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.
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.
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.
Export controls are not a new idea. They date back to at least the 14th century when the English tried to keep longbow technology out of the hands of the French during the Hundred Years War. Today, we face a very different world with multiple adversaries, including non-state actors, and no strong consensus on how or when to act.
China’s cybersecurity law can be used as a form of “backdoor” trade retaliation to hurt U.S. firms in China.
Countries that have hosted the Olympics — and even those that bid and lose — enjoy a permanent increase in national exports of around 30 percent. That’s potentially more impactful than entering into trade agreements.
The truth about trade agreements is that they’re almost never just about trade. The United States’ free trade agreement with South Korea is no exception.
New WTO members Afghanistan and Liberia are cheerleaders for other countries seeking WTO membership, including Iraq, Somalia and Timor-Leste. These countries are resolved to rebuild their post-conflict economies and believe that making commitments in the WTO will undergird necessary, but difficult, economic reforms at home.
In 1944, the global economy was in shambles. Forty-four nations gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to discuss how to rebuild an economy devastated by protracted depression and two World Wars. From these discussions emerged a 1947 agreement on a lasting framework for post-war commercial relations whereby trade barriers were contained and then gradually reduced over time.
We often talk about “trade wars,” but in the era of a rules-based trading system the phrase typically refers to the use of tariffs or import restrictions to inflict economic harm. It was not always so. Before the GATT and its design for the peaceful settlement of commercial disputes, the use of military power in international economics was commonplace. Take the case of the fight over control of nutmeg production in the 1660s.