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  • Author: Fredrik Erixon
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief takes stock of the EU Trade Policy Review – the Commission’s proposed strategy for trade. Despite appearances, the Review doesn’t come close to its billing as a strategy for the new geopolitics of trade. In fact, the Review is weak on key geopolitical developments and rather gives the impression that the EU doesn’t have an ambition to shape outcomes. Obviously, the Review is anchored in Europe’s general economic climate: defensiveness on globalization, competition and digitalization. It follows that Europe is getting increasingly detached from world developments. There are several good parts in the Review. The Commission wants to revive and reform the World Trade Organisation, and it’s clear about what factors that have made the Geneva-based trade body dysfunctional. The Review also acknowledges that the EU will seek a closer alliance with the United States and use that for constructive purposes. Finally, it is welcome that the Commission proposes some new instruments for dealing with market distortions caused by foreign subsidies and protectionism in government procurement. All these initiatives can achieve good outcomes. However, they all require that Europe makes changes in its own policies and positions. The bad parts in the Review are Europe’s weak agenda for getting better market access in the growth regions in the world and its continued passivity on matters related to China. Europe’s main trade-policy challenge in the next decade is to ensure that businesses and consumers in Europe get better integrated with a world-market dynamism that predominantly will come from the Asian region. Absent a realistic and medium-term strategy for dealing with challenges connected to the rise of China, Europe will have difficulties getting the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment approved. Europe needs an actionable agenda for addressing bilateral frictions with China and problems that occur outside bilateral trade. Finally, the ugly part of the trade strategy are all the commercial policies in the EU – with strong effects on trade – that aren’t recognized or only casually mentioned in the Review. The latter category includes the ambition to introduce an autonomous carbon border tax on imports. Such a policy comes at a high political and economic cost, and the measure’s effect on reducing global carbon emissions is at best very negligible.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Geopolitics, Digital Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Henig
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years global value chains have come to dominate global trade in a way surprisingly little discussed or understood. To meet the policy challenges of today and the future we need to understand the key characteristics of this new global trade and how they came about. The OECD estimate around 70% of total trade takes place in global value chains. Using their definition as where “the different stages of the production process are located across different countries”, and considering both goods and services inputs, this may be an understatement. The example most commonly used is the automotive sector, with 30,000 parts and associated services like satellite navigation going into one car. However there are many others. Modern primary commodity production is optimised by technology developed in other countries, diverse services and goods are frequently combined to create new product offerings, and most international business to consumer transactions are facilitated by leading global platforms. Positively this new globalization has provided consumers with an unprecedented choice of products at affordable prices. More challengingly it has seen governments struggle with the question of how they can best influence modern trade, amid signs of a backlash and simple demands for ‘more domestic manufacturing’. The popular global narrative that feeds such demands is one that has a traditional view of trade as a set of simple primary or manufactured goods transactions. Policymakers must move on from this narrative, making their choices, and explaining them clearly, on the basis of global value chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael D Bordo, Mickey D. Levy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The ratcheting up of tariffs and the Fed’s discretionary conduct of monetary policy are a toxic mix for economic performance. Escalating tariffs and President Trump’s erratic and unpredictable trade policy and threats are harming global economic performance, distorting monetary policy, and undermining the Fed’s credibility and independence. President Trump’s objectives to force China to open access to its markets for international trade, reduce capital controls, modify unfair treatment of intellectual property, and address cybersecurity issues and other U.S. national security issues are laudable goals with sizable benefits. However, the costs of escalating tariffs are mounting, and the tactic of relying exclusively on barriers to trade and protectionism is misguided and potentially dangerous. The economic costs to the United States so far have been relatively modest, dampening exports, industrial production, and business investment. However, the tariffs and policy uncertainties have had a significantly larger impact on China, accentuating its structural economic slowdown, and are disrupting and distorting global supply chains. This is harming other nations that have significant exposure to international trade and investment overseas, particularly Japan, South Korea, and Germany. As a result, global trade volumes and industrial production are falling. Weaker global growth is reflected in a combination of a reduction in aggregate demand and constraints on aggregate supply.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Economic Growth, Tariffs, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Simon Lester, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Donald Trump was a trade “hawk” long before he became president. In the late 1980s, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show and complained about Japan “beating the hell out of this country” on trade (Real Clear Politics 2019). As president, he has continued with the same rhetoric, using it against a wide range of U.S. trading partners, and he has followed it up with action (often in the form of tariffs). While many countries have found themselves threatened by Trump’s aggressive trade policy, his main focus has been China. As a result, the United States and China have been engaged in an escalating tariff, trade, and national security conflict since July 2018, when the first set of U.S. tariffs on China went into effect and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. In this article, we explore the U.S.-China economic conflict, from its origins to the trade war as it stands today. We then offer our thoughts on where this conflict is heading and when it might end.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Trade Wars, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jennifer Brown, Tara Flint, Jessca LaMay
