This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research institute (FPRI) on 21 November 2016.
President-elect Donald Trump is in the midst of selecting his national security team. He not only needs to decide the “who,” but also the “how” of national security decision-making. It is unclear whether he will adopt Ronald Reagan’s model of entrusting empowered Cabinet secretaries to handle such matters; follow in Richard Nixon’s footsteps of retaining close control over foreign policy within the White House through the National Security Advisor; or emulate George H.W. Bush’s hybrid “gang” blending both White House staff and senior officials.
Beyond his staffing choices, the president-elect and his counselors must also be prepared to tackle a series of questions about U.S. foreign policy and defense strategy, both to inform his continuing selection of personnel to serve in his administration and to shape his conversations with foreign leaders who are anxious to take the temperature of the new Chief Executive. In addition, his answers will be critical if he wants to link his campaign promises with actual policies.
2012 G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The confirmation of Michael Froman as the US Trade Representative is a fitting moment to highlight the many opportunities that a free-trade agreement between the European Union and the United States would offer Europe, America, and the world.
Today’s three-tier global economy – 6% growth in emerging markets, 2% growth in the US, and no growth in Europe – shows ominous signs of paralysis and nationalistic unilateralism. Many see currency wars looming.
In such an economically insecure global environment, riddled with protectionist booby traps, a free-trade pact between the world’s two largest trading blocs, accounting for roughly 40% of global GDP, has never been more important. Historically, free trade and economic growth have gone together, as have protectionism and stagnation, and deeper trade integration of the US and EU economies would strengthen growth on both sides of the Atlantic. » More
Container Ship. Photo: Daniel Ramirez/flickr.
Is an “economic NATO” possible? This striking – and perhaps misleading – expression has been used by some commentators to convey a possible outcome of negotiations between the United States and European Union over the creation of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The origins of this proposed partnership date back to November 2011, when a joint High Level Working Group (HLWG) on Jobs and Growth began discussing shared priorities. The HLWG delivered its final report in February 2013, and highlighted a range of options for expanding transatlantic trade and investment. Brussels and Washington are expected to give the green light for negotiations shortly, with talks possibly starting before the summer recess.
It remains unlikely that negotiations will result in a “fortress scenario” in which the US and EU mutually protect themselves from rising economic powers. What can be anticipated, however, is that the TTIP will have significant consequences for global economic security, irrespective of its final shape and structure. » More
Red Hook Container Terminal, Brooklyn. Photo: Barry Yanowitz/Flickr.
The launching of the EU-US trade and investment agreement negotiations could be the best news coming out of the West for a very long time. If there is something for which the EU leaders will wait anxiously in President Obama‘s State of the Union address in early February, it is a green light for the process to begin. Given the depth of the eurozone crisis, the widespread understanding has been that it is the US who will be giving Europe a much-needed boost of confidence and morale. In reality, however, President Obama has higher political and economic stakes in getting the round started. It is not without a reason that his economic policy advisor speaks of sealing the deal on „one tank of gas“.
An important reason is that the US trade policy is in tatters and urgently needs to be revived in the current presidential term. The domestic political consensus has moved anti-trade almost to the point of no-return. The Democrats are ready to crucify anybody who says trade is good for the country. The Republicans are more open but in their perception there are free riders such as China who are abusing the system and need to be punished. Hence the threat of naming China a currency manipulator which was key part of Mitt Romney’s armoury in the presidentials.
Swiss Ambassador Luzius Wasescha, left, talking to Markus Mugglin (Swiss Radio DRS) at JapanGate. © Nozomi Glanzmann
Deep down Luzius Wasescha is a multilateralist. Until July 2012, Wasescha led the Swiss delegation to the WTO in Geneva, where he was widely respected for his negotiation skills. Ultimately, he is probably not happy about the Doha Round being deadlocked and would prefer a multilateral trade agreement to the proliferation of bilateral accords that have been concluded recently.
Yet, in part, Wasescha is also responsible for the stalemate at the WTO – in his capacity as Switzerland’s representative. As the former speaker of the G10, a group of agriculturally protectionist countries, he fought against a substantive reduction in tariffs on agricultural imports. Those tariffs are part of the conflict at the WTO between developed and developing countries that is holding up the Doha Round. » More