Taxiing on the apron

Chilean president visits region to talk trade

At home in Chile, Michelle Bachelet – that nation’s president, elected to her second term in a landslide vote in 2013 – works a tough balancing act.

Her Pacific nation is home to robust capitalists – mine owners, winemakers, fruit growers whose Southern Hemisphere seasons enable them to supply Americans in winter – and militant communist and anarchist groups, which press hard, and often successfully, for taxing the rich to pay for college tuition, retirement plans, health insurance. A socialist and a single mother, Bachelet governs in coalition with the Christian Democrats. On Monday in New York, she presided over a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council to help prevent wars.

But in Wilmington and Philadelphia this week, Bachelet is all business. At a warehouse at the Delaware port on Tuesday, she drew a crowd of U.S. and Chilean businesspeople and workers, and a collection of pro-free-trade Democrats – led by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), U.S. Rep. John Carney (D., Del.), and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, also a Democrat, who worked as a young banker in Chile in the 1980s before becoming a Comcast executive. Read more:

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Canada-South Korea free-trade deal shows small gains for both sides

Canada’s free-trade deal with South Korea will hurt the domestic auto sector, but the pain will be softened by the fact that Canadians will have a bit more money to buy new cars, according to the first detailed analysis of the trade pact.

 The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement took effect on Jan. 1, and the C.D. Howe Institute is releasing a report on Thursday that estimates the expected impact of the deal over the next 20 years.

Overall, the research concludes the deal will show small and comparable gains for both sides. Canada will get an additional $3.1-billion in gross domestic product in contrast to $2.3-billion for South Korea. However, South Korea will do slightly better than Canada when the effect is measured as a percentage of GDP, according to the institute.

The report projects production will decline by $114-million for auto makers in Canada because cheaper imports will be available from South Korea, which will increase its exports to this country by $1.2-billion. Read more:

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Chile, Japan to scrap tariffs for expansion of economic partnership

Chile and Japan are looking to expand their economic partnership by eliminating tariffs, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

A bilateral commission of the Chile-Japan Strategic Economic Partnership Accord met last week to discuss extending import tariff exemptions to more goods, the ministry said in a statement.

Chile and Japan, along with 10 other nations, are also interested parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging regional trade and investment treaty that has been under negotiation since it was initially proposed in 2005.

The bilateral commission concluded two days of negotiations Friday in Chile’s capital, concretizing commitments made in September 2014 to expand tariff exemptions between the two countries. Read more: 

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Non-tariff barriers dog EAC

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – The East African Community (EAC) has been advised to set a target for intra-EAC trade growth for this year of 15% by promptly eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

Peter Kiguta,  the Director General Customs and Trade at the EAC Secretariat was speaking at the 16th EAC Regional Forum on NTBs held recently.

He suggested the Chairpersons and Co-Chairpersons of National Monitoring Committees (NMCs) to exchange their contacts in order to redress NTBs when reported instead of waiting for the Regional Meetings. Read more: 

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Blog Share: A Study on Liberalizing Liquor Trade in India|By D. Dhanuraj and Rahul V Kumar

India is one of the world’s most restrictive places for trade and doing business. In 2014, it is ranked 110 out of 152 countries, in terms of economic freedom, by the Economic Freedom of the World Report. Its Freedom to Trade Index was 6.2 (highest score 10.0), 124 out of 152.[i]Doing business in India remains difficult for both foreign and domestic companies. The country was ranked 133 out of 152 countries by the World Bank this year in its Doing Business Score.[ii] Many studies have indicated trade barriers continue to be a major hindrance to India’s development and prosperity, making trade liberalization and further deregulation critical to its economy. Read more: 

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Public Procurement in FTAs: The Challenges for Malaysia

Malaysia’s GDP was ranked by the IMF at 35th globally in 2013. The country has a major commodity sector and wide-ranging export-base manufacturing and service industries. Malaysia has great potential to grow through further trade liberalization. However, many of the goods and services produced now are typically supplied to government agencies under decades-long government procurement contracts. A Recent Study by Malaysia-based Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) points out that public spending on procurement currently stands at around 25 percent of the annual GDP in 2014. The study also shows that long-term government procurement policies have limited the competitiveness of domestic businesses, and have prevented the country from enjoying the full benefits of global trade. Read more: