is taken from the Wall Street Journal written about nine months ago and sits behind a a paywall, so I decided to copy and paste it here. This article explains Trump's policies toward global trade and what has actually happened so far. I think the article does a decent job of explaining the Trade War. While alot has happenedsince the article was written, I still think its relevant.
However, what is lacking in the article, like many articles on the trade war, is it doesn't really explain the history of US trade policy, the laws that the US administration is using to place tariffs on China and the official justification for the US President in enacting tariffs against China. In my analysis I will cover those points.
When Trump entered the White House people feared he would dismantle the global system the US and its allies had built over the last 75 years, but he hasn't. He has realign into two systems. One between the US and its allies which looks similar to the one built since the 1980s with a few of quota and tariffs. As the article points out
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos. Furthermore, the article points out Douglas Irwin, an economist and trade historian at Dartmouth College, calls these results the “status quo with Trumpian tweaks: a little more managed trade sprinkled about for favored industries. It’s not good, but it’s not the destruction of the system.” Mr. Trump’s actions so far affect only 12% of U.S. imports, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In 1984, 21% of imports were covered by similar restraints, many imposed by Mr. Reagan, such as on cars, steel, motorcycles and clothing. Protectionist instincts go so far in the US, there are strong lobby groups for both protectionist and freetrade in the US.
The second reflects a emerging rivalry between the US and China. Undo some of the integration that followed China accession to the WTO. Two questions 1) How far is the US willing to decouple with China 2) Can it persuade allies to join.
The second is going to be difficult because China's economic ties are greater than they were between the Soviets, and China isn't waging an ideological struggle. Trump lacks Reagan commitment to alliance and free trade. The status quo with China is crumbling Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska, personifies these broader forces reshaping the U.S. approach to the world. When Mr. Xi visited the U.S. in 2015, Mr. Sullivan urged his colleagues to pay more attention to China’s rise. On the Senate floor, he quoted the political scientist Graham Allison: “War between the U.S. and China is more likely than recognized at the moment.” Last spring, Mr. Sullivan went to China and met officials including Vice President Wang Qishan. They seemed to think tensions with the U.S. will fade after Mr. Trump leaves the scene, Mr. Sullivan recalled. “I just said, ‘You are completely misreading this.’” The mistrust, he told them, is bipartisan, and will outlast Mr. Trump. both Bush II and Obama tried to change dialogue and engagement, but by the end of his term, Obama was questioning the approach. Trump has declared engagement. “We don’t like it when our allies steal our ideas either, but it’s a much less dangerous situation,” said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute whose views align with the administration’s more hawkish officials. “We’re not worried about the war-fighting capability of Japan and Korea because they’re our friends.”
The article also points out unlike George Kennan in 1946 who made a case for containing the Soviet Union, the US hasn't explicitly made a case for containing the Soviets, Trump's administration hasn't, because as the the article explains its divided Michael Pillsbury a Hudson Institute scholar close to the Trump team, see 3 scenarios
- New Cold War with drastically reduced economic ties
- China resolve their tensions, integrate and run the world together
- Transactional US-China relationship of the sort during the 1980s
Pillsbury thinks the third is most likely to happen, even though the administration hasn't said that it has adopted that policy. The US is stepping efforts to draw in other trading partners. The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO effort to crack down on domestic subsidies and technology transfers requirement. US and Domestic concerns with prompted some countries to restrict Huawei. The US is also seeking to walloff China from other trade deals. However, there are risk with this strategy
- Other countries like Japan and South Korea to dependent on China. Too integrated.
- Raise objections to Belt and Road. But no alternative
- The administration is not up to the task
My main criticism of this article is it tries like the vast majority of articles to fit US trade actions in the larger context of US geopolitical strategy. Even the author isn't certain "The first goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s goal. If his aim is to hold back China’s advance, economists predict he will fail.". If you try to treat the trade "war" and US geopolitical strategy toward China as one, you will find yourself quickly frustrated and confused. If you treat them separately with their different set of stakeholders and histories, were they intersect with regards to China, but diverge. During the Cold War, trade policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc was subordinated to geopolitical concerns. For Trump, the trade issues are more important than geopolitical strategy. His protectionist trade rhetoric has been fairly consistent since 1980s. In his administration, the top cabinet members holding economic portfolios, those of Commerce, Treasury and US Trade Representative are the same people he picked when he first took office. The Director of the Economic Council has changed hands once, its role isn't as important as the National Security Advisor. While State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor have changed hands at least once. Only the Director of National Intelligence hasn't changed.
International Trade makes up 1/4 of the US economy, and like national security its primarily the responsibility of the Federal government. States in the US don't implement their own tariffs. If you add the impact of Treasury policy and how it relates to capital flows in and out of the US, the amounts easily exceed the size of the US economy. Furthermore, because of US Dollar role as the reserve currency and US control of over global system the impact of Treasury are global. Trade policy and investment flows runs through two federal departments Commerce and Treasury and for trade also USTR. Defense spending makes up 3.3% of GDP, and if you add in related homeland security its at most 4%. Why would anyone assume that these two realms be integrated let alone trade policy subordinate to whims of a national security bureaucracy in most instances? With North Korea or Iran, trade and investment subordinate themselves to national security, because to Treasury and Commerce bureaucrats and their affiliated interest groups, Iran and the DPRK are well, economic midgets, but China is a different matter.
