Two posts at the new "International Economic Law and Policy Blog" examine legal aspects of the Dubai Ports World controversy.
Neil King and Greg Hitt are suggesting that Eller & Co., a regional Florida port terminal operator, triggered the Doha Ports World controversy on behalf of one of its subsidiaries, which was embroiled in a legal controversy with P&O. ("Small Florida Firm Sowed Seed of Port Dispute," Wall Street Journal, Feb 28, page A3)
Over the weekend I asked "What is Dubai Ports World buying?" The answer was the management of container terminals (some but not all terminals) in six U.S. ports.
This morning I received a comment on that post from James Hamilton (Econbrowser), pointing to a UPI story from last Friday indicating that P&O was active in a larger number of ports - perhaps 21. The UPI story is here: UAE terminal takeover extends to 21 ports .
Here is a key paragraph:
The terrorist bomber won't always get through, but the odds are good that, despite our best efforts, he'll (or she'll) get through once and a while. The damage will be reduced if we've thought ahead. This goes for port security.
We have to find ways to function comfortably in the world, and at reasonable cost, despite the revolution in terror tactics pioneered by al Q'aeda (Kash is right).
Getting the security review of foreign investments right is an important part of this. The review process has to provide a politically viable vetting of potential security issues, and an opportunity to address potential problems without necessarily stopping a deal. The review has to be conducted in a timely manner.
So a review of the review process is important. The Dubai Ports World controversy provides a good opportunity.
Terror is a tactic - you can't be at war with it. al Q'aeda has "pushed the envelope" with terror and shown what an effective, low cost, tactic it can be. Everyone was watching, and no one missed the significance of what they did. al Q'aeda may go away, but terror won't.
Here's the web site of: bilaterals.org, "everything that's not happening at the WTO."
bilaterals.org is a collective effort to share information and stimulate cooperation against bilateral trade and investment agreements that are opening countries to the deepest forms of penetration by transnational corporations.
I don't think I'll agree with them much, but it looks like it might be a useful site for news and information.
Dan Drezner makes the case: What's the big deal about the port deal?.
More: (from Jim VandeHei and Jonathan Weisman in today's Washington Post - Bush Threatens Veto Against Bid To Stop Port Deal):
Maybe there is an argument for revamping the operations of CIFUS to provide better communication with Congress (from the Post story):
More: Here is the useful Council of Foreign Relations background site on the issue: UAE Port Purchase Raises Outcry .
It doesn't look good for the Doha Round, say Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott: The Doha Round after Hong Kong (Institute for International Economics, February 2006).
Not much progress was made in Hong Kong, and not much more is likely in 2006 (remember, because of a time constraint on the U.S. President's negotiating authority, the deadline for a completed agreement is basically the end of 2006)
Just in time for Valentines Day, the Progressive Policy Institute's Trade Fact of the Week reports on the flow of chocolate and chocolate products in world trade: Seventy Percent of the World's Cocoa Comes from West Africa .
Lots on chocolate, but even a little something about vanilla:
WTO trade negotiations are demanding. The issues are complex. Successful participation requires trade ministries with economic and legal expertise, analytical capability, the ability to coordinate the efforts and input of a range of government ministries and departments, and the ability to integrate the knowledge and interests of private sector actors.
Many developing and less developed countries lack the technical expertise to participate effectively. For example, Botswana.
French opposition to the Iraq war prompted many U.S. consumers to boycott French wines.
Larry Chavis and Phillip Leslie estimate the impact of the boycott in a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper: Consumer Boycotts: The Impact of the Iraq War on French Wine Sales in the U.S. (NBER Working Paper No. 11981, January 2006).
From the abstract:
John Donohue and Justin Wolfers ask if the death penalty saves lives.
Their conclusion, not so you can tell: Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate (NBER Working Paper No. 11982, January 2006)
From the abstract:
Pablo Halkyard reports that the new Transparency International Global Corruption Report is available: Global Corruption Report 2006 (Private Sector Development Blog, Feb 1, 2006).
This edition has a long discussion of corruption in health care systems. From the executive summary:
This week's "Trade Fact of the Week" from the Progressive Policy Institute is about the North Korean economy: South Korea-North Korea Trade Topped $1 Billion Last Year .
Simeon Djankov, Caroline Freund, and Cong S. Pham find that administrative delays can impose large costs exporters in developing countries - in their new paper, "Trading on Time" (World Bank, January 26, 2006).
It came much earlier than I'd thought. Ibsen Martinez surveys the origins of baseball in Latin American in Latin Baseball, A Frontier Story (Library of Economics and Liberty; January 9, 2006).
Martinez's account of the origins of Cuban baseball draws on The Pride of Havana (Oxford University Press, 1999), by Roberto González Echevarría:
An nuanced approach to the relationship between trade and poverty is appropriate. Alessandro Nicita's new paper, Export led growth, pro-poor or not? Evidence from Madagascar's textile and apparel industry (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, February 2006), finds that textile exports from Madagascar had a modest impact on poverty.
From the abstract: