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Wringing the Water from Tariff Schedules

Every policy realm has its jargon. Trade policy is no exception. The difference between a country’s weighted average bound tariff and its weighted average applied tariff is called “water in the tariff schedule”. It’s a topic of discussion in WTO negotiations over what the starting point for tariff cuts should be.

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Weathering the China Tariffs: How Your Macs and Wellies are Faring

In September last year, the Trump Administration finalized a list of $200 billion in imported goods subject to tariffs. The list included rubberized textile fabrics, affecting water resistant clothing. Find out how apparel and footwear companies are weathering the storm of tariffs on imports from China.

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Time to Renew the WTO

The bountiful show of cherry blossoms in Washington DC is a reliable harbinger of spring renewal. When they bloom in Japan, communities pause to appreciate their beauty and reflect on renewal. As WTO members start to design critical reforms to the global trading system, they should carry a renewed commitment to its future and a renewed vision to match that of its founders.

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Have Trade “Preference” Programs Kept Up with the Times?

The concept of creating a generalized, non-reciprocal system of preferences for developing countries dates back to 1968. But enabling legitimate forms of discrimination has predictably had positive and negative consequences and there’s little economic data to demonstrate the programs have accrued significant benefits.

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Breaking Bad Trade: Fentanyl from China

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.

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Do Steel Tariffs Undermine Safe Energy Infrastructure?

U.S. energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KM) started construction on the Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Project in May 2018. Estimated to cost $1.75 billion, the pipeline will span 514 miles in Texas and aims to increase the United States’ ability to export liquefied natural gas to Mexico. The administration’s steep tariffs on imported steel could throw a major wrench into the pipeline project.

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China’s Industrial Policies and Trade Rules – If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em?

Discussions are now underway as to whether EU antitrust policies need to be relaxed in order to allow greater latitude to meet the challenge posed by Chinese mega-firms.

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Is Public Opinion Turning Against Tariffs?

New public opinion research shows that the majority of Americans worry the tariffs will do more harm than good for the economy.

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A High Wire Act: The Trump Administration and Section 232

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.

Feeding China’s State-Owned Enterprises With Government Cash

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.