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March Madness Edition

As we head into Sweet Sixteen weekend, we first take a look at how trade neogtiators, much like basketball fans, depend on brackets. Unlike college basketball, in trade negotiations, “busting brackets” means achieving agreement. We provide an overview of how negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) move from sessions involving all 164 “players” on the court to a single agreed text. Also this week, read Four Ways Trade is Like the NCAA Tourney and Who’s Footing the Bill for Shoe Tariffs?

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Bracketology: Drafting Trade Agreements

The art of bracketology is crucial in both March Madness and trade negotiations. Consensus is the goal, as trade negotiation texts move from “plenary” sessions with all 164 players on the court to a single agreed text, often with the help of chairperson who serves at turns as coach, referee, and cheerleader for the negotiations.

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Who’s Footing the Tariff Bill?

U.S. footwear production dates as far back as 1750, but today 98 percent of shoes are manufactured abroad. Historically, footwear tariffs have been out of step with the United States’ general approach to free trade. High tariffs on products like shoes hit low-income families the hardest – particularly those with children – as these families spend the highest share of their incomes on home goods that tend to be imported.

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Four Ways Trade is Like March Madness

Trade policy is at a historical crossroads — a jump ball, as it were. As we enjoy the NCAA Tournament, let’s look at four similarities between trade and college basketball.

Farmer collects arabica coffee beans at the plantation in Taizz, Yemen.

Great Reads for Trade Geeks

Want to curl up with some good trade stories? We’ve got two recommendations. First is the Monk of Mohka, the miraculous true story of a young Yemeni-American man who grew up in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods and overcame seemingly impossible obstacles to export coffee from Yemen in the midst of a raging civil war. Second is the Spring 2019 edition of Lapham’s Quarterly dedicated to the topic of trade. The magazine takes you through time on the journey of global trade through the eyes of those who trade.

Farmer collects arabica coffee beans at the plantation in Taizz, Yemen.

Trade and Conversation: A Book Review of the Monk of Mokha

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers, the miraculous true story of a young Yemeni-American man who grew up in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods and overcame seemingly impossible obstacles to export coffee from Yemen in the midst of a raging civil war.

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Lapham’s Quarterly on Trade

If you haven’t been in a bookstore lately, now is the time to close up your laptop and seek out the Spring 2019 edition of Lapham’s Quarterly dedicated to the topic of trade. The journal takes you through time through the eyes of those who trade, from an Assyrian king to an American mink maker testifying last year on the impact of a tariff war with China.

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The Art of Trade

Beauty in art – and the shape of our food – is in the eye of the beholder. Boston is experiencing Frida Fever thanks to the Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts’ first-ever Frida Kahlo exhibit. Kahlo helped make Mexican folk art famous. Now the artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. We take a closer look at the art of trade, and also look at the rise of “ugly” produce, food standards in global trade, and food waste.

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Frida Fever: Kahlo Exhibit Highlights the Art of Trade

Frida Kahlo helped make Mexican folk art famous. The artisan sector is now the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. International trade in artisan goods more than doubled between 2002 and 2012. Growing numbers of foundations, corporations, and banks view the artisan entrepreneur arena as an investable sector.

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Do Food Standards Inhibit Trade in Ugly Produce?

“Ugly” produce is a local trend serving a niche market. But if it does go global, there are a number of changes that would need to be made to standards at international, national and retailer levels on how we define what food “should” look like.