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  • Author: Kevin M. Higgins, Oenone Kubie, Courtney Bruno, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Spanning 4.2 million square feet, two city blocks, and rising twenty-five stories high, the Merchandise Mart – the largest commercial building in the world – stands on the northern bank of the Chicago River. From the merchandising Hall of Fame in front of the Mart, one can watch passing architectural tours admiring the impressive Art Deco exterior of the building. These days, the Mart is home to high-end designers, advertising firms, and, increasingly, tech companies and start-up incubators. Within its vast interior, the industries of the Third Industrial Revolution have taken hold. Yet, when the Mart opened on 5 May 1930, no economic revolution was already established. By the early 1900s, the Second Industrial Revolution had brought assembly lines to factories, and the disassembly line to Chicago’s slaughterhouses, and it had seen electrification, telegraphs, and the railroads span the North American continent. But the revolution was already slowing by the third decade of the twentieth century. What had revolutionised industry in the nineteenth century now served as commonplace and not until well after the Second World War would Americans feel the first stirrings of another revolution as computation, telecommunications, and genetics again transformed the economy.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Capitalism, Commodities, Manufacturing, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Chicago
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto
  • Abstract: This report highlights the summary of discussions and key policy recommendations from the 2016 Canada-UK Colloquium Report (CUKC) in Edmonton last November 2016, chaired by the Hon. Jean Charest, which brought together fifty high-level policymakers, academics, industry leaders and young scholars.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Yasir Kuoti
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Relations between Iraq and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have remained largely cold or nonexistent since the 2003 Iraq War, an outcome of the war itself that saw the empowerment in Iraq of Riyadh’s regional archrival, Iran. Since January 2017, however, bilateral relations improved considerably as Saudi officials flocked to Baghdad to meet Iraqi counterparts. Iraqi officials and public figures reciprocated, in speed, with their own visits to the KSA. The surprising rapprochement agenda have thus far resulted in, among other things, restoring Saudi diplomatic representation in Iraq, opening al-Jadidah Arar border-crossing on the Saudi northern borders with Iraq, and inaugurating the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Council, opening a new era of strategic ties between the two countries. Iraqi media now reports that the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman will start an official visit to Iraq in November. In the process, he will become the highest-level Saudi official to do so since 1990. What explains the timing of this rapprochement policy?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Robert M. Orr
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In the past two years, the creation of the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has caused considerable attention in many capitals, particularly in Washington and Tokyo. Some view the establishment of the AIIB as a challenge to the supremacy of the post-World War II Bretton Woods order. Others see it as another symbol of shifting regional power in Asia. Some have deep concerns about the AIIB’s willingness to adhere to international safeguards and open procurement.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report is prepared for the North American Forum (NAF). In 2015, CIGI’s Global Security & Politics Program became the Secretariat for the Canadian leadership within the NAF. CIGI will be undertaking a program of research to support the Canadian contribution to the NAF in cooperation with our American and Mexican partners. In the coming months, CIGI will publish additional reports to support the work of the NAF. Since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, trade, investment and migration flows among Canada, Mexico and the United States have helped turn North America into one of the most dynamic and prosperous trade blocs on the planet. With a new government in Ottawa, it is an ideal time for Canada to make a stronger, deeper relationship with Mexico a crucial plank of a plan to secure a prosperous future for North America. Better relations between Mexico and Canada not only means more opportunities to take advantage of the two countries’ economic and social complementarities, it also gives the two countries the opportunity to closely work together to get the United States on board with an ambitious North American agenda to secure the continent’s economic future.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lindsay Oldenski
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Reshoring—when firms shift manufacturing production back to the United States—has been getting a great deal of publicity lately. Oldenski examines the most recent data on the global operations of US firms and concludes that although some companies have reversed their previous offshoring decisions, there is no evidence of a widespread reshoring trend. But this should not be considered a defeat for US competitiveness. US multinationals continue to move operations offshore, but they also continue to grow stronger, producing more in their US operations and adding more to total US exports. The structure of US manufacturing has changed, but the ability to adapt to the changing nature of global business has been and will continue to be crucial to the continued growth of US manufacturing.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Eujiin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The latest semiannual fundamental equilibrium exchange rate (FEER) estimates find that the US dollar is now overvalued by about 10 percent, comparable to levels in 2008 through early 2010 and again in 2011. Unlike then, the current strong dollar does not reflect a weak renminbi kept undervalued by major exchange rate intervention by China. Instead, China's current account surplus has fallen sharply relative to GDP, and its recent intervention has been to prevent excessive depreciation rather than to prevent appreciation. Additionally, declines in the real effective exchange rates (REERs) for major emerging-market economies and resource-based advanced economies, driven by falling commodity prices in recent months, have strengthened the dollar. Recent increases in the REERs for the euro area and Japan have removed their modest undervaluation identified in the last FEERs estimates in May, and the Chinese renminbi remains consistent with its FEER. The dollar's rise by nearly 15 percent in real effective terms over the past two years could impose a drag of nearly one-half percent annually on US demand growth over the next five years. As the Federal Reserve moves to normalize US monetary policy, it may need to consider a gentler rise in interest rates than it might otherwise have pursued, both to temper possible further strengthening of the dollar in response to higher interest rates and to help offset the demand compression from falling net export
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, GDP
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Emily Isaac
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy
  • Abstract: In the past five years, San Francisco has become home to dozens of new online and mobile “service networking” companies that claim to be “revolutionizing” the way work gets done. Making up what has come to be known as the “platform economy,” these technology companies provide the platforms for online and mobile marketplaces in which users can buy and sell their goods and services. Together, these “platform economy” companies make up a concentrated innovative cluster in the San Francisco Bay Area, and, more specifically, San Francisco proper. One of the sharing economy’s pioneers and largest success stories, TaskRabbit Inc. allows users to outsource small jobs and tasks to local contractors—or, in company lingo, neighborhood “Taskers.” Launched out of Boston in 2008, TaskRabbit is just one of many tech startups that have left Boston for the San Francisco Bay Area. Since relocating to San Francisco, the company has received $37.5 million in venture funding, is available in 20 cities, and reportedly has 1.25 million users and over 25,000 Taskers. Indeed, TaskRabbit exemplifies the immeasurable benefits of strategically locating a firm in an industry cluster.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Communications, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Zachary K. Goldman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long relied on its economic power to protect and advance its interests abroad. In an increasingly integrated international financial system, the U.S. economy and capital markets remain the largest in the world by almost every measure. This status affords the United States an important global leadership position and the ability to shape foreign policy outcomes with economic tools. The structure of the international trade and financial system, in which many significant banking and energy transactions as well as currency reserves are denominated in U.S. dollars, reinforces the central role of the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States