Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Can export bans be challenged at the WTO?

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Russian grain harvest

Russia’s ban on grain exports as a heat wave parches crops in the world’s third biggest wheat exporter has raised questions whether such export curbs break World Trade Organization rules. Russia is not a member of the WTO, and it remains to be seen how its new grain policy will affect its 17-year-old bid to join. But other grain exporters, such as Ukraine, which is also considering export curbs, are part of the global trade referee.

WTO rules are quite clear that members cannot interfere with imports and exports in a way that disrupts trade or discriminates against other members. But in practice most WTO rules aim to stop countries blocking imports – shutting out competitor’s goods to give their own domestic producers an unfair advantage.

WTO protest

 

 

Saudi Arabia and other members of the oil cartel OPEC (not all of whom are members of the WTO) routinely control the production and hence export of oil to defend target prices, but have not faced challenges at the WTO.

What can be challenged are restrictions on exports designed to hurt competitors. The United States, European Union and Mexico are currently suing China at the WTO over Beijing’s export duties and other restraints on raw materials. They argue that these make the raw materials more expensive for foreign competitors, putting them at a disadvantage to Chinese processors.

Argentine president’s gender card wears thin

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 Since she became Argentina’s first elected female president at the end of 2007, Cristina Fernandez has often complained that things are tougher for her because she is a woman.

 Some analysts and historians say that while women in power do face sexism, Fernandez’s frequent playing of the gender card can be detrimental because it emphasizes a perceived position of weakness.

Argentine election showdown: negative campaigns

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Argentine electoral campaigns don’t go negative. They start negative and steadily crank up the intensity until the end.

This Sunday’s election showdown is a close race between ex-President Nestor Kirchner, running for Congress to bolster the faltering presidency of his wife Cristina Fernandez, and millionaire Francisco de Narvaez. They are both from different wings of the Peronist party and De Narvaez claims to want to make Argentina into a “normal” country that does business with the world instead of isolating itself and befriending extremists.

Wealthy businessman takes on Argentina’s Kirchner in mid-term vote

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A wealthy businessman and critic of President Cristina Fernandez is spending millions of dollars in his own money to win the biggest race in Argentina’s upcoming mid-term elections.

Polls show Francisco de Narvaez, who leads a congressional ticket for a dissident faction of the ruling Peronist party, in a close race against Fernandez’s husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who is widely seen as the government’s top political and economic strategist.

Argentina’s Kirchner shows softer side on campaign trail

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Argentina’s Nestor Kirchner developed a reputation as a sharp-tongued leader who did not hesitate to upbraid company executives, opposition leaders and journalists as president.

Now, he’s looking to showcase a softer side as he returns to the campaign trail — this time as a candidate for Congress.

Another shock announcement from Argentina’s leader

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Argentina’s economy is slowing dramatically after seven booming years, but people here still haven’t felt much pain. The government has announced stimulus measures to buffer against the global crisis, fudged some economic statistics and persuaded carmakers and steelmakers to hold on to employees part time rather than lay them off. The effect of the crisis here has been so delayed that it was becoming easy to believe Argentine might be immune.

But Argentine President Cristina Fernandez made it startingly clear on Friday that the impact is coming and it’s going to hurt. In a surprise announcement she said she was seeking to get election rules changed so mid-term elections — to renew half of the lower house and a third of the Senate — can be held in June instead of October.  She said this was so politicians can quickly wrap up campaigns and all get together to concentrate on healing the economy.

Best reads of January

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Gaza gets 180 minute respite to shop, bury the dead – “For 180 precious minutes, Israeli warplanes and tanks held their fire, giving 1.5 million shell-shocked residents of the coastal enclave a chance to check on family members, shop for essentials and bury their dead.”

Spain’s jobless lose homes, tensions mount - “‘One day this place is going to explode,’ said unemployed waiter Miguel Roa, a Spaniard. Since December, he has lost his job and his home as well as seeing his family split as economic crisis ended 14 years of growth in Spain.

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