On Wednesday, OPEC reached an agreement that will cut its output of oil for the first time in eight years. The current rate of production is 33.24 million barrels per day; the new aim is 32.5 million barrels per day. The decision came to fruition at a two-day OPEC meeting in Algeria. However, it is not yet an official deal. Specific details have not been released yet, and decisions regarding individual countries' output will not be discussed until late November. Plus, there are several more related proposals from OPEC affiliates that warrant discussion. If an official deal is eventually reached and put into effect, it will undoubtedly raise oil prices (which have been cripplingly low over the past year) and help combat the global oversupply of crude oil.
globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: trade-law
Since March 2014, the European Union has continuously levied various forms economic sanctions against Russia. Initial injunctions were imposed in response to Russia's forced annexation of Crimea and the consequential violence that ensued in Ukraine. These measures included asset freezes and travel restrictions on certain prominent officials, bans on imported goods, investment, and tourism services to and from Crimea, and restrictions on economic cooperation. Russia retaliated in August 2014 with a food embargo on all other nations that joined in sanctioning Russia, including the United States. Since the introductory sanctions, both sides have held firm in their restrictions and have often taken measures to extend them. The EU is the latest to do this, having recently extended their asset freeze and travel ban policies.
After economic sanctions were lifted off of Iran, many countries quickly began trade talks and one of the first countries to jump on this was Germany. Large German companies, such as Siemens AG, have already announced plans for large industrial projects in Iran. German companies hoped that the removal of the embargo on Iran would reignite old trade deals that had reached $5bn in yearly exports. Although exports have jumped since January, the results have left Germans disappointed.
For many businesses, branding plays a vital role in their success. A recognizable brand that consumers can trust helps companies grow and expand, while also granting staying power as the business moves up the industry ranks. As companies have expanded internationally, branding power has only increased in importance, leading many businesses to spend large amounts of resources on the brand. With these large investments, companies view legal protections, such as trademarks, as an extremely important issue when doing business in a country, or when looking at prospective countries to enter.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries with the goal of lowering or eliminating trade barriers, including tariffs, quotas, and other restrictions, between the nations involved. Major nations such as Canada, Japan, the United States, and Mexico all have stakes in the partnership. The proposal has undergone negotiations for several years, with plans to finalize the agreement going back to 2012. The passage of the TPP has been of high priority for the Obama Administration. However, there have been several controversies with the agreement that have prevented it from coming to fruition. In its latest round of negotiations, which ended on July 31, the partnership was delayed once again, citing disagreements over certain trade industries, potential human rights violations, and corporate interests. This time, it looks to be a bitter blow for the TPP.
Just last week, the World Trade Organization seemed like it was going to pass the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) when India decided not to sign the deal, citing concerns over food security. The TFA was the WTO's first landmark trade agreement, designed to ease and liberalize trade between its over 160 member countries by changing tariff and duty systems, as well as cutting down on red tape. These trade revolutions, it claimed, would have created over 20 million jobs and added $1 trillion in trade output. The idea for the deal was born during the WTO's conference in Indonesia last winter, and the deadline for agreement and signing the deal by its member countries was on July 31 of this year. With India backing out of the deal, however, it seems as though the TFA has been doomed to oblivion....or has it?
This past week in Luxembourg, the European Court of Justice struck down legal opposition by the British government in order to move forward in creating a new tax law in the European Union. Commonly known as the "Tobin Tax," named after American economist James Tobin who first proposed the idea in the 1980s, the law would tax the financial sector of the EU in order to cover some of the costs placed on taxpayers in the outcome of the recent financial and debt crises. The European Commission first announced the proposition of the new law in 2011, during which it stated that the financial tax law would require institutions in participating member states to pay a tax of at least a tenth of 1 percent of the value of transactions with other institutions. Since then, debate among EU member states regarding the effectiveness and possible consequences of implementing the tax has ensued.