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Global North’s growing demand for fresh pineapple has created a system that is disproportionately profitable for companies and consumers in those countries to the detriment of people living and working in the Global South. Since the mid-1980s the Pineapple Development Corporation (PINDECO), a subsidiary of U.S.-based Del Monte, has established a monopoly over fresh pineapple exports in southern Costa Rica. We conducted pilot research in the municipalities of Buenos Aires and San Isidro del General in 2019, where the majority of PINDECO’s production takes place. PINDECO and the Costa Rican state claim pineapple production is beneficial to national development through its contribution to Costa Rican gross domestic product and employment opportunities, but our research and recent data reveal that in pineapple producing areas in the southwest, poverty levels remain high with worsening water and food security despite PINDECO’s large profit margins. There are numerous human and environmental health concerns linked to pineapple monocropping. Intensive pesticide use often utilizes chemicals that are banned or restricted in the countries they are imported from. PINDECO has been able to evade responsibility for environmental damages and social welfare obligations to employees while maintaining a largely positive public image through a lax regulatory environment and extensive subcontracting structure. This article connects regional socioeconomic issues to the intricate power dynamics and collusion between industry and state. The findings suggest that Costa Rica is not as environmentally conscious and sustainable as its public image portrays, with pockets of profit-driven industries taking precedence over community well-being and environmental sustainability.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Development
  • Political Geography: South America, Central America, Costa Rica
  • Author: Roland Rajah
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Indonesia has much economic potential but the trade-off between growth and stability continues to bind its growth ambitions. Indonesian economic policy continues to prioritise stability over growth but the adequacy of economic growth has become the bigger issue. President Joko Widodo’s commendable pro-growth efforts have so far only stabilised Indonesia’s trajectory rather than boost it. Doing better will require reforms to be calibrated to make the trade-off between growth and stability less binding while enhancing productivity.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Economy, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Giuliano Garavini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Oil markets are facing a perfect storm. The scissors of supply and demand are moving against one another, generating increasing pain on the oil industry and the political and financial stability of oil-producing countries. Global oil demand is dropping due to the recession induced by the COVID-19 shut down of economic activity and transport in the most industrialized countries. Goldman Sachs predicts that global demand could drop from 100 million barrels per day (mdb) in 2019 to nearly 80 mdb in 2020.1 If confirmed, this would be single biggest demand shock since petroleum started its race to become the most important energy source in the world.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Oil, Global Markets, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Global Focus
  • Author: Chad P. Bown, Aksel Erbahar, Maurizio Zanardi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines how trade protection is affected by changes in the value-added content of production arising through global value chains (GVCs). Exploiting a new set of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules adopted in 1995 that impose an exogenously timed requirement for countries to reevaluate their previously imposed trade protection, the authors adopt an instrumental variables strategy and identify the causal effect of GVC integration on the likelihood that a trade barrier is removed. Using a newly constructed dataset of protection removal decisions involving 10 countries, 41 trading partners, and 18 industries over 1995–2013, they find that bilateral industry-specific domestic value-added growth in foreign production significantly raises the probability of removing a duty. The results are not limited to imports from China but are only found for the protection decisions of high-income countries. Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that rapid GVC growth in the 2000s freed almost a third of the trade flows subject to the most common temporary restrictions (i.e., antidumping) applied by high-income countries in 2006.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Finance, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Elkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: On January 20-21, 2020, the EastWest Institute (EWI) held its first meeting in Berlin as part of its new Algeria-Morocco Business Dialogue, an initiative aiming to address the impediments to greater cross-border trade. By convening sector-specific meetings between local business people from both countries, the project aims to produce a concrete set of feasible recommendations to encourage greater bilateral trade. The inaugural January meeting brought together small to medium-sized business leaders from the agricultural sector to consider boosting greater trade on a micro level, as well as discuss the shortcomings and challenges of each countries’ agricultural and trade policy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Morocco
