CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Donald Trump and the New Economic Order

by Michael Spence Tuesday, November 29, 2016
A TV screen showing Donald Trump is pictured in front of the German share price index (Kai Pfaffenbach). A TV screen showing Donald Trump is pictured in front of the German share price index (Kai Pfaffenbach).

HONG KONG – Since the end of World War II, the hierarchy of economic priorities has been relatively clear. At the top was creating an open, innovative, and dynamic market-driven global economy, in which all countries can (in principle) thrive and grow. Coming in second – one might even say a distant second – was generating vigorous, sustainable, and inclusive national growth patterns. No more. Read more »

Trump and U.S. Trade Policy: What’s Known is Scary, What’s Not May be Worse

by Edward Alden Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Donald Trump gestures while delivering a speech at the Alumisourse Building in Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 28, 2016 (Reuters). Donald Trump gestures while delivering a speech at the Alumisourse Building in Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 28, 2016 (Reuters).

For the past two decades, the central question in U.S. trade policy has been whether the government could continue to move forward in liberalizing trade. The answer was usually yes, but slowly. For the next four years, following the election of Donald Trump as president, the central question will be a different one: will the United States move backwards on trade, and if so how fast and with what consequences? Read more »

Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy

by Edward Alden Wednesday, November 2, 2016
failure-to-adjust-alden

I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, which is the product of nearly four years of research and a quarter century spent as a reporter and policy analyst covering the ups and downs of America’s trade policies. As my friend and former reporting colleague Bruce Stokes of the Pew Research Institute said recently, for those of us who have labored in the obscure details of U.S. trade negotiations for decades, it has been astonishing to see trade become one of the hot-button issues of the 2016 presidential election. It is even more astonishing to see a Republican presidential candidate running on an openly protectionist platform, and to see a Democratic internationalist like Hillary Clinton running away from her record on trade. Read more »

How Inequality Found a Political Voice

by Michael Spence Tuesday, November 1, 2016
A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters). A voter peels off an "I Voted" sticker after voting (Chris Keane/Reuters).

MILAN – It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive economies and societies. If they do not, people could embrace explosive alternatives to their current governments, such as the populist movements now sweeping many countries. Read more »

A Muslim Travel Ban and the U.S. Economy

by Edward Alden Friday, October 7, 2016
U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters). U.S. Customs and Immigration officers await travelers (Mike Blake/Reuters).

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said that, if elected, he would use the expansive powers of the president to block foreign Muslims from traveling to the United States. As an alternative, he has suggested he might block all travel from countries “compromised by terrorism.” Again, this would be well within his powers as president. This week, his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence said Trump no longer favored either approach, though Trump himself has not suggested any softening. Read more »

Restoring Support for International Trade

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate (Mike Segar/Reuters). Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak at their first presidential debate (Mike Segar/Reuters).

This is a guest post by John Veroneau, partner at Covington & Burling LLP and former deputy U.S. trade representative. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy. Read more »

Escaping the New Normal of Weak Growth

by Michael Spence Friday, September 30, 2016
Euro banknotes and a calculator are placed on a currency graph and ticker (Dado Ruvic/Reuters). Euro banknotes and a calculator are placed on a currency graph and ticker (Dado Ruvic/Reuters).

MILAN – There is no question that the recovery from the global recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis has been unusually lengthy and anemic. Some still expect an upswing in growth. But, eight years after the crisis erupted, what the global economy is experiencing is starting to look less like a slow recovery than like a new low-growth equilibrium. Why is this happening, and is there anything we can do about it? Read more »

A Winning Trade Policy for the United States

by Edward Alden Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Semi trucks line up to pick up shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach (Bob Riha Jr./Reuters). Semi trucks line up to pick up shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach (Bob Riha Jr./Reuters).

The Renewing America initiative is releasing today a new paper entitled, “A Winning Trade Policy for the United States,” co-authored by myself and CFR adjunct senior fellow Robert Litan. The paper is the first of two that will look at new directions for U.S. trade policy at a time when American support for the global trading system is under challenge as rarely seen before. Read more »

Apple’s European Tax Bill: Time to Pay Up and Play by the Rules

by Edward Alden Thursday, September 1, 2016
A sign is seen outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden in London (Toby Melville/Reuters). A sign is seen outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden in London (Toby Melville/Reuters).

Apple and its allies in the U.S. Treasury and Congress would have you believe that this week’s ruling by the European Commission that the company must pay some $14.5 billion in taxes owed to Ireland and other governments is an assault on one of America’s most innovative and successful companies. Read more »

How to Fight Secular Stagnation

by Michael Spence Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Construction workers work on a taxiway bridge for airplanes (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters). Construction workers work on a taxiway bridge for airplanes (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters).

MILAN – Much of the world, especially the advanced economies, has been mired in a pattern of slow and declining GDP growth in recent years, causing many to wonder whether this is becoming a semi-permanent condition – so-called “secular stagnation.” The answer is probably yes, but the question lacks precision, and thus has limited utility. There are, after all, different types of forces that could be suppressing growth, not all of which are beyond our control. Read more »