The analysis will be divided into four sections. The first will be to provide a brief overview of US trade policy since 1914. The second section will discuss why the US is going after China on trade issues, and why the US has resorted using a bilateral approach as opposed to going through the WTO. The third section we will talk about how relations with China is hashed out in the US.
The reason why I submitted this article, because there aren't many post trying to explain US-China Trade War from a trade perspective. Here is a post titled "What is the Reasons for America's Trade War with China
, and not one person mentioned Article 301 or China's WTO Commitments. You get numerous post saying that Huawei is at heart of the trade war. Its fine, but if you don't know what was inside the USTR Investigative report that lead to the tariffs. its like skipping dinner and only having dessert When the US President, Donald J Trump, says he wants to negotiate a better trade deal with other countries, and has been going on about for the last 35 years, longer than many of you have been alive, why do people think that the key issues with China aren't primarily about trade at the moment.
OVERVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE ORIENTATION
Before 1940s, the US could be categorized as a free market protectionist economy. For many this may seem like oxymoron, how can an economy be free market and protectionist? In 1913, government spending made up about 7.5% of US GDP, in the UK it was 13%, and for Germany 18% (Public Spending in the 20th Century A Global Perspective: Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi - 2000). UK had virtual zero tariffs, while for manufactured goods in France it was 20%, 13% Germany, 9% Belgium and 4% Netherlands. For raw materials and agricultural products, it was almost zero. In contrast, for the likes of United States, Russia and Japan it was 44%, 84% and 30% respectively. Even though in 1900 United States was an economic powerhouse along with Germany, manufactured exports only made up 30% of exports, and the US government saw tariffs as exclusively a domestic policy matter and didn't see tariffs as something to be negotiated with other nations. The US didn't have the large constituency to push the government for lower tariffs abroad for their exports like in Britain in the 1830-40s (Reluctant Partners: A History of Multilateral Trade Cooperation, 1850-2000).
The Underwood Tariffs Act of 1913 which legislated the income tax, dropped the tariffs to 1850 levels levels.Until 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 making income tax legal, all US federal revenue came from excise and tariffs
. In contrast before 1914, about 50% of UK revenue came from income taxes. The reason for US reluctance to introduced income tax was ideological and the United State's relative weak government compared to those in Europe. After the First World War, the US introduced the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921, than the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 followed by a Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. Contrary to popular opinion, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 had a small negative impact on the economy, since imports and exports played a small part of the US economy, and the tariffs were
lower than the average that existed from 1850-1914.
Immediately after the Second World War, when the US economy was the only industrialized economy left standing, the economic focus was on rehabilitation and monetary stability. There was no grandiose and ideological design. Bretton Woods system linked the US dollar to gold to create monetary stability, and to avoid competitive devaluation and tariffs that plagued the world economy after Britain took itself off the gold in 1931. The US$ was the natural choice, because in 1944 2/3 of the world's gold was in the US. One reason why the Marshall Plan was created was to alleviate the chronic deficits Europeans countries had with the US between 1945-50. It was to rebuild their economies so they could start exports good to the US. Even before it was full implemented in 1959, it was already facing problems, the trade surpluses that the US was running in the 1940s, turned to deficits as European and Japanese economies recovered. By 1959, Federal Reserves foreign liabilities had already exceeded its gold reserves. There were fears of a run on the US gold supply and arbitrage.
A secondary policy of the Bretton woods system was curbs on capital outflows to reduce speculation on currency pegs, and this had a negative impact on foreign investment until it was abandoned in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s, where foreign investment recovered to levels prior to 1914. Factoring out the big spike in global oil prices as a result of the OPEC cartel, it most likely wasn't until the mid-1990s that exports as a % of GDP had reached 1914 levels
Until the 1980s, the US record regarding free trade and markets was mediocre. The impetus to remove trade barriers in Europe after the Second World War was driven by the Europeans themselves. The EEC already had a custom union in 1968, Canada and the US have yet to even discuss implementing one. Even with Canada it took the US over 50 years to get a Free Trade Agreement.
NAFTA was inspired by the success of the EEC. NAFTA was very much an elite driven project. If the Americans put the NAFTA to a referendum like the British did with the EEC in the seventies, it most likely wouldn't pass. People often look at segregation in the US South as a political issue, but it was economic issue as well. How could the US preach free trade, when it didn't have free trade in its own country. Segregation was a internal non-tariff barrier. In the first election after the end of the Cold War in 1992, Ross Perot' based most of independent run for the Presidency on opposition to NAFTA. He won 19% of the vote. Like Ross Perot before him, Donald Trump is not the exception in how America has handled tariffs since the founding of the Republic, but more the norm.
The embrace of free trade by the business and political elite can be attributed to two events. After the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, a strong vested interest in the US in the form of multinationals and Wall Street emerged advocating for removal of tariffs and more importantly the removal of restrictions on free flow of capital, whether direct foreign investment in portfolio investment. However, the political class embrace of free trade and capital only really took off after the collapse of the Soviet Union propelled by Cold War triumphalism.
As mentioned by the article, the US is reverting back to a pre-WTO relations with China. As Robert Lighthizer
said in speech in 2000
I guess my prescription, really, is to move back to more of a negotiating kind of a settlement. Return to WTO and what it really was meant to be. Something where you have somebody make a decision but have it not be binding.
