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  • Author: Yuka Fukunaga
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been of the utmost importance for Japan's trade policy. In particular, Japan strongly supports the WTO’s rule-based dispute settlement mechanism, and frequently uses it. At the same time, in recent years, the adoption and implementation of regional and mega-regional trade agreements have become critical in Japan’s trade policy, with the stalling of the Doha Round negotiations in the WTO. Although the core of its trade policy remains the same today, Japan has been forced to rethink and modify it in response to the aggressive and unilateral trade policy of the Trump administration.
  • Topic: World Trade Organization, Governance, Internet, Free Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: John Seaman
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: From emerging technological fields such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities to traditional sectors including energy, health care, railways and agriculture, China is increasingly proactive in nearly every domain where technical standards remain to be developed and set. Technical standards are the definition of processes or technical specifications designed to improve the quality, security and compatibility of various goods and services, for instance GSM for telecommunications or WiFi for wireless Internet. They can be thought of as basic specifications or technologies on which other technologies or methods will evolve – creating lock-in effects and path-dependency for future products and technological trajectories. Defining standards can provide significant benefits for society at large, but can also carry significant implications for which technologies will dominate future markets and provide substantial advantages to those who master standardized technologies. Chinese policymakers have become keenly aware of the relationship between technical standard-setting and economic power. Indeed, a popular saying in China posits that third-tier companies make products, second-tier companies make technology, first-tier companies make standards. In 2015, the State Council highlighted China’s deficiencies in the field and set out to transform the country’s standardization system, seeking to harness the capacity of standard setting not only to improve the daily lives of its citizens, but to drive innovation, boost China’s economic transformation toward the industries of the future, and turn China into a premier purveyor of international technical standards.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Multilateralism, Standardization
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Rawi Abdelal, Aurélie Bros
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Sanctions have become the dominant tool of statecraft of the United States and other Western states, especially the European Union, since the end of the Cold War. But the systematic use of this instrument may produce unintended and somewhat paradoxical geopolitical consequences. The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in the field of energy are particularly illustrative of this phenomenon.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Secondary Sanctions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Meixner, Pia Figge
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The German Legislation on Improving Law Enforcement in Social Networks (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz – NetzDG), which came into force on October 1, 2017, is the legislative response to how social networks handle complaints about illegal content. It does not advocate the implementation of new duties but concerns the enforcement of existing law. Its aim is the prompt removal of illegal content from the internet. This paper examines the intentions of the German legislator, the structure and implementation of the NetzDG, as well as first results. Regierungsdirektor Frank Meixner is Head of the German Federal Office for the Protection and Protection of Abroad (Bundesamt für Justiz) in Bonn. Regierungsrätin Pia Figge is a consultant to the Network Enforcement Act (Consumer Protection) of the Bundesamt für Justiz in Bonn.
  • Topic: Crime, Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, Networks
  • Political Geography: Germany, European Union
  • Author: Séverine Arséne
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: China's Social Credit System remains a poorly understood combination of rating schemes and blacklists, but the consequences for individuals and businesses are very real. Since the State Council published a “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020)”, all administrations and localities in China have been busy figuring out ways to develop social credit systems relevant to their own jurisdiction, while a few corporations have also been experimenting with private social credit ratings, more akin to loyalty schemes, in conjunction with the policy. From this hotchpotch of experimentation, two distinct instruments are taking shape in the so-called public system: first, personal credit ratings managed by localities, and secondly, blacklists of individuals and companies managed by sectorial administrations (the Supreme People’s Court, the Tax Department, Department of Agriculture, etc). Arrangements across administrations and corporate partners enable the implementation of rewards and punishments attached to the blacklists, while personal ratings carry only perks.
  • Topic: Governance, Business , Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sébastien Mort
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: From the 1920s to the 1980s, the American press followed strict discursive practices based on objectivity and fairness. Starting in the 1930s, the country's political center of gravity was on the liberal side and there were few overtly conservative media. From the 1980s onwards, the vast deregulation effort undertaken by the Reagan administration paved the way for the emergence of a powerful conservative media ecosystem. Hosted by strong personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio talk-shows were broadcast by a large number of local AM radio stations. Created in 1996, the Fox News channel gained massive traction in the 2000s. Many information websites close to the far right have gradually joined this environment.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Media, Conservatism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Benjamin Augé
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: East Africa has the potential to experience a gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export boom in the coming years due to several projects that have been released. Mozambique has approved two projects totaling more than 15 million tons per year (Mt/yr.) of liquefied gas and a third should be started by the end of 2019. The first ENI Floating Liquefied Natural Gas plant (FLNG) will come onto the market in 2022 and four other onshore liquefaction trains, two of which will produce 6.44 Mt (Anadarko/Total) and two of which will produce 7.6 Mt (ExxonMobil/ENI), will be available around 2025. However, with the recoverable reserves, the companies involved are counting on 50 or even 60 Mt/yr. by 2030. This volume will help this East African country to achieve the world’s fourth-largest LNG export capacity in the medium term after the United States, Qatar and Australia. As for Tanzania, no development should be approved before 2020 in the best-case scenario.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Oil, Gas
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, East Africa
  • Author: Benjamin Augé
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: In 2017, the coming to power of João Lourenço put an end to nearly four decades of rule by the former head of state, José Eduardo Dos Santos. João Lourenço’s first objective was to strengthen his authority by appointing people close to him and cadres from the old regime, who had professed loyalty to him, to high office. The speed of the takeover of all the decision-making centers – army, intelligence services, state-owned companies, oil industry and above all the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) party-state – by the new “Comrade Number One” surprised the leaders of the Dos Santos era, some of whom were abruptly dismissed or even sentenced to prison. Now firmly established in Angola’s command centers, João Lourenço is however facing a serious economic crisis, the most worrying for the country since the end of the civil war in 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Angola
  • Author: Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: India’s space program has grown and evolved significantly in the last five decades. The program originally focused on developing space assets that provided direct developmental benefits, for example telecommunications and remote sensing satellites that helped both in improving communication facilities and giving direct assistance to India’s farmers. But over time, India has shifted a part of its focus towards space exploration and other high-profile missions that do not have as clear a developmental purpose as earlier. This includes, for example, India’s Mars and Moon exploratory missions. Overall, India has been fairly successful in these efforts and its space program has become a comprehensive one that includes not only a robust launch capacity and very large remote sensing satellite systems, but also a very well rounded scientific and deep space exploratory program.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Space
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India
  • Author: Leonard C. Sebastian
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Despite Indonesia’s reputation for a traditionally moderate brand of Islam, religious conservativism is gaining considerable political traction in the lead up to this April’s presidential election. During the campaign for the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial elections, thousands of Muslims gathered in massive demonstrations against Ahok, the initial frontrunner and a candidate from a minority ethnicity and religion, accusing him of blasphemy. Many observers have looked at the unprecedented size of the anti-Ahok rallies and their electoral context as a watershed in the evolution of Indonesian Islam. This article analyses the seismic shift in Indonesian Islam that has occurred, with moderate Islam in steep decline while conservative Islam is on the rise. It argues that radical Islam and violent extremism in Indonesia are only the tip of the iceberg—a resurgence of conservative Islamic ideology and large-scale Islamisation of Indonesian society has occurred over the nearly two-decade old Reform Era.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Elections, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia