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Renewing America

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Showing posts for "International Trade and Investment"

A Bridge Too Far: Made in Detroit, Paid for by Canada

by Edward Alden
Ambassador bridge Detroit Michigan Windsor Ontario Commercial trucks line up on the Ambassador bridge crossing over to Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario (Rebecca Cook/Courtesy Reuters).

There are two possible reactions to the news that Canada and the United States have finally ironed out the last wrinkle and can now move ahead with the much needed new International Trade Crossing of the Detroit River.  It will create thousands of short-term construction jobs (far exceeding the much better-known Keystone pipeline project) and will speed movement of goods and people between Michigan and Ontario . I know I should celebrate it as a creative example of cross-border cooperation to solve a thorny problem. It is, as the Department of Homeland Security noted, an “innovative approach.” But mostly I’m just deeply embarrassed. To cut to the conclusion: we are getting a new bridge, but our neighbors to the north are putting up every penny for it. Read more »

The “Strong Dollar” Policy: Back to the Future

by Edward Alden
Jacob Lew AT&T Foundry U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew listens during a tour of the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, California (Beck Diefenbach/Courtesy Reuters).

The “strong dollar” has been a mantra for the United States for decades. Recently, as the euro has fallen to an 11-year low against the dollar, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has once again been paying homage. “I have been consistent in saying, as my predecessors have said, that a strong dollar is good for the United States.” Read more »

Obama’s Speech: The Conundrum on Trade

by Edward Alden
Barack Obama State of the Union 2015 President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015 (Mandel Ngan/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama urged Congress last night in his State of the Union address to “give me trade promotion authority” to complete “strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe.” If Congress agrees – and it probably will – it will be the first time in his administration that the president has had the authority to move forward on trade. The potential results – a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Japan and 10 other countries, and a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe – would be the farthest-reaching trade agreements in a generation. Read more »

A New Realism: The Independent Task Force on North America

by Edward Alden
Barack Obama speech North American Leaders' Summit Toluca Mexico President Barack Obama gives a speech at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca, Mexico, February 19, 2014 (Henry Romero/Courtesty Reuters).

The Council on Foreign Relations has released this week the new report of the Independent Task Force on North America, and for anyone familiar with the long history of efforts to deepen economic integration in North America, the adjectives that probably best describe the report are “pragmatic” and “realistic.” The Task Force, co-chaired by Robert Zoellick, the former World Bank chief and veteran of several Republican administrations, and General David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, urges a series of measures to improve security and boost the economic fortunes of all three countries in an increasingly competitive global market. (I served as an “observer” on the Task Force, which meant I participated in the discussions but was not asked to endorse the report or its recommendations.) Read more »

The GOP’s Tunnel Vision on the Export-Import Bank

by Edward Alden
Republican McCarthy Scalise Boehner Export Import Bank leadership elections Newly elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media with new Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) after House Republican leadership elections on June 19, 2014 (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Ask which of the two congressional parties is more in favor of free trade, and the answer is easy: the Republicans. If President Obama succeeds in concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations this year, he will rely on GOP votes, including Tea Party Republicans, to get the deal through Congress. His own Democratic Party is strongly opposed. Read more »

A Conversation on the President’s Trade Agenda with Michael Froman

by Renewing America Staff

Yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman visited the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss President Obama’s trade agenda. In a conversation with former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Ambassador Froman highlighted the strategic importance of ongoing U.S. trade negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Read more »

Obama’s Critical Moment on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

by Edward Alden
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to U.S. President Barack Obama during the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to U.S. President Barack Obama during the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

What does President Obama actually want from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), his administration’s signature trade negotiation with 11 Asia-Pacific countries? During his visit to four countries in the region this week, we may finally get an answer to that question. And it says something about how closely he has played his cards on the issue that it’s rather hard to predict the outcome. Read more »

How President Putin Has Given a Boost to U.S.-EU Trade Talks

by Edward Alden
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a G7 leaders meeting in the Hague March 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a G7 leaders meeting in the Hague March 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

When President Obama first announced his trip to Europe two months ago, the main topic was supposed to be trade, particularly the difficult ongoing negotiations to form a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But when he meets Wednesday in Brussels for the first U.S.-European Union summit in more than two years, most of the discussion will be about Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Read more »

Investor-State Arbitration in Trade Agreements: A Bad Idea?

by Edward Alden

Dan Ikenson at the CATO Institute has just published a must-read policy memo on the issue of including investor-state arbitration in trade agreements. With President Obama’s ambitious trade agenda stalled in Congress, Ikenson suggests a radical, but to my mind rather sensible, move to break the impasse–drop the provision from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and future U.S. trade agreements. Read more »

After Two Decades, American Trade May Finally Get a Needed Upgrade

by Guest Blogger for Edward Alden
China Shipping containers lie on the dock after being imported to the U.S. in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). China Shipping containers lie on the dock after being imported to the U.S. in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Robert Maxim, research associate, competitiveness and foreign policy, for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies program.

In 1989 the government of Singapore launched an innovative improvement to its trade infrastructure. The project, known as TradeNet, was a “single window” system that allowed exporters and importers to file trade documents and pay government fees through an electronic one-stop shop. Read more »