The US is using financial and legal instruments developed during the Cold War like its extradition treaties (with Canada and Europe), and Section 301. Here is a very good recent article about enforcement commitment that China will make.‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms NOTE:
It is very difficult to talk about US-China trade war without a basic knowledge of global economic history since 1914. What a lot of people do is politicize or subordinate the economic history to the political. Some commentators think US power was just handed to them after the Second World War, when the US was the only industrialized economy left standing. The dominant position of the US was temporary and in reality its like having 10 tonnes of Gold sitting in your house, it doesn't automatically translate to influence. The US from 1945-1989 was slowly and gradually build her influence in the non-Communist world. For example, US influence in Canada in the 1960s wasn't as strong as it is now. Only 50% of Canadian exports went to the US in 1960s vs 80% at the present moment.
BASIS OF THE US TRADE DISCUSSION WITH CHINA
According to preliminary agreement between China and the US based on unnamed sources in the Wall Street Journal article US, China close in on Trade Deal
. In this article it divides the deal in two sections. The first aspects have largely to do with deficits and is political.
As part of a deal, China is pledging to help level the playing field, including speeding up the timetable for removing foreign-ownership limitations on car ventures and reducing tariffs on imported vehicles to below the current auto tariff of 15%. Beijing would also step up purchases of U.S. goods—a tactic designed to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.
The second part will involve the following.
- Commitment Regarding Industrial Policy
- Provisions to protect IP
- Mechanism which complaints by US companies can be addressed
- Bilateral meetings adjudicate disputes. If talks don't produce agreement than US can raise tariffs unilaterally
This grouping of conditions is similar to the points filled under the 301 investigation which serve the basis for initiating the tariffs. I have been reading some sources that say this discussion on this second group of broader issues could only be finalized later
The official justifications for placing the tariffs on Chinese goods is found under the March 2018 investigation submitted by the office of the President to Congress titled FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO CHINA’S ACTS, POLICIES, AND PRACTICES RELATED TO TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AND INNOVATION UNDER SECTION 301 OF THE TRADE ACT OF 1974
. From this investigation the United States Trade Representative (USTR) place US Tariffs on Chinese goods as per Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974
. Here is a press release by the USTR listing the reasons for placing tariffs
, and the key section from the press release. Specifically, the Section 301 investigation revealed:
- China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
- China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
- China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer.
- China conducts and supports cyber intrusions into U.S. commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information.
In the bigger context of trade relations between US and China, China is not honoring its WTO commitments, and the USTR issued its yearly report to Congress in early February about the status of China compliance with its WTO commitments.
The points that served as a basis for applying Section 301, also deviate from her commitments as Clinton's Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky paving the way for a trade war.
Barshefsky argues that China's back sliding was happening as early as 2006-07, and believes the trade war could have been avoided has those commitments been enforced by previous administrations.
I will provide a brief overview of WTO membership and China's process of getting into the WTO.
WTO members can be divided into two groups, first are countries that joined in 1995-97, and were members of GATT, than there are the second group that joined after 1997. China joined in 2001. There is an argument that when China joined in 2001, she faced more stringent conditions than other developing countries that joined before, because the vast majority of developing countries were members of GATT, and were admitted to the WTO based on that previous membership in GATT. Here is Brookings Institute article published in 2001 titled "Issues in China’s WTO Accession"
This question is all the more puzzling because the scope and depth of demands placed on entrants into the formal international trading system have increased substantially since the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994, which expanded the agenda considerably by covering many services, agriculture, intellectual property, and certain aspects of foreign direct investment. Since 1994, the international community has added agreements covering information technology, basic telecommunications services, and financial services. WTO membership now entails liberalization of a much broader range of domestic economic activity, including areas that traditionally have been regarded by most countries as among the most sensitive, than was required of countries entering the WTO’s predecessor organization the GATT.
The terms of China’s protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization reflect the developments just described and more. China’s market access commitments are much more far-reaching than those that governed the accession of countries only a decade ago. And, as a condition for membership, China was required to make protocol commitments that substantially exceed those made by any other member of the World Trade Organization, including those that have joined since 1995. The broader and deeper commitments China has made inevitably will entail substantial short-term economic costs.
What are the WTO commitments Barshefsky goes on about? When countries join the WTO, particularly those countries that weren't members of GATT and joined after 1997, they have to work toward fulfilling certain commitments. There are 4 key documents when countries make an accession to WTO membership, the working party report, the accession protocol paper, the goods schedule and service schedule.
In the working party report as part of the conclusion which specifies the commitment of each member country what they will do in areas that aren't compliant with WTO regulations on the date they joined. The problem there is no good enforcement mechanism for other members to force China to comply with these commitments. And WTO punishments are weak.
Here is the commitment paragraph for China
"The Working Party took note of the explanations and statements of China concerning its foreign trade regime, as reflected in this Report. The Working Party took note of the commitments given by China in relation to certain specific matters which are reproduced in paragraphs 18-19, 22-23, 35-36, 40, 42, 46-47, 49, 60, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73, 75, 78-79, 83-84, 86, 91-93, 96, 100-103, 107, 111, 115-117, 119-120, 122-123, 126-132, 136, 138, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152, 154, 157, 162, 165, 167-168, 170-174, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-185, 187, 190-197, 199-200, 203-207, 210, 212-213, 215, 217, 222-223, 225, 227-228, 231-235, 238, 240-242, 252, 256, 259, 263, 265, 270, 275, 284, 286, 288, 291, 292, 296, 299, 302, 304-305, 307-310, 312-318, 320, 322, 331-334, 336, 339 and 341 of this Report and noted that these commitments are incorporated in paragraph 1.2 of the Draft Protocol. " This is a tool by the WTO that list all the WTO commitment of each country
in the working paper. In the goods and service schedule they have commitments for particular sectors. Here is the a press release by the WTO in September 2001, after successfully concluding talks for accession
, and brief summary of key areas in which China hasn't fulfilled her commitments
. Most of the commitments made by China were made to address its legacy as a non-market economy and involvement of state owned enterprises. In my opinion, I think the US government and investors grew increasingly frustrated with China, after 2007 not just because of China's back sliding, but relative to other countries who joined after 1997 like Vietnam, another non-market Leninist dictatorship. When comparing China's commitments to the WTO its best to compare her progress with those that joined after 1997, which were mostly ex-Soviet Republics. NOTE:
The Chinese media have for two decades compared any time the US has talked about China's currency manipulation or any other issue as a pretext for imposing tariffs on China to the Plaza Accords. I am very sure people will raise it here. My criticism of this view is fourfold. First, the US targeted not just Japan, but France, Britain and the UK as well. Secondly, the causes of the Japan lost decade were due largely to internal factors
. Thirdly, Japan, UK, Britain and France in the 1980s, the Yuan isn't undervalued today. Lastly, in the USTR investigation, its China's practices that are the concern, not so much the trade deficit.
REASONS FOR TRUMPS UNILATERAL APPROACH
I feel that people shouldn't dismiss Trump's unilateral approach toward China for several reasons.
To his credit, Trump has said his aim was not to overthrow authoritarian governments, and that even applies to the likes of Iran.
- The multilateral approach won't work in many issues such as the trade deficit, commercial espionage and intellectual property, because US and her allies have different interest with regard to these issues. Germany and Japan and trade surpluses with China, while the US runs a deficit. In order to reach a consensus means the West has to compromise among themselves, and the end result if the type of toothless resolutions you commonly find in ASEAN regarding the SCS. Does America want to "compromise" its interest to appease a politician like Justin Trudeau? Not to mention opposition from domestic interest. TPP was opposed by both Clinton and Trump during the election.
- You can't launch a geopolitical front against China using a newly formed trade block like the TPP. Some of the existing TPP members are in economic groups with China, like Malaysia and Australia.
- China has joined a multitude of international bodies, and at least in trade, these bodies haven't changed its behavior.
- Dealing with China, its a no win situation whether you use a tough multilateral / unilateral approach. If the US endorse a tough unilateral approach gives the impression that the US is acting like the British during the Opium War. If you take a concerted Western approach you are accused of acting like the 8 Powers Alliance in 1900.
- Trump was elected to deal with China which he and his supporters believe was responsible for the loss of millions manufacturing jobs when China joined the WTO in 2001. It is estimate the US lost 6 Million jobs, about 1/4 of US manufacturing Jobs. This has been subsequently advanced by some economists. The ball got rolling when Bill Clinton decided to grant China Most Favored Nation status in 1999, just a decade after Tiananmen.
- China hasn't dealt with issues like IP protection, market access, subsidies to state own companies and state funded industrial spying.
The Arab spring scared Russia and China, because the US for a brief moment placed the spread of democracy over its security interest.
UNDERSTANDING HOW THE US MAKES DECISIONS REGARDING CHINA At this moment, China or the trade war isn't an area of great concern for the American public, among international issues it ranks lower than international terrorism, North Korea and Iran's nuclear program.
According to the survey, 39 percent of the country views China’s growing power as a “critical threat” to Americans. That ranked it only eighth among 12 potential threats listed and placed China well behind the perceived threats from international terrorism (66 percent), North Korea’s nuclear program (59 percent) and Iran’s nuclear program (52 percent). It’s also considerably lower than when the same question was asked during the 1990s, when more than half of those polled listed China as a critical threat. That broadly tracks with a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that found concern about U.S.-China economic issues had decreased since 2012.
In looking at how US conducts relations foreign policy with China, we should look at it from the three areas of most concern - economic, national security and ideology. Each sphere has their interest groups, and sometimes groups can occupy two spheres at once. Security experts are concerned with some aspects of China's economic actions like IP theft and industrial policy (China 2025), because they are related to security. In these sphere there are your hawks and dove. And each sphere is dominated by certain interest groups. That is why US policy toward China can often appear contradictory. You have Trump want to reduce the trade deficit, but security experts advocating for restrictions on dual use technology who are buttressed by people who want export restrictions on China, as a way of getting market access.
Right now the economic concerns are most dominant, and the hawks seem to dominate. The economic hawks traditionally have been domestic manufacturing companies and economic nationalist. In reality the hawks aren't dominant, but the groups like US Companies with large investment in China and Wall Street are no longer defending China, and some have turned hawkish against China. These US companies are the main conduit in which China's lobby Congress, since China only spends 50% of what Taiwan spends lobbying Congress. THE ANGLO SAXON WORLD AND CHINA
I don't think many Chinese even those that speak English, have a good understanding Anglo-Saxon society mindset. Anglo Saxons countries, whether US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are commerce driven society governed by sanctity of contracts. The English great philosophical contributions to Western philosophy have primarily to do with economics and politics like Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. This contrast with the French and Germans. Politics in the UK and to a lesser extent the US, is centered around economics, while in Mainland Europe its religion. When the Americans revolted against the British Empire in 1776, the initial source of the grievances were taxes.
Outside of East Asia, the rest of the World's relationship with China was largely commercial, and for United States, being an Anglosaxon country, even more so. In Southeast Asia, Chinese aren't known for high culture, but for trade and commerce. Outside Vietnam, most of Chinese loans words in Southeast Asian languages involve either food or money. The influence is akin to Yiddish in English.
Some people point to the Mao and Nixon meeting as great strategic breakthrough and symbol of what great power politics should look like. The reality is that the Mao-Nixon meeting was an anomaly in the long history of relations with China and the West. Much of China-Western relations over the last 500 years was conducted by multitudes of nameless Chinese and Western traders. The period from 1949-1979 was the only period were strategic concerns triumphed trade, because China had little to offer except instability and revolution. Even in this period, China's attempt to spread revolution in Southeast Asia was a threat to Western investments and corporate interest in the region. During the nadir of both the Qing Dynasty and Republican period, China was still engaged in its traditional commercial role. Throughout much of history of their relations with China, the goals of Britain and the United States were primarily economic, IMAGINE JUST 10% OF CHINA BOUGHT MY PRODUCT
From the beginning, the allure of China to Western businesses and traders has been its sheer size I. One of the points that the USTR mentions is lack of market access for US companies operating in China, while Chinese companies face much less restrictions operating in the US.
- China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
- China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
This is supported by remarks by Henry Paulson
and Charlene Barshefsky
. As Paulson remarked
Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box.
So while many attribute this shift to the Trump Administration, I do not. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed—by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to the United States but as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the US-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure:
In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined the WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic and even opponent of past US policies toward China. American business doesn’t want a tariff war but it does want a more aggressive approach from our government. How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation? The answer lies in the story of stalled competition policy, and the slow pace of opening, over nearly two decades. This has discouraged and fragmented the American business community. And it has reinforced the negative attitudinal shift among our political and expert classes. In short, even though many American businesses continue to prosper in China, a growing number of firms have given up hope that the playing field will ever be level. Some have accepted the Faustian bargain of maximizing today’s earnings per share while operating under restrictions that jeopardize their future competitiveness. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. Nor does it mean they aren’t acutely aware of the risks — or thinking harder than ever before about how to diversify their risks away from, and beyond, China.
What is interesting about Paulson's speech is he spend only one sentence about displaced US workers, and a whole paragraph about US business operating in China. While Kissinger writes books about China, how much does he contribute to both Democrats and the Republicans during the election cycle? China is increasingly makING it more difficult for US companies operating and those exporting products to China.
kshay Kumar, 25, knew his journey would be tough. But he thought he was prepared.
Kshay Kumar, 25岁，他知道自己的旅途会很艰难，但他认为他已经做好了准备。
In 2012, after an engineering degree and a oneyear stint with a multinational, Kumar felt he needed a makeover. "I didn't want to be stuck with civil engineering all my life. I also wanted to see the world and explore new options," he recalls. Doing an MBA from a premier institute was on his mind.
He did think of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Xavier School of Management, but the desire for global exposure pushed him to explore options overseas. Kumar settled for a oneyear post-graduate course at the Imperial University in the UK, which he financed via an education loan. "Visa rules and the bleak job market there did weigh on my mind. But I had a feeling I could manage it," he says. He had confidence in Imperial's good global ranking, its alumni network and his own hard work.
Kumar began his hunt for a job virtually from the day he landed in the UK. He studied hard to get good grades but worked even harder to find a good job. By tapping into networks of his alumni, friends and family, Kumar reckons he would have reached out to over 200 firms during that year. "It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Kumar moved back to India late last year and has just landed a job with a private equity firm. "All my plans have been delayed by five years," he says. Close to half his salary today goes in paying monthly instalments on his education loan.
The World isn't Flat
The West has a problem. Its economy is in a funk, not enough jobs are being created, cautious companies aren't hiring too many, and worried governments — from the US to the UK — are raising visa barriers for foreigners to work in their countries.
Young Indians, who went overseas for education, are facing a tough time finding a job. Many like Kumar have returned home. And some are now casting the net wider — looking for jobs from the US to Hong Kong and Singapore — or settling for sub-optimal options. Rupa Chanda, professor, IIM-Bangalore, who has worked on reports on international student mobility, says visa and immigration is the biggest factor affecting Indian students' decisions.
The US, the UK and Australia — the three most popular destinations for Indians seeking global education — have seen the number of Indian students come down over the past few years (see Out of Favour?). Remember, many Indian students take hefty education loans to finance their studies abroad. While many would find decent jobs back in India that would not help much as these students need dollar salaries to comfortably service their loan. This is taking its toll. "Overseas education is costly. Many Indian students are doing a cost-benefit analysis to figure how to recoup their investments overseas and putting off their plans ," explains New York-based Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer, World Education Services (WES), a non-profit organization that provides credential evaluations for international students planning to study or work in the US and Canada.
美国、英国、澳大利亚，印度人寻求全球教育的最火的三大目的地，已经发现印度学生数量在过去几年持续下降（或者三大目的地已经不受青睐？）。记住，许多印度学生都背负着高额的教育贷款来资助他们的海外求学。虽然回到印度他们都能找到体面的工作，但是这些都没有太大的帮助，因为学生们需要一份用美元支付的薪水来帮助他们更轻松的偿还贷款。这就是造成的影响。“海外教育非常昂贵，许多印度学生都正在进行成本效益分析，以找出如何收回其海外投资，推迟他们（去海外就读）的计划，” 坐落于纽约的世界教育服务中心的知识总监Rahul Choudaha解释道。 这一非营利性组织为准备在美国和加拿大学习或工作的国际学生提供认证评估。
But to be fully able to understand how this trend will play out, one must understand the backdrop. A big generational shift is taking place among the students looking for overseas education. Many of them now are India's liberalization children, who have grown up post-1991 and lived in an increasingly global world with fewer barriers.
