Entries by Andrea Durkin

Facing Sanctions, Iran’s Oil Tankers Go Dark

On November 5, U.S. sanctions went into effect that target Iran’s energy, shipping, and banking sectors, including vessels and banks called out by name. Ahead of the November deadline, Iranian oil tankers moving supplies offshore went “dark” in unprecedented numbers, trying to cloak their movements.

The New Blueprint for U.S.-Backed Development Financing

The BUILD Act enjoyed bipartisan support in the Congress because it represents to many in the development policy community a smarter, more modern way to advance development objectives. The new development financing agency it creates will also provide an alternative to China’s aggressive financing of infrastructure projects in developing markets.

The Global Space Economy is Taking Off Like a Rocket

Until recently, the gains from commercial use of space manifested primarily in the growing use of satellites that enable precise navigational maps in your car and the dish on your roof to channel satellite television into your home. A new era is dawning in which private companies routinely launch payloads into space. We’re a long way off from having the framework of rules we might need here on Earth to accommodate the take off of the global space industry.

How Does China Cheat? The White House Counts the Ways

In its June 2018 report, the White House creates a taxonomy of ways the Chinese government acquires American technologies and intellectual property to aggrandize Chinese productive capabilities, stand on the shoulders of American innovation, siphon information from open and proprietary sources, and enlist Chinese nationals to accrue knowledge through research arms of universities and companies in the United States.

From the Bible to Chairman Mao’s Quotations: How Trade Agreements Can Promote Global Book Publishing

The popularity of American novels, textbooks, and scholarly works is driving efforts to translate and sell U.S.-published books in countries around the world. Digital publishing offers access to many more consumers beyond our borders. The main challenge to global expansion is the need to promote modern copyright regimes in the countries where publishers seek to sell more books

A Brush with Unfair Trade

It’s not so easy to find paint-by-number kits these days outside of the Smithsonian Museum of American History, though there’s a limited selection on Amazon. Who makes the brushes, canvases, and little tubs of plastic acrylic paints? Half of the world’s brushes and painting canvases are shipped from China. Here’s a story about how digging into the source of your favorite hobby materials can lead you on a tale of unfair trade.

A Breakthrough in Arctic Trade Routes

Polar caps in the Arctic are receding, creating access to new trade routes for parts of the year. The routes are valuable short cuts for global trade but the waterways are precarious to navigate with unpredictable weather, the need for specialized icebreaking ships, and the necessity to operate at slower speeds, all of which make the routes less commercially reliable and partially offset the savings in time and fuel. So why are Russia and China racing other major powers to gain control of these waterways?

Trump Upped the Ante in High Stakes Game of Tariff Poker

The biggest chunk of tariffs in the Great Tariff War of 2018 is between the United States and China, beginning with two rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs worth around $50 billion against one another. The United States just raised on the ante by another $200 billion. China will not fold; they will go “all in” in this poker game, but we don’t know what that means yet as they hold their cards close.