The surprise move by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to weaken the Chinese yuan by nearly two percent against the U.S. dollar on August 11th was met globally with shock. Red ink was flowing on Wall Street and on stock markets worldwide. The effects are sure to hit Main Street in the coming weeks and months. Why did the PBOC act now?
It’s very disappointing that the Senate could not find the will to attach a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (“Exim”) to the only “must pass” piece of legislation in July. Now, Exim will not be in a position to help American companies with new projects until September or October at the earliest. And the longer we go without an Export Credit Agency, the bleaker the outlook.
To Secure Trade Promotion Authority last month, President Obama and Republican congressional leadership had to pay off Washington’s protectionism lobby. Part of the payment was enactment of the American Trade Enforcement Effectiveness Act, which reduces the burden of proof on domestic industries seeking protection from import competition under the U.S. Antidumping and Countervailing Duty laws.
After a bruising political battle, Congress has passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which sets out a framework for President Obama to negotiate trade agreements and have Congress vote yes or no on them, without any amendments. First up in the queue will almost certainly be the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12 nation trade pact that has been under negotiation for the past few years, and is almost complete.
In the works are two new major free trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership involving the United States and 11 other Pacific-bordering nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the U.S. and European Union. But the question that continues to be asked is this: Are these agreements good for the United States?
For most U.S. business owners, it makes sense to put foreign invoicing and receivables in U.S. dollars. It’s simple and manageable. However, in today’s volatile foreign exchange market, this strategy may not be the ideal option for a number of reasons. As a result, the decision to invoice foreign customers in U.S. dollars should be reconsidered in light of recent trends.
Senate Democrats demonstrated once again that Congress just can’t see the forest for the trees. They have proven exactly why President Obama did not want the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to be the focal point of a fight over Fast Track Authority. He was worried that a debate on Fast Track would devolve into a feeding frenzy over the TPP. He was right.
As debate over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is heating up, the White House, and some commentators, have weighed in with an argument for this trade pact that has nothing to do with economics: We need the TPP, they say, because without it, China will impose its own trade rules on the region, and those rules will undermine American trade values.
The upcoming congressional debate over Trade Promotion Authority gives our elected officials in Washington the chance to create new opportunities and open new markets for American small businesses around the world. I, along with millions of other small-business owners, hope they succeed and pass this critical legislation.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was passed by Congress in 2000. It was intended to boost the global competitiveness of sub-Saharan African nations by giving them duty-free access to the U.S. market for all goods covered under the Generalized System of Preferences, plus an additional 4,000 items. Fifteen years later, however, we haven’t seen huge imports from any of the AGOA countries. Why is that?
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