  • Author: Joshua Cavanaugh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: A select delegation of leaders from the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties and the global business community traveled to Beijing, China to meet with senior officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on November 18-21, 2019. The discussions were part of the 11th U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue organized by the EastWest Institute (EWI) in partnership with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC). Launched in 2010, the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue seeks to build understanding and trust between political elites from the U.S. and China through candid exchanges of views on topics ranging from local governance to foreign policy concerns. The dialogue process consistently involves sitting officers from the CPC and the U.S. Democratic and Republican National Committees. In the 11th iteration of the dialogue, the CPC delegation was led by Song Tao, minister of IDCPC. Gary Locke, former secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, former governor for the state of Washington and former United States Ambassador of China; and Alphonso Jackson, former secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; lead the U.S. Democratic and Republican delegations, respectively. Throughout the dialogue, members of both delegations spoke freely on relevant topics including foriegn policy trends, trade disputes and emerging areas of economic cooperation. EWI facilitated a series of meetings for the U.S. delegation, which included a productive meeting with Wang Qishan, vice president of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People. The delegates also met with Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs; Dai Bingguo, former state councilor of the People’s Republic of China; and Lu Kang, director of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. delegates visited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and met with their president, Jin Liqun, as well as the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University to engage prominent scholars on the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Jeremy de Beer
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is the new high-water mark in international intellectual property (IP) law. CUSMA includes most of the Trans-Pacific Partnership provisions that were suspended in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, except for a few pharmaceutical-related provisions amended after signing. Canada will be required to make meaningful changes to domestic IP laws, including copyright term extension, criminal penalties for tampering with digital rights management information, restoration of patent terms to compensate for administrative and regulatory delays, broader and longer protection for undisclosed testing data and other data, new civil and criminal remedies for the misappropriation of trade secrets, and additional powers for customs officials to seize and destroy IP-infringing goods.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Intellectual Property/Copyright, NAFTA, USMCA
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Akshay Mathur, Purvaja Modak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been a shift in global trade from trade in goods to trade in services. Unlike goods, services are intangible and consumed by the user directly, without intermediate supervision. Thus, the only way to ensure the quality of a service is to enforce standards on the service provider. This is the responsibility of domestic sector-specific regulatory institutions established by the government. This paper examines the current state of services trade in India and Canada, considers India’s services trade with Canada and outlines a number of measures the countries could take to support services trade.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Services, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Don Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Like foreign policy, trade policy is the outward expression of domestic policy — both economic and social — and trade negotiations are to advance the national interest. Both India and Canada have important commercial interests in digital trade and both have counterbalancing social policy concerns, but they have important differences as well. Their equitable participation in digital trade must overcome an imbalanced competitive landscape through measures to facilitate access to technology and infrastructure, financing, and training in digital technology literacy and data-based business models. As yet, there is no international consensus on how trade rules should be adapted to foster digital trade. Consistent with the Track 1.5 Dialogue objectives, this paper calls on Canada and India to partner and lead in advancing the digital trade agenda. It recommends creating a bilateral process to identify common causes and areas for collaboration; convening a business-to-business conversation supported with research and analysis; and focusing on the impact of digital technology, looking at not only electronic commerce but also trade in traditional service sectors.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Digital Economy, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Amit Bhandari
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The energy sectors of India and Canada complement each other: India is a large and growing oil importer, while Canada is a large and growing exporter of oil and gas. However, as they invested in oil fields across the world, Indian oil companies have missed out on the Canada story. Investing in Canada’s oil sector can help India guard against the risk of spikes in oil prices and provide Canada with long-term demand security. In this paper, first presented as a backgrounder at Track 1.5 meetings in Mumbai, India, in November 2019, Gateway House outlines its findings on the feasibility of Indian investment in Canada’s petroleum sector, suggesting a path forward and best prospects for investment.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Gas, Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Silvia Maciunas
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The environmental chapter in the newly ratified Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) builds on the environmental chapters of its predecessors: the North American Free Trade Agreement and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Although CUSMA contains greater environmental provisions in the form of pollution prevention, the control of toxic substances and illegal fishing, and the conservation of wild flora and fauna, it fails to address climate change, the most critical challenge of our time.
