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On Monday, US President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order detailing the framework for re-imposing sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal, with the goal of getting Iran back to the table to negotiate a deal covering not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but also Tehran’s other malign activity. Immediately after issuing the order, Trump tweeted that these were the most biting sanctions ever and would be ratcheted up to another level in November.  This is, of course, not true. 

The sanctions the administration is re-imposing in two waves (August and November) on Iran are effectively the same sanctions that were in place in 2013 and led to the JCPOA negotiations.  Unlike 2013, the Trump administration does not have the full support of the international community and is not bolstered by several United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran to generate maximum pressure on Tehran.  Instead, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA has caused an ugly split with our European allies who passed a blocking regulation preventing EU companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran and has drawn the ire of the other deal signatories, China and Russia, and key partners – such as Turkey, India, Japan, and South Korea – who went along with US sanctions in 2013. 
On July 25, the European Union and the United States took an important step in de-escalating the threat of a trade war by agreeing to not only begin walking back US tariffs on European steel and aluminum and Europe’s retaliatory measures, but also by starting to discuss an ambitious forward-looking agenda for reducing trade barriers and expanding trade liberalization in other sectors, such as energy, soybeans, services, and non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

The goal of eliminating NTBs is laudable. We welcome the transatlantic effort to find a way out of the dead-end associated with increased trade barriers. As we noted before the White House meeting between Presidents Juncker and Trump, such an approach could provide an off-ramp from the current trade war dynamics, while delivering considerable opportunities for economic growth and high-value job creation. 
US President Donald J. Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are expected to discuss ways to defuse the trade war between the United States and the European Union (EU) when they meet at the White House on July 25. This escalating situation, which also involves China, has brought increased attention to trade in goods, at the expense of trade in services, which account for three quarters of US gross domestic product (GDP) and four out of five jobs in the United States.  Consequently, a policy that is focused on trade in goods misses not only the largest sector of the US economy, but also the United States’ prowess in providing services to international partners and the enormous potential for US service providers if allowed access to additional markets. The Trump administration should be working hard to expand markets for US services and to conclude and strengthen new agreements that encompass services trade.
The illusion that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government had come up with something resembling a workable Brexit plan after months of uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) lasted little more than two days.

On July 6, it appeared May had won support of her cabinet for some much-needed clarity on the British government’s Brexit approach. For a moment, even the most ardent Brexiteers seemed to fall in line with her softer Brexit plan. 

By July 9, that hint of clarity had been blown away by a rebellion within her cabinet.
The Janus-esque Russia policy of US President Donald J. Trump’s administration has been thrust back into the forefront with the president’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. 

On one hand, the Trump administration has been tougher on Russia than it is sometimes given credit for: it has levied several rounds of increasingly severe sanctions, culminating in the April 6 decision to designate, among others, Russian oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, sending shockwaves through global markets. Those actions were taken with warnings from senior administration officials that further destabilizing activities would be met with additional sanctions—a welcome intent to use sanctions as a deterrent. 

On the other hand, is the president.
US President Donald J. Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will hold their first summit in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, the White House announced on June 28.

The meeting will come days after the NATO Summit in Brussels and Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom. US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that Russia’s alleged interference in 2016 US presidential election will be on the agenda. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman stated that the meeting would focus on Syria, Ukraine, and international terrorism.
The trade war being waged by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration is one of the major risks to global growth outcomes for this year and next. Markets have been busy digesting a steady flow of trade-related news, such as possible investment restrictions on Chinese firms wanting to do business in the United States and the announcement by Harley-Davidson that it plans to shift some production overseas to avoid European Union (EU) tariffs that come in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs. Tariffs and counter-tariff measures over time result only in losses and trade wars cannot be “won” in any meaningful economic sense.
With hints that the DETER Act [the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018] may be under some consideration in the National Defense Authorization Act process going on in Congress, we would like to highlight our analysis from earlier this year for consideration by any involved in the negotiations and potentially affected parties.

While we frequently advocate for tough action to deter Moscow from its many aggressions, our analysis in this piece still stands: the DETER Act is the wrong way to address concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
Institutions and fora such as the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the G-groups are based on the organizing principle of multilateralism. After World War II, they have helped nation states coexist in a peaceful and relatively prosperous environment. Nowadays, they face criticism for being inefficient and lacking transparency. Some governments are withdrawing from these institutions altogether and reaffirming their individual power, which has led to a more fragmented world order.

US tariffs on the EU, Mexico, and Canada are a gift to Beijing

As US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing on June 2 for talks on the future of the Sino-American trade relationship, he comes bearing a gift: freshly issued tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union (EU), Canada, and Mexico.

With these tariffs, which came into effect on June 1, US President Donald J. Trump’s administration fired the first shot in a trade war with some of its biggest trading partners and closest allies.


    

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