The Great Debate

An agenda to boost Africa’s economy

By Eliot Pence
August 30, 2013

A lot can happen in a year. This time last year, U.S. businesses and NGOs bemoaned the Obama administration’s perceived indifference to Africa. Now, they’re trying to find out how to catch the wave of interest. Major new initiatives, including Power Africa and Trade Africa, unveiled during President Obama’s first true trip to Africa this summer, as well as a reinvigorated push to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act fully two years before it’s due to expire, have given U.S.-Africa watchers a lot to consider. But what — and when — is enough for U.S. policy in Africa? What more can be done in the year ahead? How do things really shake out for investors, civil society and Africans? Here are three additional areas the Administration should consider as it deepens its commitment to the continent:

The public supports a transatlantic trade pact – for now

By Bruce Stokes
February 19, 2013

The long-discussed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union was formally endorsed by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address to Congress. Obama asserted that “trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.” A prominent presidential endorsement will not prevent a long and disputatious negotiation, but a trade pact could yield potentially huge economic rewards — and also provoke serious political opposition on both sides.

China bashing: A U.S. political tradition

By Ted Galen Carpenter
October 11, 2012

In every U.S. presidential election, the major party candidates vie to see who can appear tougher on China. Once the election is over, however, the substance of U.S. policy toward China usually changes little and is far more pragmatic than the campaign rhetoric. There are ominous signs, though, that things could be different this time.

The most important trade deal you’ve never heard of

December 15, 2011
By David Gordon and Sean West The views expressed are their own. 

With Europe at the fore, it seems hard to justify paying attention to a congressional hearing about a trade deal nobody’s ever heard of.  But the most important trade agreement in a generation—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the subject of a House Ways and Means Committee hearing yesterday—is quietly advancing.  The pact, a free-trade deal including the US and several other Pacific Rim nations, will profoundly affect economic and security relations between the US and Asia.  And it may ultimately reshape global economics.

The G20 summit should commit to growth

By Gordon Brown
November 2, 2011

By Gordon Brown
The views expressed are his own.

The build-up to the G20 summit has been dominated by the euro’s failings. With Europe now the epicenter of the global crisis, its continued weakness will dominate the G20 discussions. Even now, uncertainties about Greece’s future — and about the real strength of Europe’s commitment to its new stability fund — has left little opportunity for a focus on the global economy as a whole.

Moving Doha forward: The U.S. view

By Reuters Staff
March 11, 2011

By Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. The opinions expressed are his own.

from Summit Notebook:

Does Germany need Europe?

December 6, 2010

Jim O'Neill, the new Goldman Sachs Asset Management chairman who is famous for coining the term BRICs for the world's new emerging economic giants, reckons he knows why Germany might not be rushing to bail out all the euro zone debt that is under pressure. Europe is not as important to Berlin as it was.

from Commentaries:

Why Russia needs America

September 21, 2009

In the wake of President Obama's decision to scrap the U.S. missile defence shield in eastern Europe, many are pondering Russia's response. The relationship will remain in the spotlight this week, when President Medvedev heads to the U.S. for the G20 summit. Although the precise nature of Russia's reaction remains to be seen, it has a big incentive to improve relations. It badly needs American investment and co-operation to help solve serious economic problems at home.

For Chinese exporters, grass is greener abroad

September 17, 2009

WeiGucrop.jpg- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. -

The U.S.-China tire dispute threatens to spill into other sectors and squeeze Chinese exporters’ already razor-thin margins further. It might seem mind-boggling to many that Chinese manufacturers are still hanging on to weak overseas markets even though the domestic economy looks much healthier and surely offers more potential.

Africa at the threshold

July 7, 2009

john-simon– John Simon was recently U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and former Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.  He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. The views expressed are his own. —