  • Topic: Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, NAFTA, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Judit Fabian
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: International trade is often framed in starkly divergent terms: either countries choose multilateral trade agreements (MTAs) and advance the cause of global economic liberalization, or they choose preferred trade agreements (PTAs) and put the entire system at risk. Canada has a long track record of pursuing PTAs and with the Trump administration’s opposition to multilateralism, and longstanding opposition in elements of the Republican and Democratic parties, this trend will likely continue. The question is whether progress will come at the expense of the global trade system. Some economists believe PTAs to be trade-diverting, reducing trade with more efficient producers outside the agreement. Others insist that PTAs can create trade by shifting production to lower-cost producers in one of the participating countries. One prominent contrary argument holds that PTAs lead to discontinuities in tariff regimes between countries and regions, increasing transaction costs, disrupting supply chains, creating opportunities for corruption and harming global welfare, especially in developing nations. While debate continues about the effects of PTAs, a closer examination suggests that worries are overblown about their negative impacts on global trade flows. Evidence indicates that they support rather than harm the international trading system. Countries shut out of PTAs are more motivated to seek out agreements in new markets, increasing liberalization overall. They may also seek a reduction in most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs, which would deprive PTAs of their major tariff benefits. Studies have found complementarity between preferential and MFN tariffs, revealing that PTAs promote external trade liberalization. Even if a PTA reduces a given country’s incentive to push for multilateral liberalization, it raises the odds of that country liberalizing its trade to avoid getting left behind. PTAs are a response to the difficulties of securing sweeping multilateral agreements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements authorize them under GATT Article XXIV, GATS Article V, and the enabling clause, and the WTO facilitates a degree of governance over PTAs through its dispute settlement process. Over the past 25 years, countries have adopted these deals at a rapid pace. Between 1994 and 2005, the number of PTAs increased from 50 to 200. By April 2018, 336 were in effect. At the same time, global trade has increased significantly. Between 1994 and 2010, the volume of world merchandise exports more than doubled. The proliferation of PTAs has resulted in a rise in international trade governance, because the countries involved shape their relationships in line with the WTO agreements. This juridification makes PTAs subordinate to the international system rather than giving them room to dissolve it. Canada should therefore have no fear of pursuing PTAs within the larger framework of the effort to achieve multilateral trade liberalization.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nan Tian, Fei Su
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Quantitative research on the finances of the Chinese arms industry has been limited by the scarcity of available data. A scoping study to estimate the financial value of the arms sales of companies in the Chinese arms industry—using a new methodology—found information on four companies: the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), the China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC) and the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO). These four companies cover three main sectors of conventional arms production: aircraft, electronics and land systems. The estimates suggest that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States and ahead of Russia. All four of the profiled companies would be ranked among the 20 largest arms-producing and military services companies globally in 2017, with three—AVIC, NORINCO and CETC—in the top 10. The new methodology improves the understanding of the structure, size and evolution of the global arms industry.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Weapons , Arms Trade, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou, Lisa Marie Dellmuth, Kevin M. Adams, Tina-Simone Neset, Nina von Uexkull
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Assessing the prospects for Zero Hunger—Sustainable Development Goal 2—requires an understanding of food security that goes beyond developmental or humanitarian issues, to include linkages with geopolitics. Geopolitical challenges cut across areas such as natural resources, trade, armed conflict and climate change where unilateralism and zero-sum approaches to security directly hamper efforts to eradicate hunger and undermine the frameworks that govern those efforts. The report provides an overview of how geopolitics interacts with these areas. Competition for agricultural resources can be both a cause and a consequence of geopolitical rivalry. International trade, while essential for food security, also creates vulnerabilities through supply disruptions—sometimes politically motivated. Armed conflict is a driver of food insecurity, which can itself feed into social unrest and violence. Climate change interacts with all three phenomena, reshaping both the physical landscape and political calculus. These overlapping linkages require further integrated policy engagement and analysis.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Food Security, Geopolitics, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China’s cooperation with the Western Balkans through the “17+1” format and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among others, is primarily political. In the economic sphere, Chinese investments are to a large extent only declarations, and trade is marginal in comparison to cooperation with the EU or others. China’s goals are to gain political influence in future EU countries and limit their cooperation with the U.S. Competition with China in the region requires more intense EU-U.S. cooperation, made more difficult by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Balkans