Global Business & Economics Program

  • Memo to Congress: Treasury’s Plan to Lift Sanctions on Russian Oligarch’s Companies is a Good One

    US lawmakers must not allow understandable concerns about US President Donald J. Trump’s views of Russia to overshadow the technical merits of the administration’s divestiture plan to remove sanctions on aluminum giant Rusal and two other companies—EN+ and EuroSibEnergo, or ESE—sanctioned for their ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. After months of negotiations, Treasury officials have arrived at a delisting arrangement worthy of careful consideration and approval.


    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s January 10 congressional briefing on the details of the administration’s divestiture plan,  and the ongoing attention to this issue, sharpens the debate on whether the Rusal delisting is the appropriate action and whether Congress ought to exercise its authority under the Countering America’s Adversaries

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  • Europe Ready to Help With WTO Reform

    EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström says task at hand is ‘quite urgent’

    A multilateral effort needs to be made to save the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on January 10, noting that the twenty-four-year-old intergovernmental body to regulate international trade is “under increasing pressure.”

    “So we need to save it,” Malmström said, warning “it is quite urgent.”


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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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  • Financial Transparency Legislation Would Help Defend US National Security

    This is the first in a two-part series.

    On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Congress declared war on Japan. Two weeks after al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, the CIA was on the ground in Afghanistan.

    The Russian attack on US democracy in 2016 was not deadly, but it was similarly harmful to US national security. The West, however, has still not pushed back strongly enough to stop the hybrid war Moscow continues to wage against the United States and its European allies.


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  • O'Toole quoted in Newsweek on Trump Administration lifting sanctions on Putin-linked oligarch companies


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  • The RUSAL Deal: A Good Outcome?

    The Trump administration’s long-awaited decision to delist aluminum giant RUSAL finally became public on December 19. The deal that RUSAL’s holding company EN+ has struck with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sure to draw the ire of those who want to see RUSAL continue under sanctions as a means to punish the Russian economy. The deeper view, however, is that sanctions targeting RUSAL’s founder and now indirect minority shareholder, Oleg Deripaska, worked exactly the way they are supposed to and that Deripaska’s fate should frighten other Russian oligarchs who cooperate with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s misadventures abroad or are part of his corrupt circle. OFAC was also smart to pair the delisting with additional designations to demonstrate a continued stance against the Kremlin’s aggressions.


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  • Rising Populism and the Future of Europe


    On Thursday, December 13th, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program and the Embassy of Spain co-hosted an event on rising populism in Europe, celebrating the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Spain’s pluralistic constitution.




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  • Sultoon Quoted in Bloomberg on US Penalties against Viktor Vekselberg


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  • Can Sanctions Put a Dent in Crypto Crime?

    On November 28, the US Treasury Department took an important step in responding to the SamSam ransomware cyberattacks, which occurred earlier this year. Considered one of the most effective cyberattacks in US history, the hackers behind SamSam since 2015 have targeted institutions ranging from companies to hospitals to schools, demanding payments in Bitcoin as ransom. After being paid, the hackers laundered these funds through online cryptocurrency exchanges into Iranian riyals, reaping the rewards of their malicious behavior. As part of their designation, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included the Bitcoin addresses of Iran-based Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammed Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of...
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  • Trade Disrupted: US and China Need More Than a Truce

    At this year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, the trade dispute between China and the United States took center stage. Chinese President Xi and his US counterpart President Donald Trump agreed to avoid further escalations of the ongoing bilateral trade war for the next 90 days. The temporary deal does not assuage the escalatory measures already taken, leaving the existing tariffs in place. This edition of the EconoGraphic explores how the brewing trade conflict is impacting manufacturing supply chains, soybean cargo routes, and trade flows of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) among the United States, China, and the rest of the world.

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