Global Business & Economics Program

  • JCPOA in Peril - EU SPV to the Rescue?

    The European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, recently announced that the EU will set-up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) “to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran.” In response, our visiting senior fellow, Samantha Sultoon, argued that this SPV will not provide a reliable path around US sanctions, and may undermine the effectiveness of US and EU sanctions in the long-run. This edition of the EconoGraphic explains how the SPV would work in practice and outlines why this mechanism is unlikely to offer Iran enough economic upside to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) alive. 

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  • Pence Takes Aim at China

    US Vice President Mike Pence took direct aim at Beijing in an October 4 speech in which he accused China of “pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the president, our agenda, and our nation’s most cherished ideals.”

    Pence’s speech followed similar remarks by US President Donald J. Trump at the United Nations Security Council on September 26. Trump there accused Beijing of “meddling… because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade and we are winning on trade.” China and the United States have been locked in a tit-for-tat exchange of tariffs after Trump placed restrictions on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in June. On September 17, the United States placed...

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  • China: Iran’s Lifeline to Overcome Oil Sanctions

    The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May has thrown a previously established, delicate geopolitical balance into disarray. The remaining signatories of the JCPOA—Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia—are exploring options to circumvent the resumption of US sanctions on Tehran primarily by establishing a channel to allow financial transactions to cover exports from Iran.

    But for all parties of the JCPOA, the key Iranian commodity of interest is crude oil, particularly for Beijing. In 2017, one-third of Iran’s oil exports were sold to China—more than any other country. This relationship between the two countries softens the blow of US sanctions on Iran by giving Tehran a lifeline when facing economic hardship, to an extent.

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  • USMCA: The New North American Trade Deal

    Just minutes before the September 30 deadline, the United States and Canada – following the US-Mexico deal – reached a new trade accord that modernizes the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The newly rebranded United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is now set to be signed before December 1, 2018. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program held a rapid reaction conference call on Tuesday, October 2 to discuss key points of the deal and the implications for the future of North American relations. Below is the audio recording and summary.