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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Rebuilding the Foundation for U.S. Trade Policy

Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) reportedly declined President-elect Obama's offer to be the new U.S. Trade Representative because he "came to the conclusion that [trade] wouldn't be priority number one, and it might not be number two or three." Given the enormous problems facing the American economy, and given American attitudes toward trade ranging from ambivalence to outright hostility, that is not surprising.

Financial Crisis Requires Leadership, Including from Congress on Trade

Congress has one more chance this week to do the right thing and pass the bilateral trade agreement with Colombia (as well as the one with Panama). The New York Times made the same argument in an editorial today, focusing on America's relations with Latin America and the blow to U.S. credibility around the world if it walks away from an agreement negotiated in good faith -- and then renegotiated to meet Democrats concerns in a number of areas after they captured Congress in 2006.

Last Gasp for Doha?

Trade ministers are currently gathered at the World Trade Organization in Geneva to give one last push to delivering a Doha Round trade agreement before it is put on the shelf indefinitely. As it has been from the beginning, agriculture remains a key stumbling block (see my book, Delivering on Doha).

President Bush Should Order the EPA to Waive the Ethanol Mandate Next Week

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, representing a major livestock-producing state hammered by rising feed costs, has petitioned the Environmental Policy Agency to suspend half of the mandated level for blending ethanol in gasoline. The EPA has the authority under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to suspend all or part of the mandate for up to a year if there is a "significant renewable feedstock disruption or other market circumstance" and the administrator is supposed to respond to Governor Perry's petition by July 24.

Another Volley in the Battle over Biofuels

“A leading World Bank economist's claims that biofuels are a major cause of soaring world food prices could further undermine support for the alternative fuel worldwide and cause tensions with the White House, which fervently supports the new industry.

The Food and Biofuels Debate in Rome

It was supposed to be an emergency conference on food shortages, climate change and energy…. but when the microphone was turned on for the powerful politicians who had flown in from all over the world, they spoke mostly about economic issues in their own countries and political priorities.

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