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  • Author: Hugh Stephens
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In the past, Canada has had to deal with the matter of Taiwan very delicately. China considers Taiwan to be an integral part of the nation: a rogue province that must eventually be reunified with the mainland. Since Canada relies much more on trade with China than with Taiwan, the stakes have favoured policies that avoid engaging with Taiwan in ways that would unnecessarily irritate China. As a result, there has been little appetite here for negotiating a bilateral trade deal with Taiwan. That attitude is finally changing. One main reason is because China is already angry with Canada, and vice versa. Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low, and domestic support for accommodating China is minimal. As a result, Canada is freer than before to consider negotiating a trade agreement with Taiwan. At the same time, Taiwan is interested in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which Canada is already a party. By supporting Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP, Canada can achieve a free-trade agreement with Taiwan without having to negotiate one bilaterally. The ability to do so under the aegis of a multilateral agreement should serve to mitigate any remaining concerns that China might further retaliate against Canada directly. However, striking back at China is not a reason for Canada to support Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP. We should do so because it is in the interest of Canada and the other members of the CPTPP to add to the strength of the organization by welcoming an economy that is an important global trader and a key player in global supply chains. In addition, Taiwan is a country that is clearly willing and able to accept CPTPP disciplines. Canada should move quickly and enthusiastically to support Taiwan’s accession. The benefits of having Taiwan join Canada in a free-trade agreement are obvious. The opportunity to make it a reality is finally here. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which entered into force on Dec.30, 2018 for six of the 11 signatories that had completed ratification at that time (Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore),1 is a beacon of hope in a dark, protectionist landscape. Along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which was signed on Nov. 15, 2020, the CPTPP advances the trade and investment liberalization agenda at a time when protectionist measures by some major trading countries are threatening to undo decades of progress. The commitments and new disciplines of the CPTPP are particularly important because of malaise infecting the World Trade Organization, where the work of the Appellate Body has now ground to a halt because of actions by the United States, and to offset the negative impact of the U.S.-China trade war now underway.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Partnerships, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Taiwan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christof Ruhl
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Oil markets are sending confusing signals at a time when more confusion is the last thing anyone needs. When Russia walked out on OPEC+ rather than contribute to more output cuts, Saudi Arabia turned on the crude taps. Whatever Riyadh’s intention, this “price war” was quickly made meaningless by the impact of the new coronavirus on global oil demand. The price collapse has been beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Now, storage room for crude is becoming scarce. Analysts warn darkly that plunging prices may threaten global economic stability. Equities follow the oil price news. Everyone seems to agree that prices should stop falling; and yet no one seems to argue that a very low oil price is exactly what the world’s economy needs to recover. The combination of price war and pandemic is also creating strange bedfellows. Some American shale producers are advocating that their country blocks Saudi oil imports, others want to talk to OPEC. President Donald Trump’s government has expressed an interest in cooperating on global oil supplies with Saudi Arabia and Russia; it’s nudging OPEC+ to reconvene, or an even wider group of producers to meet. Could we be witnessing the emergence of an unholy alliance of Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S., to “manage volatility,” and incidentally shore up the price of oil?
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marianne Kah
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The rapid expansion in tight oil production with its associated natural gas has made the United States the fourth largest source of flared gas in the world. The waste, emissions, and pollution caused by this flaring threatens not only the environment and human health but, ultimately, the license to operate for oil and natural gas companies. Responding effectively to the challenge of flaring requires technically and economically sound solutions that also enjoy political credibility and support. To be most credible, solutions for flaring need to be developed through open and transparent processes that provide for candid and constructive engagement by a diverse group of stakeholders. In January 2020, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and the Energy Institute of the University of Texas at Austin gathered senior executives from the US oil and natural gas industry; current and former state government regulators; technical, market, and academic experts; and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives with expertise in this topic for a workshop under the Chatham House Rule to discuss challenges and potential solutions to gas flaring, primarily in the Permian Basin. The gas flaring workshop focused on trends in gas flaring and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, flaring and public policy, the disconnect between production growth and midstream infrastructure capacity, best practices and technological solutions for minimizing flaring, and regulatory and other solutions. Participants identified challenges to tackling flaring in the Permian, including poor data quality, the disconnect between the start of associated gas production and the availability of pipelines and other takeaway capacity, and the competition gas faces in the important Texas and California markets from lower-emission energy sources, and from coal in Texas. Participants also discussed potential solutions to these and other Permian flaring challenges.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The last four years have borne witness to a range of new sanctions, policies, and approaches around the world. Some of these were predicted in November 2016, as Donald Trump took to sanctions far more than his predecessors, using them to tackle virtually every foreign policy problem he encountered. In fact, Trump’s use of sanctions transcended their typical usage in both form and content, as he employed tariffs and other more traditional “trade” tools to try to manage a bevy of nontrade problems. The long-term effects of this decision have yet to be felt or properly understood. It may be that Trump was ahead of the curve in seeing the fracturing of the global liberal economic order and employed the US economy for strategic advantage while it was still ahead. It may also be that Trump undermined the US position in the global economy through his policies, if not actually hastened the demise of this system of managing global economics. Time and the evolution of policy in other global power centers will eventually tell. The shifting approach to sanctions policy by a variety of other states is a manifestation of the potential effects of Trump’s policy choices in using US economic power. From the EU to Russia to China, other countries have changed long-standing policy approaches as they relate to sanctions, either to respond to or perhaps to take advantage of the new paths forged by the United States. The actions that they have taken are not “unprecedented” per se, as each of these countries or organizations has—at times—embraced policies that are consistent with some of these current actions. But, in aggregate, they describe an overall shift in how the world treats sanctions and trade policy, particularly that as practiced by the United States.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Ramirez
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak has shaken international trade and supply chains to their very foundations. This paper presents possible trade and supply scenarios, examining in particular the future of China’s pre-COVID-19 role as ‘the world’s factory’. Although disruptions such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 and the recent trade war between the United States and China have strained global trade and supply chains in the past, particularly in Asia, COVID-19 has had historically devastating effects. While high levels of uncertainty currently make it hard to foresee exactly how global trade and supply chains will look in the post-COVID-19 era, it is inevitable that they will be reshaped.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jens Velten
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: The EU adopted Regulation 2019/452 (Regulation) as part of a more robust Common commercial policy to strengthen and defend its interests in a shifting global order. More concretely, the Regulation has two objectives: protecting domestic assets from harmful foreign investor interests, and equipping the EU with leverage to achieve more favourable treatment of EU investors abroad. Therefore, the Regulation provides Member States with an option to adopt foreign direct investment (FDI) screening mechanisms on the grounds of “security or public order”. However, the Regulation misses its objectives. The Regulation’s vague screening ground “security or public order” must be interpreted in accordance with WTO law. A detailed analysis finds that the relevant WTO notions of essential security interests and public order are rather narrow. The Regulation’s screening ground “security or public order” therefore only allows the screening of a few, high-profile cases of FDI. Such a narrow scope undermines the Regulation’s objectives.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, WTO
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Hernan Winkler
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Evidence about the effect of exports on welfare at the local level is scarce. Using a unique dataset of international trade and poverty maps for almost 2,000 Mexican municipalities between 2004 and 2014, the study presented in this paper provides new evidence on the impact of a significant rise in exports on poverty and inequality at the local level. The analysis implements an instrumental variable approach that combines the initial structure of exports across municipalities with global trends in exports from developing to developed countries by sector. The results show that a 10 percent increase in the ratio of exports to workers reduces income inequality measured by the Gini coefficient by 0.17 points (using a 0 to 100 scale), but no significant effects on poverty reduction or average household incomes are identified. The lack of impacts on average incomes is driven by a rise in the supply of labor at the local level because municipalities with higher export growth experienced an increase in labor force participation and attracted more net migration, particularly of unskilled workers. Therefore, while total labor incomes grew in response to an increase in exports, average labor incomes per worker did not change. Declining remittances also blunted the effect of growing exports on household incomes.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Migration, Poverty, Inequality, Local
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Author: Erik van der Marel
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: How do trade patterns change after an external shock such as an economic crisis, and is this shift structural? This paper uses a Difference-in-Difference (DID) approach to investigate whether services trade became more digital after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. It finds that the GFC formed an independent break from the previous period that turned services trade to become more digital – although there are signs that this somewhat already happened before 2008. Software-intense services such as R&D services, information services, computer services and charges for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) saw on average a 6 percent higher increase in global exports compared to other non-digital sectors post-2008. Countries with higher internet usage and with already comparative advantage in these sectors saw this higher increase in digital trade. More striking is that in particular upper-middle income countries and countries with high manufacturing activity saw the sharpest shift into digital services trade after the GFC. These significant outcomes forecast a direction into which patterns of services trade are likely to turn after the current economic crisis resulting from COVID-19.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Digital Economy, Global Financial Crisis, Exports, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vincent Vicard, Amélie Guillin, Anne-Laure Delatte
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Tax avoidance schemes generate artificially complex cross-border financial structures inflating measured international investment stocks in tax havens. Using a standard gravity framework, we estimate that about 40% of global assets (FDI, portfolio equity and debt) are `abnormal' – unexplained – stocks. Abnormal stocks are increasing over time and concentrated in a limited number of jurisdictions. Six jurisdictions including three European countries are the largest contributors: Cayman, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Ireland and the Netherlands. Interestingly, the Luxleaks in 2014 do not appear to have diverted cross-border investments away.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Borders, Investment, Stock Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mary Speck
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Illegal trade across the Haiti/Dominican Republic border has serious financial and security implications. Contraband undermines legitimate business on both sides of the border and deprives the public sector—especially the cash-strapped government of Haiti—of much-needed revenues. It also undermines rule of law and public security by fueling corruption and strengthening criminal organizations. After two research trips to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, CSIS Americas has produced a summary report of the issue of illicit border trade between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, incorporating several case studies and policy recommendations for preventing further cross-border illicit trade and revenue loss.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Border Control, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti, Dominican Republic, North America