Last week, a panel from the World Trade Organization announced that China had broken international trade law by restricting its exports of rare earth metals and other metals critical to the global manufacturing industry. The panel discovered that the export taxes, quotas, and bureaucratic delays in Beijing artificially raised the prices of exports and created shortages for foreign buying nations. The panel also determined that these export quotas, which the Chinese argued were intended for environmental protection, were actually instituted to achieve industrial policy goals aimed at promoting the continued growth of the Chinese economy.
On February 19th, President Barack Obama flew to Mexico to meet with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, approximately twenty years after the three nations had signed NAFTA. The goal of the Toluca summit was to attempt to reduce trade frictions and come to agreement on trade conflicts between these countries. Issues discussed included Obama's trade executive order, the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, the "trusted traveler" program, updating NAFTA, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The evolution of technology has opened the Internet for cross-border collaboration and has enabled a whole new range of economic activity that includes online trades, big data, and online advertising. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, from 2004-2009, the Internet contributed up to 21 percent in GDP growth in the developed world and 11 percent in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). This blog will discuss the international trade benefits created by the Internet and the risks associated with online cross-border trade.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a trade agreement between twelve countries, including China, Japan, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. This agreement, if ratified, would eliminate almost all trade barriers between these twelve countries, uniting them in the largest free-trade zone in world history. The problem is, it doesn't seem to be getting approved anytime soon; talks that occurred just last week in Singapore ended with the countries reaching no finalized agreement that would put the TPP into effect. As the partnership has been undergoing negotiation talks for years, it is wondered how much longer it will take for the countries to cooperate on certain final issues and establish the partnership.
When the financial crisis hit the world in the fall of 2008 most sectors of the economy came crashing down with it. International trade was no different, and by some measures the decline was more pronounced. When world GDP began to contract and hit its bottom in 2009, exports dropped nearly 30%. One would expect a certain amount of withdrawal when a crisis of this magnitude hit but with such a huge drop off the question arises what other factors could have played in? The answer is not as simple as it may seem.
In 1982, China was just beginning to open up to capitalism when the government decided to use a plot of land in a rural town of Yiwu to use as an open-air market. What started off as a rural, poor city has turned into a vibrant Trade Mart which now covers 988 acres. To put this into perspective, you could fit 10 Mall of America’s in the same space.
While the global entertainment industry may appear to be thriving, there are serious threats to its long-term prosperity. Many countries have been accused of failing to effectively protect intellectual property rights. Some businesses may be forced to reduce global marketing and sales efforts if this trend continues. An article in the globalEDGE Business Review estimated that worldwide counterfeiting has increased from $6 billion in the 1980s to over $600 billion today. Even the most prosperous of businesses would struggle to cope with such overwhelming losses.
China has recently come under pressure from Europe for its domestic bias to companies competing for public construction contracts. While China has had to loosen the wording of laws after coming under fire before, many companies are up in arms after trying to endure some of the trials entailed in entering the Chinese economy.
The World Cup, currently taking place in South Africa, is well underway. Tomorrow in this blog series, we'll discuss the prevalence of large sponsorship deals that many businesses have with FIFA, the international governing body of football. FIFA takes its role of protecting World Cup sponsors very seriously, and the warnings it has issued towards many businesses are ones that should be heeded.
We have a new compilation of resources here on globalEDGE! Produced by the member law firms of Lexwork International, this Compendium provides trade law summaries for over 30 jurisdictions prepared by law firms located there. These include the most significant U.S. trading partners. This is an excellent resource for companies intending to do business in foreign countries and some U.S. states, and I recommend checking it out.
As the Trade North America Conference continues, it is important to understand the nuances of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which make the implementation of NAFTA’s goals possible. One of the largest barriers to getting the agreement passed, and which still creates issues today are the legal issues surrounding the agreement, as well as how it deals with the differing legal systems of each of the countries involved.
We see them everywhere at Easter. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but always looking similar and always looking delicious. I'm talking about the famous chocolate bunny. I don't know about you, but I've had about 5 different kinds, and all had a similar shape. However, a few days ago in Luxembourg, the European Union's highest court ruled on a case about trademarking the shape of this tasty treat.