4 August, 2021


Free Trade: A Weapon To Bring Nations To Heel?

By Mano Ratwatte  –

Mano Ratwatte

“Human Rights” and “Humanitarian concerns” are very selective powerful tools for powerful nations, to be selectively administered to control nations. Add to that the weapon called Free trade. For example, the American strongman President Trump is only concerned about trade from an American perspective. 

No matter how much breast thumping and flowery words their State Department officials may engage in, fact of the matter is Strongman President Trump has scuttled TPP1(the same diplomats were praising TPP under Obama and their social media was actively singing praises of TPP and JCPOA2 during Obama’s time; now they have to sing the opposite to keep their jobs), got out of the Paris climate change accord, scuttled NAFTA3 and slammed tariffs on China, Mexico and Canada. Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of commerce will soon engage India in the same trade war.  

The US has a goods and services trade deficit with India which was $27.3 billion in 2017.(USTR.GOV); which is relatively small, compared to their massive  goods and services trade deficit with China which was $335.4 billion in 2017 and reportedly at $222.6Billion.. Strongman Trump’s tariffs resulted in counter tariffs by China; those tariffs hurt the US farmers mostly and those are ironically Trump voters! US ended up with unsold stocks of soya beans after China retaliated by (China is the world’s largest soy buyer) moving to other buyers.

In contrast, Sri Lanka is  the 70th largest trading partner with USA, and it only has a 2.5Billion dollar surplus in bilateral trade with USA; that too can be used as a weapon with threats to impose tariffs on Sri Lankan exports to USA if Sri Lanka does not abide by its demands. US is increasingly coveting a semi-permanent military presence in South Asia. Trincomalee is ideal for them; it is the 4th largest natural harbour in the world, where the British imperial fleet moved, when Singapore fell to the Japanese in the most humiliating surrender-defeat of Sri Lanka’s former Colonial masters; they were commanded by a mediocre uncharismatic General called Percival who stupidly did not think the Japanese will invade from the North and had almost all his guns trained on the ocean. This writer just loves WW-II history. Sorry for digressing

That is the reality. Sri Lanka has no oil like Saudi Arabia which got away