WITA’s Friday Focus on Trade | April 14, 2023




WITA Hosts Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,

Director-General of the WTO

On April 12, WITA was honored to host the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Director General gave remarks focused on post-pandemic “re-globalization” and the importance of bringing “countries and communities from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy…and diversifying supply networks [to] make them more robust and resilient.”
Following her formal remarks, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala sat down for an armchair discussion with Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at JP Morgan & Chase Co.
04/12/2023 | Washington International Trade Association

WITA Hosts Panel Discussion on the

Role of the WTO in a Net Zero Future

Prior to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s remarks on April 12, a panel discussion was held on the Role of the WTO in a Net Zero Future.
Panel Discussants:
Linda Dempsey, Vice President, Public Affairs, CF Industries
Angela Ellard, Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization
Jennifer A. Hillman, Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law Center, and Former Member of the WTO Appellate Body
Kelly Milton, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources
Moderator: Maureen Hinman, Co-Founder, Chairman, Silverado Policy Accelerator
04/12/2023 | Washington International Trade Association

Fight Against Climate Change Will Worsen Existing Inequality in Global Trade

Developed countries of the world are reneging on free trade in the name of climate change, says a new analysis and the subject of its latest cover story by Down To Earth (DTE) magazine.
Armed with massive subsidies and tariffs, the US and EU are leading this trend towards protectionism. This may change the global trade system as we know it.
Avantika Goswami, the writer of the DTE report and programme manager for climate change at the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said:
In the race to build low-carbon economies, countries are introducing policies to speed up the transition from fossil fuels, promote manufacturing of clean energy technologies and decarbonise industries. On the face of it, this race appears to be part of the global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But they have also sparked fears of trade wars, as governments on the pretext of climate action try to reshore green industries and dominate the global supply chain of goods and technologies essential to avert a climate catastrophe.
CSE, which helps publish DTE, recently organised an international webinar on the subject, which was addressed by Rob Davies, former minister of trade and industry in South Africa; Paul Butarbutar, executive director, Indonesia Centre for Renewable Energy Studies; Katie Gallogly-Swan, economic affairs officer, UNCTAD; Apratim Sahay, senior policy manager, Green New Deal Network; Sunita Narain, director general, CSE and editor of DTE; and Goswami.
In August 2022, the US passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — a bill offering about $370 billion in subsidies, mainly through tax credits over 10 years, for renewable energy, electric vehicles, energy-efficient appliances, carbon capture and storage and clean hydrogen.
This has rankled other green technology manufacturing powers like the EU, South Korea and Japan, which fear that their companies may jump ship and expand business in North America.
“Developing countries like India cannot match the IRA’s scale of subsidies. If we take the example of electric vehicles (EVs) in our country, there are three incentive schemes that are offered — the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore; and two Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes of Rs25,398 crore (automotive sector including EVs) and Rs 18,100 crore (battery storage), respectively,” Goswami said.
There is also the question of access to critical minerals. Prices of minerals in the global market are set by the big players.
China is the biggest buyer today. Once the US enters this race for its own domestic manufacturing on a large scale, India will have to aggressively scale up its EV production to command prices on its own terms.
CSE experts suggest that India should focus on the EV sectors in which it has a ready domestic market — two-wheelers and three-wheelers, which constitute 63 per cent and 34 per cent of the domestic EV market.
It can also become a hub for recycling of spent batteries, which will enable it to recover the processed critical minerals that it is currently lacking.
03/01/2023 | DTE Staff | DownToEarth

China’s Overseas Ports Acquisition Program

China is a powerhouse in global trade. Its rapid growth has been significantly fuelled by decades of rising exports, bringing new emphasis to the role ports play in trade and strategic relations.
As the main arteries of global trade, economic entry points, and nodes of geostrategic power projection, ports are key to global and regional economies, connecting land and sea. In recent years, increasing Chinese investments in foreign ports have attracted media attention. The concentration of these highly strategic investments has lent legitimacy to fears that the means of global trade, once decentralised, have been slowly accumulating in a handful of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
According to researchers from the United States Naval War College and Indiana University, Chinese and Hong Kong-based companies own or operate (in terminal leases or concessions) more than 90 ports in 53 countries. Other estimates suggest that China has investments or similar arrangements in over 100 ports with at least one in every continent except Antarctica.
China’s overseas investments in ports
Most of the port investments are along the National Development and Reform Commission’s three “blue economic passages.” The first passage links China to the Indian Ocean, Africa, and the Mediterranean; the second passage links China to Australia and the Southern Pacific; and the third passage links China to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.
The main Chinese investors in overseas ports and terminals are SOEs – prized national conglomerates with direct links to and controls within the Communist Party apparatus. One of the largest Chinese SOE investors in foreign ports is China Shipping Corporation (COSCO), the world’s largest terminal operator. Most of its port investments can be found in developed countries and along major global shipping routes. China Merchants Group (CMG), China’s other major port investor, by contrast has invested in emerging markets.
According to a 2020 Nikkei Asia report, between 2010 and 2019, Chinese companies, like COSCO and CMG, invested in 25 port projects in 18 countries, spending almost US$11 billion overseas.
04/06/2023 | Genevieve Donnellon-May | Australian Institute of International Affairs


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