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  • Author: Shannon K. O'Neil
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: North America was once called the New World. The people, their ideas, and the resources of the continent shaped the histories of the Old World—East and West. Today, North America is home to almost five hundred million people living in three vibrant democracies. If the three North American countries deepen their integration and cooperation, they have the potential to again shape world affairs for gen-erations to come.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the 1870s, the scope of Great Britain's financial empire exceeded the scope of its political empire. Dependence on British investors sometimes was a precursor, though, to informal—or even formal— political control. When Egypt's khedive needed to raise cash to cover his personal debt to private British banks, he sold his large personal stake in the Suez Canal to the British state. Egypt's ruler did little better managing Egypt's public debt: difficulties making payments led Britain and France to assume control over Egypt's treasury and, by 1882, to full British political control.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Egypt
  • Author: Douglas A. Irwin
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The news from Geneva of the breakdown of the Doha Round after seven years of effort has generated a great deal of pessimism about the future of multilateral trade agreements. America's troubles with the World Trade Organization (WTO) are of course only the beginning. There are also domestic problems when it comes to trade policy, an issue that ties together America's economic prosperity and its global political influence. Recent public opinion polls in the United States reveal increased skepticism about the benefits of globalization and diminished support for free trade policies. The post–World War II bipartisan consensus in favor of open trade has broken up, leading to gr eater resistance to new trade agreements in Congress, as reflected in the House's recent decision to postpone consideration of the Colombia free trade agreement (FTA). Despite efforts in the Doha Round to limit agricultural subsidies, Congress recently showered domestic farmers with more cash in the recently passed Farm Bill, even at a time when commodity prices are soaring.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, America, Colombia
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States likes to think of itself as a nation that abides by its treaties and commitments. Successive U.S. administrations have taken the obligations implied by international agreements seriously: They have opted out of parts of many agreements for fear that compliance would be contrary to U.S. interests, and have refused outright to sign some treaties on the grounds of potential legal exposure. But U.S. behavior toward the World Trade Organization is different; in this case, the United States has been quite willing to accept binding multilateral rules. Yet, the United States has also been repeatedly judged to be in violation of its WTO commitments by the organization's dispute settlement panels, and although some violations could be ascribed to uncertainties about the meaning of the rules, the United States is also guilty of disregarding the rules deliberately. Opinion in Congress sometimes encourages this behavior; legislators are less likely to question the legitimacy of U.S. conduct than to question the WTO's authority to pass judgment over the United States. Moreover, these tensions are likely to escalate if the Doha Round of global trade negotiations breaks down. If the diplomatic route to market access is blocked, trading partners will seek access to U.S. consumers by bringing more cases before the WTO's tribunals. A surge in such cases could increase resentment of the WTO in the United States, weakening America's commitment to its traditional postwar role as the bulwark of the international trading system. This would be unfortunate, because even without changes in the behavior of its trading partners, the rules of the WTO improve the performance of the U.S. economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: David M. Marchick, Alan P. Larson
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite the significant benefits that foreign investment brings to the U.S. economy, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 53 percent of Americans believe foreign ownership of U.S. companies is “bad for America,” a sentiment that reached a boiling point with the proposed acquisition of the U.S. port operations of P Steam Navigation Company by Dubai Ports World (DPW). The DPW case brought to the public's attention the little-known executive committee charged with reviewing the security risks of foreign investment—the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)—and ignited a flurry of congressional activity to change its mandate and operations under the Exon-Florio Amendment to the Defense Production Act of 1950.
  • Topic: Security, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Dubai