perhaps there's a work around for this. If so, I'm rather curious to hear.

Kelly



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Mike Davis
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 02:41:42 PM »

Kelly,

Thanks for your reply. When I first started looking into the I also thought there would be uniqueness issues when it comes to trade but there are a few things to remember:

1. Those trade agreements are old and there are lots of Latin American scholars and activists who argue that those relationships are fairly one sided in favor of the US.
2. As Kaitlyn points out there is a ton of competition in the region. Much of this competition is recent and the literature on china alone should make any negative that wants to go straight up very happy.
3. You are not going to be able to debate Latin America without taking about subsidies. There are certainly ways to modify the topic in terms of direction toward a country or by including a phrase that requires a decreeasing of barriers in an area besides subsidies.
4. Pledges of increased liberalization have simply not materialized. Obama has

I hope that makes sense. I am writing this from my phone do excuse any typos or concerns I did not address.

Mike
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 02:45:08 PM »

Point #4 should have finished "Obama has repeatedly promised decreased trade. Artists, but has yet to enact anything substantial.

Finally, we could choose to debate nations where we don't have a trade agreement and/or have poor relations currently if people are worried about uniqueness issues, but like I said I think the negative will have a ton of policy options.
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kelly young
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 01:38:14 AM »

Thanks for the response, Mike. Much appreciated.

I don't think you can specify liberalization in non-agricultural sectors and expect to solve some of these nations. I guess it depends on the nations listed in the resolution. I would really like to see us avoid rehashing a substantial amount of the ag subsidies topic but oh well.

I guess my direction arrow for uniqueness had less to do with the status of formal trade agreements and more with the general significance of current US bilateral trade with many of these nations. The lack of a formal trade liberalization agreement does not mean a lack of substantial trade and generally positive relations. For instance, with Jamaica, according to the State Department (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2032.htm),

The United States is Jamaica's most important trading partner: from January to August 2011 U.S. exports to Jamaica were $1.43 billion and Jamaican exports to the U.S. were $601 million. Jamaica is a popular destination for American tourists; nearly 2 million Americans visited in 2010. In addition, some 10,000 American citizens, including many dual-nationals born on the island, permanently reside in Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica also seeks to attract U.S. investment and generally supports efforts to liberalize trade. More than 80 U.S. firms have operations in Jamaica, and total U.S. investment is estimated at more than $3 billion. The U.S. Embassy's Political/Economic section assists American businesses seeking trade opportunities in Jamaica. The country is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partner Act (CBTPA). The American Chamber of Commerce, which also is available to assist U.S. business in Jamaica, has headquarters in Kingston.

Or the case of Brazil. We have no formal trade agreement with the nation and we have rather rocky bilateral political relations. However, trade is flourishing, even pushing out competitors like China. NY Times, April 9, 2012 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/world/americas/in-dilma-rousseff-visit-brazil-and-us-accentuate-positive.html)

The United States does not have a trade agreement with Brazil, despite reaching such deals with 11 other countries in Latin America, but trade with Brazil, which recently surpassed Britain as the world’s sixth-largest economy, is nevertheless thriving. At one point this year, the United States surpassed China as Brazil’s top export market, because of rising purchases of Brazilian oil and manufactured goods. By the end of the first quarter of this year, China regained the top spot, but the relationship is not without problems, with tensions emerging over cheap Chinese imports and land acquisition by Chinese investors. Meanwhile, the United States had a trade surplus of over $8 billion with Brazil in 2011, reflecting a surge of American exports into Latin America’s largest country. Faced with rising land and labor costs, Brazil, a biofuels powerhouse, even imported a record 1.1 billion liters, about 264 million gallons, of ethanol from the United States last year.

I understand that Obama has made a lot of promises on trade liberalization that he's failed to live up to and nations like China and India or regional actors like Brazil and Venezuela are looking to stick a thumb in the America's eye in the region, but despite formalize trade relations, our general levels of trade and reasonably solid bilateral political relations with all but a small handful of nations in the region raise my concern.

Even if we don't have a formal agreement, I'm not sure how you win a risk of an India, China, Russia, or Venezuela DA when we substantial trade flow with these nations already. Even with nations that we are in tense trade relations with, we are an overwhelming market for their goods. For instance, we are in a fairly serious trade dispute with Argentina over failure to compensate US companies over some investment issue. We ended trade preference with them until this gets resolved. Yet, we are their 4th largest export consumer (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304177104577305652479085184.html).

Seems like the best negative link story is that X nation is gaining a new foothold into Y LA country in Z specific sector. If the affirmative is smart, they ignore that sector and liberalize in areas where the U.S. already has strong market share or trade flows and they simply formalize preferential and free trade in those areas.

I'd like to see some discussion about what nations under this controversy might provide the best negative ground in terms of competition from international and regional players or other disads and still allow the affirmative to solve. And the answers don't have to come just from the paper authors.

And I'm not trying to dissuade folks from this topic. I'd just like to see this fleshed out a bit more before I decide how I want to rank it.

