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How to Solve the Global Steel Glut

by Edward Alden
Employees work at a factory of Dongbei Special Steel Group in Dalian, Liaoning province. (China Daily China Daily Information Corp-CDIC/Reuters). Employees work at a factory of Dongbei Special Steel Group in Dalian, Liaoning province. (China Daily China Daily Information Corp-CDIC/Reuters).

The steel industry is once again in crisis. Led by China, global steelmaking capacity has doubled in the past 15 years, while demand has slumped. The consequences in many countries are falling prices, idled production, bankruptcies and job losses. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last week called it “a truly global challenge”. Read more »

What the Trade and Minimum Wage Debates Have in Common

by Edward Alden
California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters). California Governor Jerry Brown (C) signs a bill hiking California's minimum wage to $15 by 2023 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

The election-year debates over trade and the minimum wage would appear to have little to do with each other. The growing concern over trade, on the one hand, has focused mostly on the impact of global competition on U.S. manufacturing, sectors in which most employees make far more than the minimum wage. The historic move by California and New York this week to raise their minimum wages to $15, on the other hand, will mostly boost pay for restaurant and retail workers – sectors that do not face international competition. Read more »

Free Trade at Risk in This Year’s U.S. Campaign

by Edward Alden

A video posted on YouTube last month captured everything that working-class Americans fear about global trade. In the footage from a cellphone camera, an executive from Carrier, a division of United Technologies, addresses agitated employees at the company’s Indiana plant, which employs 1,400 people making furnaces and other heating equipment. Read more »

Economics in a Time of Political Instability

by Michael Spence
German metal workers  bang drums after they walked out from their day shift in a warning strike (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters). German metal workers bang drums after they walked out from their day shift in a warning strike (Kai Pfaffenbach/ Reuters).

This article was co-authored with David Brady, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. 

MILAN/STANFORD – Over the last 35 years, Western democracies have seen a rapid rise in political instability, characterized by frequent shifts in governing parties and their programs and philosophies, driven at least partly by economic transformation and hardship. The question now is how to improve economic performance at a time when political instability is impeding effective policymaking. Read more »

India’s Landmark WTO Challenge to the United States

by Edward Alden

In the midst of a xenophobic U.S. presidential campaign in which candidates in both parties have harangued China and Japan over their trade policies, and leading Republicans have called for a “great wall” to keep out immigrants from Mexico and Central America, one country has quietly refused to take it any longer. Read more »

China’s Volatile Growth

by Michael Spence
An electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song/Reuters). An electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song/Reuters).

This article was co-authored with Fred Hu, Chairman and Founder of Primavera Capital Group, a China-based global investment firm.

MILAN – Uncertainty about China’s economic prospects is roiling global markets – not least because so many questions are so difficult to answer. In fact, China’s trajectory has become almost impossible to anticipate, owing to the confusing – if not conflicting – signals being sent by policymakers. Read more »

The Keystone Pipeline May be Dead, But Here’s How it Could Blow up the TPP

by Edward Alden
A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters). A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters).

So much for the U.S.-Canada honeymoon. With the election in October of the new Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau, both Washington and Ottawa had hoped to put behind them several years of poor relations that had been soured largely by a single issue – President Obama’s dithering and then final rejection in November of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Obama was so delighted to see the backside of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper – an ardent supporter of the pipeline – that he quickly invited Trudeau for a state dinner in Washington in March. Read more »

The New Education Bill May Not Improve Student Outcomes

by Rebecca Strauss
Jaden Perez, 8, participates in a chess-geography lesson at Discovery Elementary School in Sunrise, Florida August 29, 2014. (Stringer/Reuters). Jaden Perez, 8, participates in a chess-geography lesson at Discovery Elementary School in Sunrise, Florida August 29, 2014. (Stringer/Reuters).

Congress is on a roll. First a budget deal, then a multi-year highway bill, and now a K-12 education bill, whose most previous authorization had dated from 2002—the infamous No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The new version preserves the best parts of NCLB, sheds the most flawed parts, and also hands back more education power from the federal government to the states. It is unclear, however, whether this bill will actually do much to improve student outcomes. Read more »

The TPP Agreement: Big Things Are Still Possible

by Edward Alden
Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP ministers press conference Lahaina Maui Hawaii July 31 2015 The twelve Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministers hold a press conference to discuss progress in the negotiations in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii July 31, 2015 (Marco Garcia/Reuters).

A dozen countries from the Asia-Pacific region showed today that it is still possible for nations to do big things. Following a week of difficult meetings in Atlanta, trade and economy ministers from the United States, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and others have reached a final deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest and most consequential trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) more than two decades ago. While there is still a long road ahead to final ratification by the U.S. Congress and other national legislatures, the TPP deal has the potential to reshape an important part of the U.S. economy, strengthen American diplomacy, and launch a new generation of international economic cooperation. Read more »

Trade in Services: WikiLeaks and the Need for Public Debate

by Edward Alden

WikiLeaks has done it yet again, releasing in an extraordinarily timely fashion many of the latest negotiating texts from the Trade in International Services Agreement (TISA), just in advance of a meeting of negotiators next week. Their sources, it has to be said, are impressive. I worked many years ago as a reporter for the newsletter Inside U.S. Trade, where one of our goals, in the pre-digital age, was to encourage leaks of trade negotiating positions. But, with the exception of the Clinton administration’s proposal for the NAFTA labor and environmental side agreements in 1993, we rarely got our hands on the texts themselves. Read more »