Global Business & Economics Program

  • New Legislation Presents Impactful But Measured Way Forward on Russia Sanctions

    Driven by understandable distrust of US President Donald Trump’s continued relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a bipartisan group of US senators have introduced legislation that, if passed, compels the Trump administration to increase the pressure on Moscow. The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019, or DASKAA, is a revisited, and improved version of the similarly named bill that was introduced in response to Trump’s widely panned July 2018 summit with Putin in Helsinki. Several additional Russian-related outrages later, this bill introduced by Senators Graham, Menendez, Cardin, Gardner, and Shaheen likely has a better chance of becoming law than its predecessor, which languished in a Congress distracted by a Supreme Court fight, the summer recess, a competing Russia sanctions bill, and the pre-election

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  • Sultoon Quoted in National Journal on Khashoggi Case


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  • The EU Draft Motion That Could Lead to Car Tariffs

    As US-China trade tensions calm down, they could escalate quickly on the transatlantic front

    While a US delegation led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Steven Mnuchin is in Beijing to try to de-escalate the current tariff tensions ahead of a March 1 deadline, clouds are gathering on the transatlantic trade front. A draft motion tabled by the European Parliament (EP) last week could end trade negotiations before they even officially start—and pave the way for US tariffs on European cars and car parts. With the US Commerce Department’s investigative report into whether foreign automobiles are a security threat to the United States due by February 18, European hesitation about the negotiating mandate could prove fatal.


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  • A Breakdown of the Sanctions Deal between the United States and Oleg Deripaska

    On January 16, a US Senate resolution to maintain US sanctions on the Russian aluminum giant RUSAL and its holding company EN+ failed to garner the necessary 60 votes to pass. As a result, the Trump administration lifted its economic sanctions on RUSAL and EN+ on January 27.

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  • Kasperek Joins Cheddar to Discuss China Trade Talks


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  • O'Toole Quoted in Newsweek on Impact of Sanctions on Russian Economy


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  • O'Toole Quoted in Foreign Policy on EU Workaround to US Iran Sanctions


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  • Facing Reality: Europe’s Special Purpose Vehicle Will Not Challenge US Sanctions

    The European Union on January 31 formally announced its long-awaited special purpose vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran, called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). 

    Predictably, the SPV won’t seek to challenge US sanctions by attempting to conduct sanctionable trade with Iran as had been originally floated, and will instead focus on non-sanctionable trade, including humanitarian goods—food, medicine, and medical devices—exempt from US sanctions. It’s clear from the European announcement that there was no real market in the EU, especially from Europe’s financial institutions, to take on the risk of being sanctioned by the United States. But this doesn’t mean that the SPV will be feckless; instead it will serve an important role in conducting the humanitarian trade that US sanctions policy encourages, but harsh US rhetoric and risk-averse...

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  • New Venezuela Sanctions Need Timely Results

    On January 28, the Trump administration again turned to sanctions to ratchet up pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro to step down.

    The new sanctions measures severely limit key US revenue streams for PdVSA—Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company—by mandating that any money intended for PdVSA be deposited into blocked accounts, accessible only with authorization from the Trump administration. While PdVSA’s US subsidiary, Citgo, may continue to purchase and import petroleum products (at least until July 27), all payments must also be made into a US-based blocked account. Should that authorization expire, the result will effectively be a US oil embargo affecting a major source of crude oil for the southern United States. Further, the sanctions ...
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  • Can Theresa May Change Brussels’ Mind?

    As British Prime Minister Theresa May packs her bags to go to Brussels once again, European leaders could be forgiven for thinking this “looks like Groundhog Day,” Bart Oosterveld, the Atlantic Council’s C. Boyden Gray fellow on global finance and growth and director of the Global Business and Economics Program, said.

    May pushed through a provision in the British Parliament on January 29—the Brady Amendment—which formally states Parliament’s opposition to the current draft Withdrawal Agreement laying out the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union over concerns about the “backstop” provision meant to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


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