Recent Trade Developments — Most Important — U.S. – Cuban Relations.



      As the year draws to a close  significant global trade developments continue to happen. But the most important one has been President Obama’s new diplomacy with Cuba which portends the opening of trade and investment with Cuba. (Still need Congressional authorization on many aspects of trade relations). Other developments concern FOREX investigations, newer WTO decisions concerning the U.S. and China, some backsliding on approving the Information Technology Agreement, and newer U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Here are the specifics:
….. This is a major reversal by the WTO Appellate Body of panel recommendations that had favored the U.S. in litigation brought by China over U.S. subsidies concerning Chinese state-owner enterprises. New AB Decisions U.S.  – China.” WTO News (December 18, 2014).
….. Obama’s new Cuban policy. Greater trade & commerce always promotes change. Trade policy and diplomacy when working together promotes individual well-being & national security. Need to overcome narrow interest groups focused on their own economic interests. This newer direction of American foreign policy is welcomed for this new century. Trade Will Lead to Freedom.” Wall Street Journal (December 18, 2014).
….. Obama foreign policy … A break from the past. More engagement and more trade. A developing theme in US foreign policy & diplomacy.New Cuban Policy — Throws Obama Foreign Policy into Sharp Relief.” Washington Post (December 18, 2014).
….. Largest foreign corruption case ever by Justice against a multinational. $700m. Investigations span the globe applying US law. “Alston Near $700 million Settlement.” Wall Street Journal (December 16, 2014).
….. I wonder if a better way to go is to settle the case as the EU did in the China-E.U. photovoltaic case. Another problem — China can just move its production to low-cost countries in SE Asia. “China Criticizes Steep U.S. Tariffs on Solar Panels.” New York Times(December 16, 2014).
….. Cities can become more important to regional economic development by increasing their global activities.About the Global Cities Initiative.” (Brookings website).
….. Failure of Chinese & US diplomatic trade negotiators.Boring tariff issues still important in trade relations.Try again. Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and China.” New York Times (December 12, 2014).
….. Have US workers benefited from higher duties on China solar panels?‘s US firms producing abroad. Not what our trade laws supposed to do.Solar Panels and China.” New York Times (December 11, 2014).
….. So far $8.9bn for violation of US sanctions by int’l banks this year. Investigations by US, NY State. Need more of this. “Commerzbank US settlement set to top $1bn Financial Times (December 11, 2014).
….. Did the use of algorithms in FOREX platforms suggests a systemic rather than rogue reason for FOREX scandal?Could increase bank fines by millions.NY Investigates Barclays.” CNBC News (December 11, 2014).


About Stuart Malawer

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