Treasury Secretary makes speech regarding international trade talks

On Thursday, December 5, lawmakers and diplomats on Capitol Hill listened closely as U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave a prepared speech in  an effort to alleviate fears that current financial regulations stateside will impede upon potentially lucrative trade deals with other nations. However, in pledging to not even consider modifying current regulations, the secretary essentially confirmed fears held by many economists that the federal government's stronghold over the fate of the national economy will only further imperil the fragile recovery.

Washington is currently in the midst of negotiations with the European Union (EU) and a group of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to open up what would be the world's largest free trade zone. However, the United States economy is currently operating under strict regulations following the 2007-2009 financial crisis and is currently in the midst of incorporating the "Volcker Rule," named for former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which would allow the government to break up any financial firm if it posed a risk to the broader financial system. 

"We will not allow these agreements to serve as an opportunity to water down domestic financial regulatory standards," Lew said in his press statement. "We will press other jurisdictions to match our robust standards — including in Europe and across Asia."

Washington seems to be worried that the EU's wish to bring financial regulation into any agreement as a central topic would bog down the already complex discussions currently taking place. And while a lack of regulation has resulted in the reckless abandon of borrowing and lending that has thrown Europe into its current economic quagmire, over regulation is another threat entirely that would likely hamper any steps forward.

If you stand to lose or gain from these talks or have any investments whose fates are currently at the whim of the tumultuous state of trading and the stock market – especially if your retirement is at stake – asset protection and wealth preservation aren't just good ideas, but essential avenues you need to consider.