So in many ways this is their first brush with a world with barriers. Many are also children of globetrotting well-paid senior corporate executives who think differently about education, exposure and investing in a world-class education. "These parents understand the long-term rewards of a world-class education. I see many of my friends taking their children to these top campuses after they pass out from school to give them a first-hand feel," says Hema Ravichandar, strategic HR expert and a former HR head of Infosys.
所以从许多方面来说，这是他们第一次面对来自世界的阻碍。他们中也有许多是环游世界的、对教育、经历以及投资世界级教育有着不同看法的高薪企业的高管们的小孩。 “这些父母明白世界一流教育的长期回报。我看到我的许多朋友带着他们的小孩去顶尖的校园，让小孩们领略这些高等学府给他们的切身感受，”战略人力资源管理专家、Infosys 公司前人力资源主管 Hema Ravichandar说道。
Woes on Foreign Shores
Both of Ravichandar's children have studied overseas. Her daughter, Aditi, is doing her MBA from Wharton in the US and her son Nikhil, 22, completed his Bachelor's in economics from Warwick in the UK. Nikhil chose the UK over India because of the flexibility available in picking courses — he wanted to do economics with law which was impossible in India with its rigid course structures. "Education in India is not very research-driven and multicultural," he adds.
But during his stay there, the UK revoked the two-year work permit for foreign graduates. Thus he needed a firm job offer to stay on after graduation. This was difficult since he was particular about the kind of work. "I wanted a job in economic consulting," he says. Unable to get that he preferred to do a postgraduate programme instead. While he did not take any loan, for many of his classmates, who had taken a hefty education loan, things were difficult.
Now, Nikhil is back in India getting some interesting exposure at a few start-ups in Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley. He is contemplating a startup of his own. "This is the best time to take the risk and explore it," he says.
现在 Nikhil 已经回到了印度并且在印度的硅谷，班加罗尔与一些新兴企业进行了接触。他正在考虑自己创办一个公司。“这是最好的冒险和探索的时候”他说。
Across the Atlantic, Sujoyini Mandal, in her 20s, offers another peek into the odds that Indian students face overseas. After her graduation from Jadavpur University, Mandal went to Singapore for her postgrad and worked with a think-tank there. Life was good but since she had always yearned for a degree from a world-class university, she applied for a Master's at Harvard's Kennedy School.
For two years, she deferred her admission as she did not get any financial aid. She saved some money and, with a bit of aid, finally took the plunge in 2011. Foreign students in her college face an education loan cap of $30,000 ($15,000 a year), she says, making things even more difficult Mandal started looking for a job when she graduated in May 2013. But mandates that fitted her needs and aspirations were not easy to come by. She did land a contract with the World Bank but that was short term, uncertain and had no medical cover. Last month Mandal finally landed a job with an investment bank.
Despite such struggles, there are many reasons why the pursuit of overseas education among young Indians is unlikely to die down any time soon.
The Demographic Bulge
Every year, around 800,000 Indian students reportedly go overseas for their education. This costs the country close to $15 billion of forex annually, estimates industry lobby Assocham. If students are going overseas for education, it's because India has a problem of both capacity and quality. The country has one of the world's largest education infrastructures: 600 universities and 34,000 colleges with 17 million students enrolled and 5 million students graduating every year. But India is also witnessing a demographic bulge — it has perhaps the world's largest young population. Experts estimate that some 100-million-odd students will seek higher education over the next decade.
据报道,每年大约有800000名印度学生出国留学,，据印度工商业联合会估计这将耗费每年近150亿美元的外汇。学生们出国留学是因为印度不管是在教育容量还是教育质量上都有问题。印度的教育基础设施是世界上最大的教育设施之一，600所大学和34,000学院每年接受1700多万新生并输出500多万毕业生，但是我们也正见证着印度人口的爆炸性增长，印度或许有着世界上最庞大的年轻人群，专家估计在未来十年里，将有一亿多的学生寻求更高的教育。The capacity problem is compounded by the quality issue. About 70% of the capacity in India is of poor standards. At the other end of the spectrum, competitive intensity at the premier colleges is so stiff that it is often easier for bright students to get admission in Ivy League colleges in the US and the UK than in the IITs, IIMs and even top colleges in Delhi University.
All this coincides with the rise of India's aspirational upper middle class. Over the past two decades, many first-generation Indians have risen up the corporate hierarchy and are financially well-off. These welltravelled, financially stable corporate executives desire the best for their children. "They are looking for the best educational experience. They know it is a life-long asset. Indian premier colleges do not have the capacity and are very rigid," says TV Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education. Pai's son studied at Stanford University in the US and now works for a start-up in Silicon Valley.
这些现象与印度上层中产阶级不断上涨的雄心壮志密切相关。在过去的二十几年里，许多第一代移民创立了自己的事业，相当富裕。这些经济稳定，见多识广的公司高管希望把最好的东西给予他们的子女。Manipal全球教育主席 Mohandas Pai说他们在为孩子寻找一流的教育，这是孩子一生的财富，印度的一流大学不能给予这些而且这些大学要求过于死板。他的孩子曾在美国斯坦福大学学习，现在在硅谷工作。
This aligns well with the global trend of rising international mobility of students. According to Institute of International Education (IIE), since 2000, the number of students leaving home in pursuit of higher education has increased by 65%, totalling about 4.3 million students globally. What is more interesting is that the share of students from the developing countries in this pie is rising — it moved up from 54.8% to 69% between 1999 and 2009.
