Barbara C. Matthews

  • Osaka Previews Services Shift that Could Reignite Global Multilateral Trading System

    While headlines from the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan understandably focused on the latest trade war truce between the powerhouse economies of China and the United States, media coverage unfortunately overlooked a strategically significant trade policy pivot at the summit.

    The group of global policy makers in Osaka acknowledged the growing importance that the digital economy plays for supporting economic growth and innovation, and the need for the trade policy paradigm to account for this shift. While a substantial number of key policies needed to complete this shift remain incomplete, by turning their attention toward the digital economy global policy makers could help reignite discussion at the global multilateral trade level at a time when most are obsessed with bilateral negotiations.

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  • EU, China Agree to Deepen Trade Ties

    Both sides decide ‘there should not be forced transfer of technology’

    The European Union and China on April 9 agreed to strengthen their trade relationship, cooperate on WTO reform, widen market access, and not force businesses to hand over their intellectual property— the last a longstanding complaint of foreign investors in China.

    The announcement followed a meeting between European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Brussels.

    “We managed to agree a joint statement which sets the direction for our partnership based on reciprocity,” Tusk said.

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  • The Spark That Launched Brexit Has Returned and Could Torpedo Compromise

    The next week matters for European policy makers. EU finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on April 5 and 6. This will be followed by an emergency European Council summit on April 10 at which EU leaders will not only discuss Brexit, but also discuss the European Union’s position on negotiating a narrow free trade agreement with the United States. On April 12, European finance ministers and central bank governors will take part in important Group of Twenty (G-20) side discussions alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank spring meetings in Washington. These leaders would have been focused on worrying signs of slumping global growth and trade tensions with the United States, but leaks to Reuters on April 3 suggest that policy makers are


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  • Quiet, But Important, Progress in Transatlantic Trade

    Amid the chaos over Brexit, few have noticed the quiet, but steady, progress on the transatlantic trade policy agenda. The European Parliament voted on March 14 against a resolution that called on European Union member states not to endorse negotiating mandates that authorize the European Commission to start talks with the United States. The defeat of that resolution sets the stage for a productive spring season of trade talks between the United States and the EU that focus on non-tariff barriers, as we recommended in August 2018.

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  • Matthews in the Bretton Woods Committee: The Next 75 Years – Coping with Decentralization and Geopolitical Rebalancing

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  • The US-China Feud is About Much More Than Trade

    US and Chinese trade negotiators will meet again in Washington on January 30 amid escalating bilateral tensions over issues far broader than traditional trade policy. The meetings will occur in a fittingly freezing city, with plunging temperatures outside accompanying the deep freeze that has gripped the bilateral relationship. US allies in Europe and Japan will quietly cheer from the sidelines as US policy makers prepare to take a tough stance.

    With the ninety-day negotiating window to find a solution to the US-China trade tensions quickly running out and with expected February action by the United States regarding foreign automobile tariffs, the stakes are high. The scope of discussions is also broad. It is highly unlikely that all policy disputes between Beijing and Washington can be resolved in the January 30 meeting.

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  • Matthews in the FinReg Blog: ICO Regulation not Slowed by Brexit or US Shutdown Chaos

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  • Europe Signals Intent to Avoid Trade War with the United States

    Transatlantic trade negotiators are kicking off 2019 with positive momentum toward avoiding a trade war and implementing last year’s joint statement between the White House and the European Commission. On January 7, the European Commission made key announcements on agricultural trade and steel tariffs that set the stage for ministerial-level talks held in Washington on January 8.

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  • Matthews in FinReg Blog: International Regulatory Cooperation: FinTech Edition

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  • Can Lowering Trade Barriers Fuel American Energy Exports to Europe?

    Momentum is building regarding the trade truce and work plan announced by the United States and the European Union in the July 25 US-EU Joint Statement. US President Donald J. Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker gave special attention to strengthening “strategic cooperation with respect to energy,” adding that the “European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to diversify its energy supply.” In early August, the EU Commission reiterated support for that goal and urged the United States to ease LNG export regulations as a way to help increase LNG trade.

    Washington and Brussels have been working to increase cross-border economic integration in the energy sector and to promote increased US-EU energy ties at least since the early 2000s when they began serious...

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