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What we are reading

Action from US and EU, anti-coercion measures, and jobs

Published 22 February 2022

What We are Reading is a curated list of articles and reports on the latest developments in sustainable trade and investment, technology, and geopolitics.

Recent weeks have been busy for US trade policy. The Biden Administration published two long-awaited reports: the Indo-Pacific Strategy, which offers a glimpse into US trade posture towards Asia, and the United States Trade Representative’s annual report to Congress on China’s compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The US and Japan also came to an agreement on steel tariffs, reports this overview by Bloomberg, and further critiqued by the Cato Institute’s Scott Lincicome.

What are Washington’s trade gurus trying to achieve? Experts offer advice. Radically redesign US trade policy, Rana Foroohar urges in the Financial Times. In case you were wondering, the purchase commitments stipulated in former President Trump’s Phase One Agreement have been a flop. Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics explains.

Asian economies are realigning - and thriving

So concludes the Asian Development Bank’s Asian Economic Integration Report 2022. Can Japan gain from this realignment? It should, suggests Ken Endo in the Mainichi Shimbun.  

At the same time, it’s complicated. Tech companies are struggling in China. US companies are concerned over China’s advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), but the same companies are contributing to China’s AI development, reports Kate Kaye in Protocol.

Counter-strike – acting against coercion

Meanwhile, frustrations in Europe over China’s use of anti-suit injunctions have led the EU to begin proceedings at the WTO, Reuters reports. Taiwan, Canada, Japan have also requested to join the EU’s WTO case against China. adds Politico. Beijing’s targeting of Lithuania adds to the EU’s resolve against economic coercion, according to Richard Milne and Kathrin Hille of Financial Times.

However, some argue that instruments to mitigate coercion may be vulnerable to overuse and abuse, writes Barbara Moens of Politico.

Meanwhile, at the recent EU-Africa Summit, Europe's refusal to share COVID-19 vaccine technology threatened to overshadow the long-awaited gathering of European and African leaders, according to Politico’s Ashleigh Furlong.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

How much do exporters contribute to job growth? A lot, as it turns out.  New US Census data analyzed by Kyle Handley, Fariha Kamal, and Wei Ouyang provides useful insight.

Digital trade is a growing market, including for jobs. How should governments regulate and cooperate on digital services and e-commerce? The best minds attempt to answer these questions in a series of papers by the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Lastly, want to learn more about labor provisions in trade agreements? Visit the International Labour Organization’s Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements Hub, a helpful new tool.

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