Newer Trade Issues — Internet Censorship & State Economic Incentives.

     Interesting developments in trade relations recently — success at Bali, more criticism of  U.S. trade negotiations as not being forward-looking enough, renewed debate over use of state trade incentives in the United States, and novel proposals by some to further U.S. trade via the WTO and bilateral / regional treaties to include Internet censorship and censorship generally as trade issues. Arguing here that censorship impedes the flow of ideas that are integral to the global economy and development. (Also arguing that the “National-Treatment Principle and the “National Security Exception” within the WTO disciplines should not apply in these cases.) Here are some addition details: 
    • The successful conclusion of the WTO talks in Bali should breath new life into multilateral negotiations, maybe. The significance of this accomplishment should not be underestimated. “Bali Breathes Life into Global Trade.” Financial Times (12.9.13).
    • Good discussion of Obama’s trade policy as of late 2013. There is a need to advance the 21st-century trade agenda by dismantling America’s 19th century era protections.” “Obama Cannot Lead from Behind on Trade.” Financial Times (12.9.13). 
    • The issue of state economic incentives in promoting the retention and relocation of firms (as well as in promoting exports and inward foreign investment) has arisen again in the emerging bidding war between the states for Boeing’s assembly operation of its new airlines 777X. “Boeing and State Tax Breaks.Wall Street Journal (December 10, 2013).
    •  Really interesting article suggesting that the WTO and trade agreements adopt the issue of Internet censorship and censorship generally as a trade issue since free exchange of ideas is integral to the global economy. This would add to existing calls for labor, environment, etc. to be included in evolving trade law. “Trade Can Break Down China’s Great Firewall.’ Washington post (December 11, 2013).

About Stuart Malawer

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