The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is a 2G trade agreement in a 4G world.
In this digest, we answer five key questions about the ITA, why it needs to be modernized, and why it’s important for the United States and the world.
The ITA has driven global growth, development, prosperity, and innovation over the past 16 years by eliminating trade duties on important categories of information and communications products. But, as we note, the ITA’s list of tech products hasn’t been updated since 1997—a time when phones were dumb, computers were slow and expensive, and Google was a start-up. As a result, key technologies that link people and business in the modern economy—including smart TVs, Bluetooth devices, GPS systems, and a wide range of peripherals and software—still face high import duties in many countries.
The ITA needs an upgrade. Fortunately, trade negotiators have begun the task of updating the ITA so that its benefits can extend more fully to communities, companies, and citizens in the connected world of the 21st Century.
Read Third Way’s new report: Q&A on the ITA: Five Questions on the Information Technology Agreement.
To compete and win in lucrative Asia-Pacific markets, America has some serious networking to do.
This infographic illustrates a key reason for the sharp drop in the U.S. share of this booming region’s imports: the fact that 16 of the region’s major economies are tied together by an extensive (and growing) network of regional trade agreements. The United States has far fewer of these deals in the region.
That’s why it’s vital that America forge new networks for our trade in the Asia-Pacific, beginning with market-opening trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
By Ed Gerwin
The National Football League’s misadventures with replacement referees turned into an all-out debacle this past Monday. A frightfully botched call by stand-in officials stole victory from the Green Bay Packers–on the final play of a nationally televised game. The story led the news–not just the sports.
The officiating fiasco is a crisis for the NFL. But the NFL’s travails also offer critical lessons about how America can compete and win in global markets.
To be sure, the NFL’s regular refs occasionally botch critical calls. But like other professionals–including judges, traffic cops, and food inspectors–NFL referees usually work in the background, expertly enforcing complex and changing rules that make things fairer and safer. Like sanitation workers, however, we quickly know when they’re missing.
Americans know their football but, as we’ve explained previously, they sometimes have serious misconceptions about trade. Many think, for instance, that free trade agreements drive up U.S. trade deficits (they don’t) and that the World Trade Organization undermines U.S. sovereignty (it doesn’t). In reality, America engages globally in trade to gain two things that NFL fans now readily appreciate–strong rules and competent officials to enforce them.
America’s share of Asia-bound trade has been declining—in many cases quite significantly. According to our analysis, from 2000 to 2010, the U.S. share of total goods imports into the 12 leading Asia-Pacific markets fell by 43%—from 14.3 to 8.2%—even as the value of those same imports consistently increased. For more about our shrinking slice of this important trade opportunity, read our new report, “Boatloads of Growth: Recapturing America’s Share of Asia-Pacific Trade.”
By Vicki Needham
Via The Hill.
Congress, the Obama administration and business groups are ramping up efforts to pave the way this summer for improved trade relations with Russia, but that work is being complicated by parallel efforts to address human rights concerns in that country.
While the push is being made to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant permanent normal trade relations, some lawmakers are also eager to pass a measure designed to signal to Moscow that human rights and national security violations won’t be tolerated as that nation prepares to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In the ever complicated realm of U.S.-Russia relations, supporters of repealing Jackson-Vanik — a 37-year-old provision designed to put pressure on Communist nations for human-rights abuses and emigration policies — are emphasizing that Russia’s entry into the WTO does not require the U.S. to pass any additional measures .
“The United States gives up nothing and won’t be required to change its laws,” said Edward Gerwin, senior fellow for trade and global economic policy at Third Way, told The Hill.
Third Way’s Ed Gerwin has a new memo out this morning that explains why shutting down or sharply curtailing the operations of the Export-Import Bank of the United States is a terrible idea. Some free market purists are putting common sense aside and are targeting the Bank, even though it:
- Is a self-sustaining organization that returns $800 million annually to American taxpayers;
- Creates or sustains some 390,000 American jobs at over 3600 companies; and
- Supports over $40 billion in American exports annually that are helping to grow our economy.
The memo answers key questions about the Bank and its export financing programs, and explains why a long-term re-authorization of the Bank is vital to help American exporters and their workers compete against foreign competitors who are aggressively backed by their governments.
READ: A Government Bank that Turns a Profit: Why the Export-Import Bank Should Be Reauthorized
This new infographic illustrates the “top plays” that China uses to protect its favored firms from U.S. import competition. These include “enhancing performance” through illegal subsidies, “stealing the play” by robbing valuable American ideas, and “running out the clock” on China’s long-promised market reforms.
To counter China’s playbook, American needs a new China game plan that goes beyond countering unfair currency manipulation—a plan that will use aggressive trade enforcement, stricter rules and strong allies to help America’s exporters and workers go on offense and score more business in China’ lucrative and growing market.
For more, read our new report, “China’s Trade Barrier Playbook: Why America Needs a New Game Plan.”
If oil were a country, it would be the source of America’s second largest trade deficit after China.
But America’s current free trade deals produce a $23 billion U.S. trade surplus in manufactured goods. Goods that are made in America by American workers.
This new infographic makes it all pretty clear: trade deals are good for U.S. economic growth.
See: Trade and the Economy: How New Trade Deals Will Create Jobs and Opportunity for America www.thirdway.org/publications/444