Topic Category: Trade & Finance

President Obama’s Dec. 17, 2014, announcement that the United States will re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years is a paradigm shift that offers some immediate opportunities for the trade community. However, the more meaningful step of removing the longstanding U.S. economic embargo against Cuba will have to be taken by Congress.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is bullish on the trade agenda. But his estimate of completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in March discounts the possibility that Congress will issue tough demands in its Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. A congressional mandate to include enforceable “currency manipulation” provisions in trade agreements, for example, would push completion of the TPP into the next administration or kill it altogether.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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The 114th Congress features a Republican majority that is larger than any since 1928 and ready to flex that GOP muscle. While a Democratic White House could create speed bumps to GOP efforts to advance certain legislative initiatives, both sides have said trade policy is an issue where they might find common ground.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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Most economists agree that free trade works better than restricted trade to increase the size of the economic pie. By enlarging markets to span national borders, free trade increases the pool of potential producers, consumers, partners, and investors, which permits greater specialization and economies of scale — both essential ingredients of per capita economic growth.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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In 2013, the United States exported merchandise to Mexico valued at $226.2 billion, nearly the same amount as U.S. exports to China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia combined. This surprises many since Mexico, the second largest U.S. export market, has an economy less than one-tenth the size of the United States’ and its population of 123 million is the world’s 11th largest. But the benefits don’t end there.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones have emerged as a valuable platform for U.S. exports and an attractive home for the re-shoring of manufacturing activity, according to the most recent report from the U.S. FTZ Board. In its Annual Report to Congress released in August, the FTZ Board reported that FTZ activity in 2013 reached new highs for merchandise received in zones, exports and employment.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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Various international organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations and the Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD) are sounding the alarm over what appears to be a sharp increase in protectionism around the world. These rising barriers to trade result, in part, in less global business, slower economic growth, and poor job gains. They also weaken the global economic recovery. What is the impact on your business?

Topic: Trade & Finance
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These days, America competing with China is like an American runner competing against a Chinese runner, except that the American runner has to carry an anvil. It may be against the rules, but there's little anyone can do about it. The Chinese have the advantage. But let’s not delude ourselves about China's aims.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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With all the barriers stacked up against American entrepreneurs, a bright spot has been access to working capital through the Export-Import Bank, which is essential if American exporters are to compete in the global marketplace. Ex-Im provides working capital guarantees, insurance and direct loans to American manufacturers, helping to open new foreign markets that allow the U.S. economy to grow, while creating good-paying jobs.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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U.S. economic growth dipped 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and is unlikely to exceed 2 percent this year. Projections for the European Union (EU), at 1.6 percent, and Emerging Markets, at 4.9 percent, also remain low, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Nevertheless, Emerging Market projections are considerably higher than the United States’. Consequently, for many U.S. firms interested in higher returns, international expansion is essential.

Topic: Trade & Finance
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