Ever-Expanding Topics within Global Trade — A Dynamic and Critical Aspect of Global Politics.

                                     Global (Definition)

        A broad range of trade actions have occurred within the last few weeks impacting areas not recently addressed. They include among others: cyber espionage and new U.S. asset controls relating  to cyber espionage, new EU antitrust cases (Google and Gazprom), an emerging Obama doctrine for global issues, a new ‘Open-Skies’ dispute with Gulf airlines, geopolitical aspects of trade diplomacy, among others. These continue to demonstrate the broad range of ever-expanding topics impacting global trade and transactions.

  • The President issued a new Executive Order authorizing freezing of property of foreign nationals in the U.S. if they are involved in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, disruption of computer networks, or stealing trade secrets for commercial or competitive gain. This is the application of U.S. trade sanctions (under IEEPA) to foreign activity outside of the U.S. that has an effect within the U.S. Just the latest example. Executive Order — “Blocking the Property of Certain Person Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.” (April 1, 2015). 
  • The EU is now going after Google for antitrust violations for manipulating search results and Apple for manipulating tax transactions. U.S. technology multinationals are under heavy scrutiny by the EU. Aggressive compared to the U.S. and its general acquiescence. “EU Antitrust and Tax and Google and Apple.New York Times (April 3, 2015).
  • TPP & TPA need to be concluded by the President and Congress. They are in our national interest. “Why Asian Trade Deal Matters.New York Times ( 4.4.15). 
  • Friedman argues that the ‘Obama Doctrine’ in foreign affairs is ‘engagement.’ In the context of Myanmar, Cuba and Iran it is recognizing that trade sanctions should be lifted to establish diplomatic relations. In the case of Cuba they have failed and in case of Iran they have been somewhat success. (Need to keep in mind that many trade sanctions can only be lifted by the Congress.) “The Obama Doctrine and Iran.” New York Times (April 6, 2015).
  •  The AB of the WTO denied claims of Vietnam concerning U.S. antidumping duties on shrimp. “U.S. – Vietnam Shrimp.” WTO News (April 7, 2015). 
  • As geopolitical tensions grows so do cyber attacks. Firms may be attacked for reasons totally unrelated to their business or for particular economic / commercial advantage. This latter is more prevalent for China than Russia which is more interested in traditional espionage. Cyber is a new domain and there is always conflict over a new domain. “Global Tension Increase Cyber Threat.Financial Times (April 10, 2015). 
  • Article 11 of the “Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transport (Model Open- Skies Agreement) [MALIAT]” governs “Fair Competition.” No specific language as to government subsidies. “Model Open Skies Agreement” (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Office of International Aviation) (January 2012).
  • In addition to the Google antitrust case brought by the EU Commission recently an action is now being filed against Gazprom. This seems to evidence that antitrust laws are not only used for business and trade reasons but to some extent geopolitical ones. Certainly such cases might very well have geopolitical consequences. “EU Poise to Unveil Antitrust Charges Against Russia’s Gazprom.Financial Times (April 21, 2015).



About Stuart Malawer

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