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Beware the zombies, ghouls, ghosts, and vampires that will flood streets across the country this Halloween Friday. Of course they’re mostly just children in costume with one thing on their minds: candy. And lots of it.
Implementation of a global deal to promote trade through increased regulatory transparency and reform of customs procedures is stalled. The deadlock began in July, when India blocked formal adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which WTO members had agreed to in Bali at the end of 2013.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) needs to be reauthorized next year and discussions about how to improve it are picking up steam. There is a lot that is unknown—when it will be renewed, for how long, and whether the renewal will be as “seamless” as everyone says they want.
The United States is negotiating trade and investment partnership agreements that would cover more than half of global trade if successful: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam are part of TPP, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore. But most developing countries, and all of the poorest and most vulnerable, are on the outside looking in.
Last year, the International Labor Organization published a report that found the number of free trade agreements (FTAs) with provisions on worker rights had increased from four in 1995 to 21 a decade later and 58 by June 2013.
I’ll admit that I’m not a Nascar fan, and I only watch horse racing during the Triple Crown (usually only the first two legs). But I am a big baseball fan and I still don’t think that my taxpayer dollars should be used to subsidize the building of fancy new stadiums, any more than they should be used to support race tracks or race horses. But what really disturbs me is that, with almost no scrutiny, my taxpayer dollars and yours might end up contributing to tropical deforestation and climate change.