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TradeVistas

TradeVistas
TradeVistas is a joint initiative of the Hinrich Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

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American rubber band makers in a bind

In 2016, the United States imported $1.3 billion worth of natural rubber, second only to China as the world’s largest importer. But America’s largest rubber band manufacturer has asked U.S. trade agencies to investigate whether China, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are subsidizing their producers, enabling them to sell unfairly cheap rubber bands. Hinrich Foundation Research Associate Lauren Kyger offers the big trade picture through the lens of trade in rubber bands in this TradeVistas feature.

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The problem with U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum that no one is talking about

The preliminary U.S. decision to apply 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports has been met with widespread apprehension by proponents of the rules-based multilateral trade system. But the problem the tariffs are supposed to address isn’t receiving as much attention, argues Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson in this TradeVistas feature article. The simple fact of the matter is that a number of countries are undeniably engaging in unfair and even predatory trade practices in the steel and aluminum sectors which are damaging to their trade partners.

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The millennial-aged trade dispute that could affect your sparkling water

Bottled water surpassed carbonated soft drinks for the first time in 2016 to become the most popular U.S. beverage by volume. American sparkling water brands like Sparkling Ice, LaCroix, and Polar are surging, but international giants Perrier and San Pellegrino continue to hold their own among U.S. consumers, also experiencing double-digit growth. This TradeVistas feature article by Hinrich Foundation Research Associate Lauren Kyger explains that an ongoing trade dispute about beef — which is older than most millennials themselves — could burst the sparkling water bubble, threatening imports of European brands to the U.S. market and directly affecting the choice of sparkling water available on grocery store shelves.

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It’s engagement season, a shining moment for trade

TradeVistas- Global diamond trade
An estimated 40 percent of wedding engagements in the United States happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, and nothing is more synonymous with an engagement than a sparkling diamond ring. Americans buy over a third of all diamonds worldwide, with annual sales in excess of $23 billion, and 99% of the gems are imported. This TradeVistas Journey by Hinrich Foundation Research Associate Lauren Kyger explains the dynamics of the diamond business, including the story of international cooperation to reduce trade in conflict diamonds.

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Export-led growth is waning in East Asia

TradeVistas- Exports in East Asia
Economic growth in East Asia powered by exports has been a consistent and beneficial feature of the past 30 years. Technological change, however, continues to reshape the contours of growth and development. This TradeVistas feature by Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson discusses the impact of advanced manufacturing, automation, and services imbedded in goods as vectors of disruption, and asks whether the ongoing retrenchment in trade liberalization will wind up harming workers and consumers.

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Fall favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte, thanks trade

TradeVistas- Global coffee trade
Europeans and Americans are the largest consumers of imported coffee. Last year, nearly 62 percent of Americans drank coffee every day. In this TradeVistas article, Hinrich Foundation Research Associate Lauren Kyger details the journey of global coffee supply chains and explains how daily consumption of espresso-based coffee drinks — like Starbuck’s beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte — has nearly tripled in recent years owing to a jump in sales from young coffee drinkers.

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The global appetite for fresh food

TradeVistas- Global appetite for fresh food
Millions of people around the world are undergoing the so-called “nutrition transition.” As their incomes rise, households can increasingly afford to diversify their diets, stimulating global demand for more meat, fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an opportunity that farmers around the world are seizing, in the United States and in developing countries alike, by producing not just for local consumers, but to meet growing global demand.

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Speaking the same language in trade

TradeVistas- Speaking same language in trade
Pantone famously created a universal language for identifying, matching, and communicating colors. What Pantone did for the world of color, the World Customs Organization has done for its more than 280 country members who, since 1988, use a common language for classifying products moving across their borders. TradeVistas explains how The Harmonized System uses 6-digit codes to help facilitate millions of transactions across thousands of borders around the world every day.

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Adding value to the Cambodian economy every 374.41 seconds

TradeVistas- Cambodia FDI
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is usually measured in the millions, billions, and trillions. Global flows of FDI reached an estimated $1.52 trillion in 2016. In this TradeVistas article, Hinrich Foundation Research Associate Lauren Kyger explains how the success of a single multi-million dollar investment can hinge on fractions of a second on the factory floor. Ultimately, successful investors know that their employees are their most important assets, and that investing in the welfare of community benefits the bottom line.

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Industry 4.0: Trade rules for the Internet of things

TradeVistas- Industry 4.0
To understand why digital provisions in trade agreements are central to the way our global economy functions today, TradeVistas looks at how the Internet has transformed the design, production, and use of all manner of industrial machines. The marriage of the physical and digital worlds has unlocked limitless economic opportunities, providing a boost to productivity and propelling us into the next industrial revolution. In this article, TradeVistas provide examples of how the lack of sufficient trade rules can unduly hinder this potential, and present ways governments can take a pragmatic approach to issues like cybersecurity, privacy, and interoperability of these complex systems.

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Press start to play: Digital trade in video games

TradeVistas- Seoul Food
  The global gaming industry is expected to generate over $100 billion in revenues in 2017. As the Internet continues to lower the barriers of entry to the global marketplace, creative industries like video games offer the potential to tap into latent human capital currently under-utilized in developing countries. It’s another personal example of the immediate and powerful role of digital trade in our everyday lives.

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TradeVistas seeks to engage readers in ways that relate trade to our own lives and communities. Advances in technology and transportation have made it easier than ever for us to exchange products, services, and ideas with anyone anywhere the world. But as familiar as it is in our daily lives, few issues are as heated – or as fraught with conflicting information – as the current debate over trade. And it’s not a national conversation, it’s a global conversation. Our primary goal with this site is not to advocate for or against any particular trade policy, but to provide a fact-based context in which to understand this broader debate. We also hope that the ideas we share and generate with your help will spark policy innovation in the ever evolving landscape of trade policy. The Hinrich Foundation research team contributes to the editorial content of TradeVistas.