September 12, 2013: Trade talks heat up, while reception for Detroit's potential Chinese investors cools down

Posted by LDonia on 09/12/2013

Good morning,

It’s gonna be a hot one in DC today -- possibly one of the last dog days of 2013. But trade talk is only beginning to heat up: Doug Palmer and Eric Bradner report for Politico that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman sat down yesterday with members of the House Ways and Means Committee to talk about including a currency manipulation rule in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

That’s a big deal -- especially as a bill that would crack down on currency cheats makes its way around the House of Representatives. As of this balmy Thursday, H.R. 1276 (The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act) has 125 co-sponsors.

But will a currency rule make it into the TPP? Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Michigan) came out of the meeting urging patience and pragmatism.

“I think we came out with a commitment to work in a bipartisan way with the administration to address some of the ongoing concerns we have,” he told reporters.

Automakers in Camp’s home state, however, have been pretty clear on what they think of a currency manipulation rule in a TPP deal: It’s needed, now.

Said Bill Ford (of the eponymous motor vehicle company) back in August:

“We’re not only just getting back on our feet, but as you know, really hitting on all cylinders. We’re hiring lots of Americans for both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. But a bad trade agreement could jeopardize that, and we will not let that happen.”

Elsewhere around the web:

That’s not all of the news out of Michigan -- Gov. Rick Snyder is selling the rebirth of Detroit to Chinese investors, writes William Kazer of the Wall Street Journal. It’s not an easy sale to make.

But the plight of the nation’s 18th largest city has touched a chord in China, where there are nagging concerns over excessive spending by local governments. And the message is at least getting a hearing.

Beijing is getting serious about cutting coal pollution, writes Louise Watt for the Associated Press. China's State Council has announced it will ban new coal-fired power plants in three key industrial regions around the country in an attempt to clean up its notoriously noxious air quality.

Curious to see just how bad the air pollution is in China? There’s a verified twitter account that tracks just that.

The Manufacturing Fact train chugs on:

From the I-didn’t-know-that file comes this tidbit on additive manufacturing:

Makerbot, a product that controls over 20 percent of the market share for 3-D printers, is made in a 50,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn, New York.

Dang. It would appear that Brooklyn is the borough.

-AAM

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