India vs China
Not surprisingly, the world's two most populous and powerful emerging countries — China and India — send the largest number of students overseas. But China has rapidly shifted gears to overtake India.
Consider what's taking place in the US. In 2000-01, India topped the list of international students by country, with 66,836 against China's 63,211. But by 2009-10 China had overtaken India. In 2012-13, China sent 236,000 students; India was nudging the 97,000 mark. While the number of Chinese students has been growing in double digits of late, that of Indian students has been sliding. To understand why that is happening, it is important to analyze the profile of students going overseas from both the countries. 2000-2001年，美国的外国留学生中印度学生是最多的，66836人，而中国学生为63211人。但是在2009-2010年时，中国超越了印度。2012-2013年，中国向美国派遣的留学生
Chinese students going to the US are evenly split between undergraduate (40%) and postgraduate programmes (44%). But Indian students are heavily skewed towards postgraduate programmes (55%) with just 13% at the undergraduate level. Indian students are also unique as over 60% are in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) category. Bear in mind that historically, postgraduate and STEM programmes offer more financial support than undergraduate and non-STEM programmes.
"The decline in Indian students is directly related to the 'Strivers' , who have been putting their plans on hold due to increasing cost of studying abroad which in turn was triggered by economic uncertainty and currency devaluation," says Choudaha.
A majority of Indian students arrives at the Master's level and funds education by taking loans as financial aid from colleges has dried up. So, while the majority of Indian students go for education loans, Chinese students are supported by their families. According to a research by WES, 47% of Indian respondents report loans as one of the primary sources of funding as compared with only 3% of Chinese.
Chinese students, in contrast, are "explorers" (experience seekers), says Choudaha. Often the only-child of financially well-off parents, they have the financial wherewithal to study abroad and are under less pressure to find a job there. But change may be afoot. Some Indian students could make the transition from 'strivers' to 'explorers' and Choudaha expects more and more Indian students — most of them children of well-off senior executives — to go overseas at the undergraduate level. Not so dependent on financial aid, he also sees many more Indians exploring new interdisciplinary fields, beyond STEM. Even in the STEM category, experts feel that Indian students will be the biggest beneficiary as the Obama government eases rules for this critical segment in future.
Lessons from China
Two decades back, China faced problems similar to those India faces today — its higher education had both capacity and quality issues. Since then China has worked hard to upgrade its educational institutions. It has two programmes — Project 211 and Project 985. The former aims to make 100 Chinese universities world class in the 21st century; this will help China churn out world-class trained professionals to push economic growth. These universities are expected to set national standards for education quality that can be replicated by others.
Project 985 started more than a decade back and is an attempt to build China's own Ivy League colleges in the 21st century. In the first phase the project included nine universities. The second phase, launched in 2004, includes 40-odd universities. The projects have been backed by significant investments. According to a New York Times report, China is investing $250 billion a year in human capital.
The dragon country's efforts are now bearing fruit. Many Chinese universities are climbing up the global ranks. Two Chinese universities have made it to the top global 50 in the Times Higher Education report. India has none. In the top 500, 16 Chinese universities make the cut against seven from India. Mobile international students are taking note. A decade back, China was hardly on anybody's radar.
Today, it is the third largest education hub in the world after the US and the UK with 3.28 lakh international students, according to IIE. By 2020, it hopes to host 500,000 international students. Even Singapore is targeting 1.5 lakh foreign students by 2015. In contrast, India was home to just 27,000 international students in 2012. China is aware that to push innovation and realize its economic ambitions, it must be able to attract top talent — in its colleges and workforce.
Also, in virtually every key statistic, the world today is seeing a shift from the West to the East. From economic GDP to consumption power, MNCs across the board are looking at Asia and the world's two most populous nations. This shift is happening demographically too. But in the education space, the West still dominates.
Of the world's top 100 universities, 46 are in the US. Seven of top 10 universities are in the US. Asia has just 11 in the top 100. "It is difficult to replicate what US has done with its universities to 2emerge as an innovation hub," says Pai. So, ambitious and aspirational Indians will continue to look overseas for education. But if India has to realize its potential, it must invest heavily in building world-class institutions in the country — the China way.
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Skhey Mobile (Gurgaon) 22 Hours ago Foreign degree is no more a guarantee card for success.
Neil M (pune-mumbai) 22 Hours ago Finding a good university and a good course is important. I know many guys select short courses which are not recognized world wide and specially in India find it difficult to get a job. Also, dream america is not true for everyone. All the best to seekers.
Rajesh Thambala (Hyderabad, India) 23 Hours ago Very informative article.
Partha (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Nice Article. Much Appreciated
SAMAD (India) 1 Day ago right choice....
Tempcool Mukhopadhyay (India) 1 Day ago An excellent article. Appropriate and very well timed. Issue lies with inadequate job creation in India compared to passing out rate and all sorts of reservation quota for the "privileged" groups. Also unscrupulous marketing by planting misleading information by the education institutes of developed countries and their Indian agents.
