Offshore drilling rig at sunset

Energy Trade and GATT Rules: Is Something Missing?

Trade in hydrocarbons, fissionable materials and cross-border transmission of electricity largely take place outside the multilateral trading system. Two key developments may now lead to convergence between the energy business and the rules of the WTO.

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Delivery drone with the cardboard box on white background.

Export Controls and the Art of Modern Defense

Export controls are not a new idea. They date back to at least the 14th century when the English tried to keep longbow technology out of the hands of the French during the Hundred Years War. Today, we face a very different world with multiple adversaries, including non-state actors, and no strong consensus on how or when to act.

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Abstract car and many vehicles parts

Sorting Product Origin to Secure the Benefits of Trade Agreements

Trade agreements offer a variety of benefits, most notably tariff cuts – but only to goods that qualify. Rules of origin serve that gatekeeper function, aiming to ensure that the benefits of trade agreements go to the goods of the parties.

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Transformers showing both forms

Substantial Transformation: What are You and Where Did You Come From?

Most products today are the result of creative, physical, and intellectual efforts by people in different roles across the globe—they are designed in one country, their materials are procured in another, their components may be made and assembled somewhere else. Their “Made in…” labels only tell us the country where that product last underwent some significant change or “substantial transformation”. That's just a snapshot of one stop on their journey

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us-canada-nafta-issues

What Issues Will the US and Canada Wrestle With in NAFTA Talks?

As NAFTA negotiations get underway, the United States and Canada face a challenging mix of issues. Some represent longstanding disputes between the two countries. Others may be new priorities for the Trump Administration and untested in trade agreements. Still others, like commitments to facilitate digital trade, both sides are ready to agree. Here's your cheat sheet.

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Think difference

National Security Exception: When Trade Rules Don’t Apply

Since 1947, the global trade rules have contained a “national security exception." WTO members operate on the presumption that their fellow members will exercise the exception rarely and in good faith.

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Business, legal and medical cartoon showing two knights jousting on horseback. One thinks, 'We need a better process'.

How the WTO Settles Disputes

WTO members voluntarily agreed to rules to create a more secure and predictable trading environment for their traders. By and large, members comply with these rules so that others will as well. But when one member believes that another is not complying, the WTO has procedures for settling disputes.

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Adventures in Mind Reading

A World of Ideas

Most good ideas require intellectual property (IP) protection if they are to play a key role in driving customer sales. As consumers, we interact with IP thousands of times every day with little to no conscious thought when we text on our cell phones, slip a sleeve onto our hot coffee cups, notice the style of cars passing on our commute, or walk down the aisle of a grocery store.

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little girl with lemonade stand

Is China a “Market Economy”?

China argues it should be granted "market economy status" by all WTO Members. Some of the world's major economies, including the United States, think it depends on the specific situation. American producers of industrial commodities such as steel say China is not operating on market principles in their sector.

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Soccer Ball

Avoiding Calvinball – Why trade rules matter

  In the wonderful comic strip of the same name, Calvin and Hobbes engage in endless games of “Calvinball,” a game where the players make up rules as they go along and no one wins. While great for building imagination, its players often end up in disputes. Playing Calvinball in commerce would have the same consequences, […]

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