Late December saw some very interesting trade developments. They include a presidential vow to normalize diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba and an apparent cyber attack by N. Korea on Sony. Discussions continue concerning the TPP and making more relevant the WTO on its 20th anniversary as to negotiating new trade rules. Discussions also continue concerning China’s desire to be seen as a ‘responsible party and stakeholder’ in the global system in light of its own economic cyberespionage. These developments will continue to play out in the new year. Needless to say global trade relations constantly change and pose new challenges for global governance.
…. WTO 20 years today. Great success in dispute settlement. Less so in writing new trade rules. Need to do better. “WTO Celebrates 20 Years.” WTO News (January 1, 2015).
…. USTR Froman points out that the Obama administration has brought 18 cases of unfair trade practices in the WTO and 9 were against China. He hopes to convince Democrats that the administration is a tough trade enforcer so they would support the TPP negotiations and extend ‘fast track.’ But he refuses to include enforceable sanctions on currency manipulators in the trade negotiations. Fearing Federal Reserve policies might become reviewable by a WTO panel. “Obama’s Trade Chief and TPP.” New York Times (December 31, 2014).
…. Republicans argue Obama needs to persuade Congress more in order to succeed on trade. “Trade Opportunity for Obama and Congress.” Wall Street Journal (December 28, 2014).
….. New book argues that the greatest transfer of wealth ever was caused by China’s economic cyber espionage. “Book Review — Military-Internet Complex. “Washington Post (December 28, 2014).
…. People forget that it was the Cuban nationalization of US. corporate-owned property that precipitated the Cuban embargo. That nationalization was in violation of international law that required prompt, adequate and effective compensation. Compensation will probably be one of the first issues resolved during President Obama’s normalcy of Cuban relations. Settlement of claims and diplomatic recognition of governments are squarely within the foreign affairs powers of the President. U.S. diplomatic history and foreign policy are clear on these issues. “Cuban Seizures Present Opportunities.” New York Times (December 21, 2014).