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?
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.
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.
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.
Selling more to China has been one of the hottest topics since the beginning of the Obama Presidency. Though exports to China have trebled since an agreement to support U.S. manufacturers was reached in 2005, the trade deficit continues to grow. A renewed push from within China is providing hope for accelerating U.S. export growth.
On May 19, the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) joined with free-trade zones and associations from around the world to promote trade, development, and the rule of law by launching the World Free Zones Organization (WFZO) at a public event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
A metaphor for President Obama's recent trip to Asia was the widely aired game of soccer he had with a Japanese robot. In essence, Japan made Obama kick the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — which unites 12 economies around the Pacific Rim — down the road as trade talks stalled. How important is TPP to American trade?
International trade is anticipated to expand by 4.5 percent this year and 5.2 percent in 2015.(1) This is supported by the world’s growing middle class, whose numbers are projected to rise by one billion by 2020, and whose purchasing power will more than double by 2030.(2) But will America’s ports be able to handle the increase in volume transported by larger Post-Panamax vessels?
Trade bills do not seem to be moving any faster through Congress than other legislation these days. But with an executive order on February 19, President Obama took a welcome step toward facilitating the freer flow of goods across the U.S. border. The White House order reduces supply-chain barriers to commerce that can inhibit the exchange of goods just as much as tariffs and quotas.
Did Harry Reid kill the trade agenda? The Senate Majority Leader is no champion of economic freedom to be sure, but his opposition to the fast track bill (trade promotion authority) doesn’t kill it. It merely strengthens the hand of his colleagues who might support a more protectionist version of the legislation. It’s an invitation to negotiate.
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