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.
About Andrea Durkin
Andrea Durkin is the Editor-in-Chief of TradeVistas and Founder of Sparkplug, LLC. Ms. Durkin previously served as a U.S. Government trade negotiator and has proudly taught international trade policy and negotiations for the last fourteen years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.
Entries by Andrea Durkin
There are some in the United States who are frustrated with the administration’s willingness to toss out the traditional trade policy playbook, but if trade talks over soybeans and intellectual property protections can be leveraged to address illicit trade in deadly fentanyl, we can all get on board with that.
Most Americans feel uncertain about the benefits of trade and trade policies for our own communities. In national polls, the higher the level of uncertainty, the increased likelihood individuals will check the “I don’t know” box.
The current administration’s use of Section 232 to impose trade-restrictive measures on imports of steel and aluminum has become the source of increasing domestic discontent among steel-using industries, farmers who are the target of retaliatory tariffs, and Members of Congress who are reconsidering having delegated powers over trade to the President. It has also put WTO dispute settlement to an unwelcome test.
Technology has enabled us to tap into a global labor pool of remote workers anywhere in the world there’s a good Internet connection. 48 million workers registered their services on online outsourcing sites in 2013, according to the World Bank.
China went from a net importer of critical intermediary goods such as glass, paper, steel, and auto parts, to becoming the leading producer and dominant global exporter of these products. How could this seismic shift occur in industries where China does not maintain a particular advantage in labor, technology, or natural resources? The answer in large part is subsidization of Chinese production in the form of state-directed capital flows.
After a decade of setting the topic aside in the WTO, concerns appear to be rising to surface again that certain anti-competitive government practices may not be covered sufficiently – or at all – by provisions in global trade agreements.
Chicken trade has been a sore spot in bilateral agricultural trade since 2004 when the United States and China banned each other’s poultry products after an outbreak of avian flu. If these long-simmering disputes are resolved in the context of ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, millions of Chinese could again see American chicken feet grace the dim sum buffet at Chinese New Year festivities.
Manufacturers of labor-intensive products like apparel have already been looking elsewhere in Asia as labor costs continue to rise in China. China has not substantially increased market access for foreign investors in many sectors, causing foreign investment to slow or flatline in recent years. With lingering doubts about the worsening investment climate in China, the trade war is hastening decision-making that had already been underway.
The outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) single market and customs union has broad implications for the UK economy and its terms of trade with the rest of the world. “Brexit Day” on March 29 next year is drawing near. Here’s a timeline of key events and milestones between 2015 and 2018 and what we should be on the lookout for in the first quarter of 2019.