Guramandeep Singh (Mexico) 1 Day ago 67 years after Independence, we are still stuck to providing reservation quotas in institutes of higher education. The recent Supreme Court order puts 27% reservation for OBCs which along with that of SCs and STs brings the total reservation to 49.5%. Here is the breakup of IIM-A seats: General 182 Non creamy OBC 104 ---- Schedule caste 58 ---- Schedule tribe 29 ---- Differently-abled 12 ---- Total 385 --- I have read various comments touching upon patriotism towards India to youngsters being crazy and the need to enlighten them. Reservation for a certain group is discrimination against the other groups. So ask yourself, is our system really fair? Should we not be looking at this objectively and trying to solve the root cause of the problem instead of commenting upon the phenomenon which is a result of a messed up education system at the behest of corrupt politicians?
ILA (Chennai) replies to Guramandeep Singh 1 Day ago Dear Learned Singh. This article has nothing to do with reservation. Reservation is about affirmative action (in US parlance). Trying to give some sort of equal opportunity to people (98%) who were subjugated, denied education, and exploited by so called Forward Castes in India who constitute only 2% of the total population for millenium. This reservation is in vogue for only 60 years how can this equation be achieved in such a short span of time. Now the Forward Castes are slowly waking up and cramming for their share in the available piece of cake. If heat is felt for this itself then what should the subjugated feel for having been so for a millenium in the name of MANU SMRITIs laws? People who believe so are as you had rightly (?) pointed out are HYPROCRITS and prisoners of their own conscience.
RM (MN) replies to ILA 9 Hours ago Excuses, excuses. Sixty years after Independence you're still making excuses for a quota system that has made Indian education into a pile of rubbish.
Athena (London) 1 Day ago It is Imperial College and not Imperial University. Perhaps ET must invest in better human capital!
(Hyderabad) 1 Day ago Same thing happened with me as well like akshay kumar. I thought i am reading my story.
Nihar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It completely depends on which institution a person is studying in abroad. It is not so that somebody got a degree in a well recognized institution in foreign and unable to get a job in India. So I request "The Economic Times" to provide a proper interpretation to the reader.
kshi S (Bhopal) 1 Day ago coming to US was the worst decision of my life
B Venky Venky (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Very informative article. To have world class universities in India, the government should get out of the way. The quota raj in higher education has to stop. More and more private funds has to be garnered towards higher education by giving tax sops. But all this remains in the realm of fiction at the moment.
ketan m (mumbai) 1 Day ago study there, work here. sounds great!
thomas (india) 1 Day ago Yes, every Indian should go overseas for education - build up net work..learn how other s think..their style-quality etc. come back and start self employed business ... it will flourish. take example from china who are into A to Z of business and industries ,they make impossible happen...of course duly and completely supported by their govt..
Saswata mandal (kolkata) 1 Day ago still every good student wants to go abroad.. why is it like that??
Nanda Kumar (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago ET pointed it out already..Global Exposure! and Farther mountains always seem smoother :)
Anupam (Bangalore) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago Quick money
Mumbaikar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It's not entirely the kids fault - some ambitious parents push out the kids too - 'we don't think there is a future here', they say. Now, some are stuck abroad and need to return home, as countries are on an economic downturn and/or are looking more inward now, . Complicated situation - but opportunities are here too, if you want to grab them. Not everything here is as bad as you may think.
Bharath Selvan Sukumaran (Chennai) 1 Day ago Good news for India. Let their knowledge be used for Indians in India
jgsemig (Delhi110007) 2 Days ago what about large numbers of foreign students studying in India? How could IIM-B professor be so insensitive? In a global world does this mean that Indian educational Institutions have already thrown in their towels? Does it also mean that Universities like SAARC and others have no futures?
也有很多外国学生在印度留学啊。 为什么印度管理学院班加罗尔分校(Indian Institutes of Management) 的教授们这么愚钝。从全球范围来看，是不是这就意味着印度的教育机构已经宣布投降了？类似南亚区域合作联盟（South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation）这类的学校就没有前途了吗？
Sriram B (Bharat) 2 Days ago Learn Globally and be back to improve India. Just as they say wait till the last ball is bowled in a cricket frenzy country; do not lose hope till you have tried your hands on what you want to transform the country into.
Ajay Kumar (NYC) 2 Days ago Only the people who have earned admissions into Indian Universities based on reservations, face problems studying abroad, as they are looking for concessions always. People who have earned admissions throughout based on their capability and knowledge, do not face any problem. Such students do not come back.
Ayush Jha (NOIDA) 2 Days ago Study in the US(OUT OF INTEREST in the field and/or spectrum, NOT parental pressure/peer pressure) , Work to repay the loans & then do your own startup in India. All the best :)
Mukesh Mishra (Haridwar) 2 Days ago It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Ashwani Kaushal (New Delhi) 2 Days ago righly said, getting an addmission in DU colleages are like dreaming in day time.... it is always good to go abroad and get certification and return back... but once the indian student get a better envoironment and facility abroad why they come back to corrupt indian culture, only few with family business background will come to share the same plateform with their parental company ....shamful for Indian corruption
Parthipan K (Chennai) 2 Days ago I agree with the fact that Indian Universities are not flexible. But intelligent students can acquire knowledge of any subjects of their own. So they should not blame Indian Universities. More over, not all institutes in abroad are of high standards. Even in Ivy schools, the standards are coming down like our IITs. My opinion is that if one works hard in Indian top universities, they can acquire global standards. Also all the premier institutes in US are putting their course material in the web and hence, by going thru them one can acquire high knowledge.
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