WITA’s Friday Focus on Trade- November 17, 2023




Event Video – U.S. Revises Position on Key Digital Trade Rules

On Friday, November 17, WITA hosted a spirited discussion of the U.S. decisions to remove its support for proposals related to data flows, data localization, and source code in negotiations at the WTO, and the withdrawal of its proposal on non-discriminatory treatment of digital products. Panelists discussed these issues in depth and brought very different perspectives to the debate.
Featured Speakers:
Eric Adams, Founder and CEO, Dog & Whistle
Christine Bannan, U.S. Public Policy Manager, Proton
Sean Heather, Senior Vice President, International Regulatory Affairs & Antitrust, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Melinda St. Louis, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Moderator: Josh Meltzer, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; Governing Digital Trade and Data Flows Expert; and founder of PolicyWare. Josh is the author of the recently released paper Toward international cooperation on foundational AI models.
11/17/2023 | Washington International Trade Association

Event Video – WITA Spotlight Event: Former United States Trade Representative Carla A. Hills

On Thursday, November 16, WITA hosted former United States Trade Representative Carla A. Hills for a virtual Fireside Chat with Ambassador Rufus Yerxa. 

This webinar was part a series of one-on-one discussions with prominent figures in the trade world discussing the new paradigm in U.S. trade policy, and its implications for the U.S. and the World.

Featured Speakers:

Ambassador Carla A. Hills, Chair & CEO, Hills & Company International Consultants; former U.S. Trade Representative; former Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development; former Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Ambassador Rufus Yerxa, Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates; former WTO Deputy Director General; former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

11/16/2023 | Washington International Trade Association

Regional Supply Chains: The New Glue of Inter-American Relations?

At the June 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the Biden administration initiated “The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity” (APEP) in concert with eleven other Western Hemisphere nations. The APEP initiative was an eleventh-hour addition to an otherwise stormy run-up to the IX Summit of the Americas. Subsequently, APEP lay dormant for over a year, apparently adding to the heap of aspirational inter-American declarations confined to the dustbin of history.
However, out of the blue on November 3, 2023, President Joe Biden convened the other APEP leaders to join him in the East Room of the White House for an inaugural “Leaders’ Summit of the Americas Partnership.”
Despite the manifest lack of progress on APEP, all but two of the invited leaders attended (the president of Panama was ill while Mexico was ably represented by its foreign minister). Remarkably, several left-leaning presidents (Gabriel Boric from Chile, Gustavo Petro from Colombia, and Mia Mottley from Barbados) heeded the last-minute call from the leader of the free world. Whatever may be said about declining U.S. power worldwide, in the Western Hemisphere most leaders still want to be seen with the U.S. president. Some still hope that regional diplomacy can yield beneficial results.
Not wanting to arouse the trade skeptics within the Democratic Party, the Biden White House has carefully steered away from initiatives that would further open U.S. markets to international commerce. But APEP could build upon the foundations of existing free trade agreements—primarily the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Accord (USMCA) and the Central America Trade Accord (CAFTA-DR). For these trading partners, the hot-button topic of trade liberalization had already been addressed. APEP could therefore focus on politically less sensitive but still economically vital matters such as building infrastructure, digitalizing customs, and promoting small-scale private businesses.

11/10/2023 | Richard E. Feinberg | Global Americans

Manufacturing Resilience: The US Drive to Reorder Global Supply Chains

Spurred by technological advances in shipping and communications and aided by a liberal world-trading environment, deepening global supply chains (GSCs) have for four decades lowered costs and increased the variety of goods available to consumers around the world.
GSCs are complex networks of manufacturers, suppliers, warehouses, distributors, and shippers who move products and services from one location to another. Supporting these activities are orchestrated flows of blueprints, technology, people, and data across multiple countries and organizations. According to the World Trade Organization (2019), prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two-thirds of world trade occurred through supply chains in which production crossed at least one border, and typically many borders, before final assembly.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, supply chains once seen as exemplars of economic efficiency are increasingly portrayed as unacceptable sources of collective risk. Concerns about their resilience deepened as a series of external shocks continued to disrupt trade in the pandemic’s wake. Fragmentation has made GSCs long and thus subject to shocks emanating anywhere along the chain, while geographic concentration has made them heavily dependent on certain locations (and thus to shocks hitting specific parts of the world).
In contrast to idiosyncratic shocks like the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, headline supply shocks since 2020 have been global and cross-sectional—hitting many countries and industries simultaneously. Adding to concerns about exogenous shocks, the weaponization of trade by China and Russia has raised the geopolitical risks of overdependence on unfriendly countries. In concert, public demands have grown louder for both government and private-sector actions to reduce supply vulnerabilities.

11/08/2023 | Mary E. Lovely | Aspen Institute


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