Internet Regimes and WTO E-Commerce Negotiations

Internet Regimes and WTO E-Commerce Negotiations. Congressional Research Service. Rachel F. Fefer. January 28, 2020.

From retail to agriculture or healthcare, digitization has affected all sectors and allowed more industries to engage with customers and partners around the globe. Many U.S. companies thrived in the initial online environment, which lacked clear rules and guidelines, quickly expanding their offerings and entering foreign markets. As the internet has evolved, however, governments have begun to impose national laws and regulations to pursue data protection, data security, privacy, and other policy objectives. The lack of global rules and norms for data and digital trade is leading to differences in these domestic internet regimes. Competing internet regimes and conflicting data governance rules increase trade barriers and limit investment flows and international commerce, restricting the ability of U.S. businesses and consumers to enter and compete in some markets. For example, foreign internet regimes may use national security regulations to block cross-border data flows, disrupting global supply chains and limiting the potential use of and gains from emerging technologies. The creation of national technology standards can also limit market access by foreign firms.
As the digital economy expands, the diversity in digital rules is poised to grow in complexity and create new trade restrictions. The resulting patchwork of technical standards and national systems creates challenges for international trade, and may signal an impending fracturing of the global internet. Without agreement on global norms or common trade rules, some analysts foresee a splitting of the internet into distinct nation-led “dataspheres” and virtual trading blocs.

[PDF format, 29 pages].

Perspectives on the Global Economic Order in 2019; A U.S.-China Essay Collection

Perspectives on the Global Economic Order in 2019; A U.S.-China Essay Collection. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Matthew P. Goodman et al. October 18, 2019

For many years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) have had a broad and productive relationship exploring critical issues in the U.S.-China relationship and in global affairs. Since 2015, we have cohosted the U.S.-China Dialogue on the Global Economic Order, a track 1.5 dialogue that has sought to build mutual trust, enhance communication, identify issues, and propose solutions. The series of semiannual workshops, alternating between China and the United States, has covered a wide range of topics, including trade, investment, finance, and technology. The dialogue has drawn scholars, former policymakers, and current officials from the United States and China across a wide range of institutions and disciplines.

This volume consists of a series of parallel essays on the global economic order by U.S. and Chinese scholars who have participated in our dialogue. The value of this text is found not only in the ideas presented by the essayists but also in the opportunity to “listen” to each other as we manage our differences and seek a shared reform agenda for the global economic order. This report starts the journey.

These essays were drafted during the Spring of 2019 and reflect data that may have changed since that period. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 57 pages].

Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth

Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth. World Economic Forum. October 8, 2019.

Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the world economy remains locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks. The latest Global Competitiveness Report paints a gloomy picture, yet it also shows that those countries with a holistic approach to socio-economic challenges, look set to get ahead in the race to the frontier. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 666 pages].

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Heather A. Conley, Jonathan E. Hillman, Matthew Melino. July 30, 2019

In 2012, China and 11 EU countries from Central and Southern Europe and 5 non-EU members from the Western Balkans met in Warsaw, Poland for the first time in a “16+1” format to deepen economic cooperation in the areas of infrastructure as well as information and green technological development. The occasion was marked by the signing of “China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries” and the official launch of the 16+1. Seven years later in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the format has now grown to “17+1” with the inclusion of Greece. Nearly 40 bilateral deals were announced between China and partner countries, which included the opening of credit lines between the China Development Bank and Hungary worth €500 million, Croatia worth €300 million, Romania worth €100 million, Bulgaria worth €300 million, and Serbia worth €25 million.

It could be suggested that this region was in fact an early test case for the Chinese government’s 2013 announcement of its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions land and maritime transportation corridors stretching across and around the Eurasian landmass to Europe. Certainly, there was a strong infrastructure demand signal emanating from the region, which grew frustrated when its needs for new roads, modern ports, and high-speed rail went unmet by Western investment. Having developed the unique, mixed EU and non-EU 16+1 structure, Beijing could claim to be helping to “bridge” the EU and non-EU divide. It also gained a high-profile vehicle to channel a portion of the BRI’s $1 trillion in promised infrastructure investment. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy

Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy. Congressional Research Service.  Rachel F. Fefer, Wayne M. Morrison, Shayerah Ilias Akhtar. May 21, 2019

As the global internet develops and evolves, digital trade has become more prominent on the global trade and economic policy agenda. The economic impact of the internet was estimated to be $4.2 trillion in 2016, making it the equivalent of the fifth-largest national economy. The digital economy accounted for 6.9% of current‐dollar gross U.S. domestic product (GDP) in 2017. Digital trade has been growing faster than traditional trade in goods and services.  Congress has an important role to play in shaping global digital trade policy, from oversight of agencies charged with regulating cross-border data flows to shaping and considering legislation implementing new trade rules and disciplines through trade negotiations. Congress also works with the executive branch to identify the right balance between digital trade and other policy objectives, including privacy and national security.

[PDF format, 45 pages].

Beyond Neoliberalism: Insights From Emerging Markets

Beyond Neoliberalism: Insights From Emerging Markets. Brookings Institution. Geoffrey Gertz and Homi Kharas.  May 1, 2019

Across Western economies, the future of capitalism is suddenly up for debate. Driven in part by the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the prevailing neoliberal economic model—which prioritized a light touch regulatory regime, minimal barriers to trade and foreign investment, and overall a small role for the state in managing the economy—is under attack from both the left and the right. Will neoliberalism be displaced? And what will come next?

Around the world, meanwhile, emerging markets have been grappling with similar questions for decades. Neoliberalism spread unevenly across emerging markets, and likewise many of them have been moving beyond neoliberalism for decades. These varied experiences provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of neoliberalism and the future of economic and political policymaking in a post-neoliberal world. If the Washington Consensus mantra of “stabilize, privatize, and liberalize” has lost relevance today, what—if anything—has taken its place? How are different countries reevaluating the relative roles of states and markets in delivering economic development? Are there new “models” that are generalizable and applicable across countries and contexts? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 109 pages].

The World’s Most Dangerous Black Markets

The World’s Most Dangerous Black Markets: Illegal Trade of Oil and Other Hydrocarbons Flourishes and Poses Serious Environmental and Security Challenges.  YaleGlobal. Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Morgan D. Bazilian and Cyril Widdershoven. October 9, 2018

 Prices are climbing for oil, the most traded commodity on global markets and the world’s leading energy source. Much production is in volatile regions, and it comes as little surprise that production and trade in crude oil and refined petroleum products have produced a flourishing illicit market that presents socioeconomic, geopolitical, and environmental challenges, including deterioration of the rule of law. Illegal trade in hydrocarbons also presents a global security concern, funding dangerous non-state actors, ranging from the Islamic State terrorists to Mexican drug cartels, explain Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Morgan D. Bazilian and Cyril Widdershoven, all associated with the Payne Institute of the Colorado School of Mines. Illicit oil trade harms producers and non-producers, wealthy and poor nations alike. Despite grave implications worldwide for such illegal trade, governmental and industry efforts to halt the practice have so far been ineffective or even non-existent. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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