Page 14 - Soundwave Magazine
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 THE ECONOMY... AT A GLANCE (CONT’D)
   measure and would be repealed as soon as governments were able to reach a multilateral agreement on tax reform. The Americans, uncon- vinced, were poised to whack duties of $2.4 billion on French champagne, beauty products and handbags.
But then on January 19th, Donald Trump, struck a temporary truce with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron. France would suspend the collection of revenues from its tech tax, and the Americans would suspend their tariff threats.
A love-in at Davos, then? Not quite. Soon after the apparent ceasefire, tensions began to rise again. The elite assembled at the Swiss resort were treated to plenty of theatrics. Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, warned the British government that its version of a digital-services tax would not escape punishment. When Sajid Javid, the British chancellor of the exchequer, informed the audience that Britain would prioritize a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) over one with America, Mr. Mnuchin seemed hurt, saying “I thought we’d go first.”
For his part Mr. Trump, fresh from agreeing to a “phase one” deal with a revised trade deal with Canada and Mexico, flexed his deal making muscle. First, he repeated an old threat to apply tariffs on imports of European cars. Then he said that he thought he could do a deal with the EU before the next presidential election in November. His administration has hobbled the dispute-settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO). But on January 22nd he held an impromptu news conference with Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s director general, promising “dramatic” action.
How to interpret all the high-altitude hot air? In truth, there are few surprises. Few watching America’s reaction to France’s digital-services tax would have expected Britain to escape Mr. Trump’s wrath. And it has been clear for some time that Britain will have to focus on establishing a new trading relationship with the EU, its largest and closest neighbor, before getting into serious talks with America.
As for the transatlantic trade relation- ship more broadly, Mr. Trump’s statements were hardly new. They will not generate anything more than a shallow trade deal with the EU—though that might suffice for Mr. Trump. Mr. Azevedo has no concessions to offer the president, as the WTO is driven by its members.
Even Mr. Trump’s truce with Mr. Macron may involve less than meets the eye. On January 22nd Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, admitted that the biggest sticking point—that America wants companies to be able to opt out of an international tax agreement—had not been addressed. The squabbling parties were due to hold more
meetings. Some still hope a deal can be forged before the end of this year, under the auspices of the OECD, a multilateral forum. If not, an almighty punch-up looms.
U.S. Grants 408,000 Guest Work Visas in 2019
LOS ANGELES. Although America’s immigration policy now seems dominated by a desire to seal the country’s southern border, Donald Trump’s administration has been sur- prisingly tolerant of a certain type of crossing. Those by legal, temporary migrants—or guest workers—in search of low-wage work have risen dramatically over the past decade.
The government granted 408,000 visas for guest workers in 2019, up from 103,000 in 2010. This growth began well before the start of Donald Trump’s term but has recently come back into focus. If a proposed rule- change takes effect, guest workers could become an even larger source of labor in low-wage industries.
Part of this expansion stems from America’s strong economy. There are jobs available for people who want them. The problem is that many peo- ple do not. In industries such as agri- culture, many employers say they cannot find workers willing or able to fill low-wage jobs.
Guest workers fill this chasm. The program offers two types of visa. Seasonal farm workers get the H-2A. There is no limit on their
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