Hung Tran

  • The G20 Turns Into G19+1

    A sigh of relief reverberated from Osaka when US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume trade negotiations. Important as it is, this agreement overshadowed another development which will weaken the world’s ability to forge a consensus to tackle pressing common challenges: the Group of Twenty (G20) has effectively turned into the ‘Group of Nineteen Plus One.’


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  • Trump, Xi Pause US-China Trade War

    Trump lifts some restrictions on Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei

    US President Donald J. Trump agreed on June 29 to lift some restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and delay imposing new tariffs on Chinese goods. These concessions were announced following a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, at which the two leaders agreed to restart trade negotiations between their countries.

    “Frankly, this was all fairly predictable,” said Mark Linscott, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and a former assistant US trade representative (USTR) for South and Central Asian Affairs.

    “The two sides had already made progress before and intensifying the war is in neither side’s interest,” Linscott said, adding, “At this point, it seems a lot easier to impose tariffs than to lift them, so avoiding new ones makes a lot of sense, particularly to allow

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  • Tran Joins CGTN to Discuss what to expect at the G20 Summit


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  • Tran Quoted in the Financial Times on Trade and Economic Challenges


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  • US-China Trade War: Escalation With No End in Sight

    On May 10, the United States raised tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of imports from China, affecting about 5,700 categories of goods and covering almost one-third of capital and consumer goods. The new 25 percent tariff rate won’t apply to goods in transit—those that left China before May 10 and arriving in the United States before June 1. This delays the economic impact of the measure by a few weeks which can be helpful given the US deadline of one month before imposing a 25 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports.

    In response to the US tariffs, China has raised tariffs to up to 25 percent on $60 billion of imports from the United States. These tariffs will come into effect on June 1. In addition, China can use non-tariff means to further reduce US imports, including by directing state-owned enterprises (SOEs)

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  • WTO in a Bind Over Trump’s National Security Tariffs

    A landmark decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO) affirming it has jurisdiction to review trade measures taken by a member claiming national security exceptions to WTO rules has put the body in a bind as the United States argues that the WTO does not have this authority.

    In a case brought by Ukraine against Russia in 2016, the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Panel ruled on April 5 that Russia had the right to invoke national security concerns to restrict the transit of Ukrainian goods. The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body then re-affirmed this decision on April 26. 


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  • Deficits Don’t Matter? That’s Too Good to Be True!

    As the 2020 US presidential campaign heats up, deficits are once again coming back into the spotlight. A growing number of candidates are beginning to flirt with the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which is neither modern nor monetary. In a nutshell, the MMT argues that budget deficits don’t matter: a sovereign country can print as much money as it wants to spend until inflation rises, at which point it can raise taxes to cool down the economy. Since the Great Recession, major countries have done this (for example, via quantitative easing) to support a recovery—nothing new there. However, to carry this argument to its extreme, saying categorically that deficits don’t matter is wrong. Nevertheless, it is music to the ears of politicians both on the right (who favor more tax cuts) and the left (who propose Medicare for All and the Green New Deal). To most of us, it seems too good to be true—and it is.
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  • US-Japan Trade Negotiations: A Narrow Scope is Key to Success

    US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi kicked off long-awaited trade negotiations between the United States and Japan in Washington this week. While both sides have agreed to accelerate the talks, their scope is unclear.


    Japan wants to focus on tariffs on industrial and agricultural goods, referring to the possible outcome as a Trade Agreement on Goods (TAG), but the United States insists on a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation—encompassing goods, services, investment, and anti-currency manipulation.

    Beyond these differences in scope, there are important divergences on substantive matters, not the least of which is Japan’s preference for a free trade framework as opposed to the United States’ managed-trade approach. As a consequence, the talks could make speedy progress if narrowly focused, but could drag on if Washington insists on a comprehensive agenda.


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  • Diversity Builds Financial Resilience

    The diversity of financial institutions, with their differences in business models, liability structures, time horizons, and investment motivations could contribute greatly to financial resilience. Since the 2008 crisis, financial institutional diversity has helped sustain market liquidity while banks have curtailed their market-making activity [a readiness to buy and sell securities to accommodate their clients] due to regulatory changes and business strategies. Improving resiliency and liquidity in financial markets is critical to better finance the real economy, allocate risks properly, and support financial stability.
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  • The WTO May Be Beyond Saving

    US President Donald J. Trump created ripples when he said on August 30, 2018, that if the World Trade Organization (WTO) doesn’t “shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO.” Trump’s comments highlighted growing complaints against the WTO — voiced most loudly by the Trump administration, but shared to various extents by other countries. Eventually, the Group of Twenty (G-20) Summit in Buenos Aires agreed on December 1, 2018, to start discussing WTO reform, with progress to be reviewed at the next G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019.

    But significant differences remain in countries’ views of the WTO’s problems and the necessary remedies. Several reform proposals have been floated by various groups of countries, only to be promptly rejected by others. Since agreement is based on consensus of all 164 members of the WTO, progress is highly unlikely any time

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