Trade Issues Just Keep Expanding — NSA Spying, Regulation, Financial Sanctions, ‘Fast Track’, FOREX, Torture / Corruption, Dodd-Frank …….

Global Trade (April 1, 2013)

    The last two weeks have seen increased opposition to ‘fast-track authority, increase growing concern over implications of NSA spying on trade negotiations, financial sanctions, and application of Dodd-Frank to foreign firms as well as concern of liability for foreign corruption and violation of human rights (torture) by U.S. corporations abroad. Here are some more details:
  • ‘Fast Track Authority’ is running into trouble in the Congress over proposed currency provisions and trade adjustment provisions. “Unholy Alliance.Financial Times (11.5.13).
  • Good statement that U.S. national security interests (NSA spying) needs to be balanced by global commercial interests of the U.S. especially the freedom of the Internet and competitiveness of U.S. Internet firms. “The NSA and the Internet.” Financial Times (Nov. 6, 2013). 
  • There is growing and significant opposition in the Congress to giving the Obama administration ‘fast-track authority‘ that threatens TTP and TTIP. “House Stalls Trade Pact Momentum.New York Times (11.13.13).
  • Global banks are now being investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice for foreign-currency exchange manipulation  (Forex). “U.S. Investigates Currency Trades of Major Banks.” New York Times (11.15.13).
  • There has been a growing recognition in the U.S. – EU TTIP negotiations that national (domestic) regulations need to be addressed as potential barriers to international trade. Those involve regulations especially concerning finance. In particular, this raises the issue of the application of Dodd-Frank to foreign financial institutions. These issues include among others those relating to capital requirements, derivatives and proprietary trading, and hedging. “Finance Discussion in Trade Talks with Europe.” New York Times (Nov. 16, 2013). 
  • It is interesting to note there seems to a contradiction in holding foreign corruption by U.S. firms abroad as illegal and subject to litigation in the U.S. while those same corporations accused of participating in torture abroad are not subject to U.S. legislation or jurisdiction. [Kiobel Case (S.Ct. 2013) as to torture overseas.] “Former Abu Ghraib Detainees File Appeal in Lawsuit Against CACI International.Washington Post (Nov. 18, 2013).  
  • Good discussion of U.S. financial sanctions and Iran. New book discusses use of ‘smart sanctions’ and asset freezes as tools of counter-terrorism and essential national security policies. However, they are not a game-changer, diplomacy and politics are still essential. “Treasury’s War.” Financial Times (11.18.13).

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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