Again, thanks for the paper and the conversation so far.

K
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 06:00:18 AM »

Hey Kelly,

I am on the road right now and can certainly write more when I get back this weekend, but here are my quick comments:

1. I think that which countries we choose to include depends on how we want to cluster to topics. I think there is a great debate to be had with countries were our trade agreements are older and I also think that there is a great debate to be had with unfriendly states such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc. I also think we could pick a variety of states that represent the best of the best. I would advocate for the topic committee creations of a variety of lists and I can speak a bit more to which countries when I get home and have access to a computer.

2. Trade is not the same thing as trade liberalization. This is probably the most important point in this debate. Right now our trade relations are exploitive. We basically create the terms for trade now at the expense of our trading partners. Yes the US is the number one trading partner for many of these countries, but it because we have created a rigged game where we take the resources we want (both natural and human) and then force them to buy back the products made from those resources.

The topic would require a unilateral action on the part of the US where we would have to cede some of this advantage which means the fact that we trade now does not mean that liberalization is occurring. Even the piece of evidence from the state department (I would also caution against relying on the state department stuff too much as there is a clear bias there towards painting the US in the best light) states that Jamacia is still pushing for trade liberalization. Honestly, these nations trade with the US due to proximity, not due to a fair and open trading system.

3. Protectionism is still rampant. Even in the case of NAFTA, which is the most successful of all of our efforts to liberalize trade, there is a huge wall created of protectionist measures to ensure that US products succeed. These nations have no other choice considering how close they are to the US. They basically have to trade with us or reap the consequences Cuba style.

4. If you think about a topic like the nukes topic. We generally had less nuclear weapons than we had ever had and we had a bunch of agreements to decrease weapons, but the truth is that the resolutional mandate of a unilateral reduction created for some pretty good debates. I think there is that same sort of topic here. Just because trade occurs does not mean that trade liberalization should not also occur. As a matter of fact, the fact the trade is occurring so unfairly and unevenly is a reason why we should be liberalizing trade. The presence of trade provides significance for the aff and DA links for the negative.

Finally, I am not sure there are many topics on the slate that don't have the same concerns that you are mentioning. It seems like most of our policies are going in the same direction of the topic controversies. I think that is the nature of timely controversies - much of the time the policy direction is trendy in a certain direction. However, it is trending in that direction very poorly as is the case of Latin American trade.

Mike
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Malgor
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 04:12:32 PM »

Very much agree with the uniqueness concerns. 

As a side note, metaphorically speaking, it's arguable there is a special place in hades for groups that keep pushing for more trade liberalization, especially in latin american countries. 

Probably not a sentiment or voting priority for everyone....and maybe switch side solves it...it's more of a funny observation that we have some topics that are explicitly against market-driven societies (education, inequality, tax reform) and some that are distinctly pro market mechanism, like trade lib. 

Ethical diversity...a new ballot initiative?
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 04:57:51 PM »

Very much agree with the uniqueness concerns. 

As a side note, metaphorically speaking, it's arguable there is a special place in hades for groups that keep pushing for more trade liberalization, especially in latin american countries. 

Probably not a sentiment or voting priority for everyone....and maybe switch side solves it...it's more of a funny observation that we have some topics that are explicitly against market-driven societies (education, inequality, tax reform) and some that are distinctly pro market mechanism, like trade lib. 

Ethical diversity...a new ballot initiative?

There are certainly aspects of trade liberalization that are not morally objectionable. The problem with past trade liberalization is that we have always made it reciprocal. Unilateral trade action can be taken that could actually reverse many of the problems of our previous trade policies.

Listen if trade is inevitable as people seemed concerned about the better question might be how do we approach that trade. I would argue that unilateral liberalization is a better path than the status quo.
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 05:16:56 PM »

Also, our current trade policy is a result of corporations that beg and bribe their representatives to ensure that US markets are protected. Thus while market based approaches are prevalent either under the change proposed by the resolution or the status quo, there is a good argument to be made that this is much more ethical market approach.

It is a question of whether you side with Latin Americans asking for liberalization or the US corporations with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. If you want to debate Latin America trade is the option that is most prevalent in the literature.
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 06:07:54 PM »


And Malgor . . .

One of the potential advantage areas in your own topic paper is preventing a backlash against trade liberalization.

See you in Hades Wink
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2012, 06:17:55 PM »


And Malgor . . .

One of the potential advantage areas in your own topic paper is preventing a backlash against trade liberalization.

See you in Hades Wink

Sounds like a double-win for Humanity. (the Real Scott)
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Ermo
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2012, 09:00:45 AM »


And Malgor . . .

One of the potential advantage areas in your own topic paper is preventing a backlash against trade liberalization.

See you in Hades Wink

I suspect trade liberalization could offset many of the problems in Hades (autocratic control, lack of climate management, etc.). Perhaps sending closet neo-liberals there is a triple win. Given the numbers of deceased humans over the ages, one might assume this emerging market to be huge.
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