A Platform That Allows You to Reach A Growing Audience

International Trade Examiner (ITE) invites its readers to become active participants in the content that appears on the blog. You will be able to offer your own perspective on issues relating to the global market economy.

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As an invited expert, you will benefit by:

1. Sharing the platform with other experts,

2. Having your work reach ITE’s followers via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and e-mail combined, and

3. Engaging the community in issues pertaining to international trade.

Instructions for Guest Bloggers:

Word count: 250-600 words

Submission guidelines:

  • Microsoft Word document with the blog post
  • A brief bio of no more than 4 sentences
  • Photo/image (optional – must be the original photo or image created by the author and relates to the story)
  • E-mail your guest blog post to tradeexaminer@gmail.com

All work must be the original ideas and research of the author. Any work or image that has been copied directly from another source without permission will not be accepted.

All articles must be relevant to the blog and well written. A piece that is well-written is one that:

  • Raises an interesting question
  • Explains why the question and information provided are important (i.e., passes the So what? question)
  • Presents sound evidence
  • Includes your own analysis of the data provided
  • Draws a clear conclusion based on the evidence presented
  • Written for either an academic, policymaking or business audience

Any piece that does not relate to international trade, consists of numerous spelling/grammatical errors, fails to provide facts to support an argument and includes disrespectful and foul language will not be considered for publication.

Related Topics (not limited to these topics):

  • How your business has been impacted by international trade
  •  Fair trade versus free trade
  • World Trade Organization
  • International trade’s impact on workers
  • Opportunities and challenges of free trade for consumers
  • Free trade agreements

If your piece is accepted, we will inform you via e-mail along with the expected publication date. (Note: Guest posts in which business owners discuss how they have been affected by international trade will also appear in the Global Research Institute of International Trade’s newsletter – www.griit.org.)

Thank you for your interest in contributing to ITE. I look forward to collaborating with you. You can contact me at tradeexaminer@gmail.com with any questions and/or concerns.

Sarita Jackson, Founder

Note: You can read and bookmark these guidelines. Click here to save the link for guest bloggers.

ITE does not pay for guest blog posts.

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U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Re-open Ex-Im Bank

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to re-open the Export-Import Bank (commonly referred to as the Ex-Im Bank) on Tuesday. However, the U.S. Senate still has to vote on this matter, which may not take place until December.

Despite the political impact in U.S. Congress and economic impact for many U.S. businesses, many still have not even heard of the Ex-Im Bank. ITE describes the history and function of the Ex-Im Bank as well as shed light on the controversy surrounding this particular institution.

Boycott in the Senate! What will happen in the House tomorrow?

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History and Purpose

The Ex-Im Bank was created in 1934 as a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program and to help carry out his foreign policy goals. Eight decades later, the Ex-Im Bank assists small businesses through its export credit insurance to cover lack of payment from the buyer in a foreign market,  credit program for international buyers of U.S. goods and services, loans, and other financing programs for foreign buyers seeking to purchase U.S. capital goods and services. The Ex-Im Bank offers loans that other banks would not offer due to the high risks involved in exporting. With these lofty goals, the effectiveness of the Ex-Im Bank is under scrutiny.

The Ex-Im Bank’s contract was scheduled to end on September 30, 2014. The bank was reauthorized only until the end of June 2015 instead of for another five year period. Consequently, as of July 1, 2015, the Ex-Im Bank has stopped functioning altogether.

Arguments Against Reauthorization

Opponents of reauthorization argue that the Ex-Im Bank is just another form of corporate welfare. For example, Forbes contributor Dan Ikenson writes:

The collective evidence demonstrates…that Ex-Im largesse serves the interests of some U.S. companies at the expense of other U.S. companies.  Ex-Im facilitates exports and job creation for some U.S. companies, but inhibits exports, domestic sales, and jobs at other U.S. companies…It has possibly affected a reshuffling of jobs between industries and firms, but taking resources from one pocket of the economy and putting them into the other pocket does not create jobs or growth.

A YouTube video argues that the Ex-Im Bank wastes tax payers’ dollars and benefit special interests.

According to a CBS news report, Enron received over $650 million on overseas projects from the Ex-Im Bank. When the company went bankrupt, it reportedly owed the Bank $512 million.

Support for Reauthorization

Proponents of the Ex-Im Bank claim that this institution creates jobs without relying on U.S. tax payer dollars. Instead, according to proponents, the Ex-Im Bank actually generates revenue for U.S. tax payers.

President Obama said in 2012:

By reauthorizing support for the Export-Import Bank, we’re helping thousands of businesses sell more of their products and services overseas, and, in the process, we’re helping them create jobs here at home. And we’re doing that at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

According to Ex-Im Bank data, its services have generated $2 billion for US taxpayers.

Even Sallie James, a Cato Institute policy analyst who opposes Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, admits that the Bank does not waste tax payer money.

It is true that the Ex-Im Bank has not imposed a net burden on taxpayers in recent years. It has used revenues from fees and premiums to fund its activities. Congress allows the Ex-Im Bank access to interest-free funds from the Treasury for program and administrative expenses, with the expectation that offsetting collections will repay the Treasury in full.

As a matter of fact, the Ex-Im Bank only assists two percent of  annual U.S. exporters.

Another argument in favor is that foreign countries subsidize their exporters far more than the United States, which gives U.S. exporters a competitive disadvantage. While governments throughout Asia provide guarantees, loans and insurance to exporters ranging from $24 to $111 billion, the United States only provides $15 billion.

Is the Ex-Im Bank Government Waste?

No. As the figures show, the private sector still provides the majority (98%) of loans and other financial resources that U.S. exporters need. The Bank accounts for the remaining two percent. The Ex-Im Bank does not rely on U.S. tax dollars to function.

The examples of Enron, Boeing and Solyndra play into people’s fears of big government and wasteful spending. (The video above focuses on Boeing and Solyndra as examples of wasting taxpayer dollars to fund Ex-Im Bank.) However,  pointing to these companies as examples merely ignores the number of successful exporting companies that have actually benefitted from the Ex-Im Bank. For this reason, there is a strong push back from business associations and their members.

Lastly, because so few people are aware of the Ex-Im Bank, it is just an easy target. Opponents can attack such a small portion of export financing and pretend that the end of the Ex-Im Bank will have huge implications. Failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank will only result in a number of business owners in general being locked out of the international market.

That is why U.S. business owners should pay attention to the political angle of international trade and get involved.

Do you think that U.S. Congress should reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank?

 See GPS’ Fareed Zakaria’s take from Sunday, July 6, 2014 at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/07/why-the-export-import-bank-matters/

Reprint from July 10, 2014 (with updates)


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Food Fight Blocks US-EU Trade Deal

Adith S. Sitaraman

The T-TIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement) is said to be a very important deal between the US and the EU, by pushing the EU economy by nearly €120bn (US$ 134bn), by 2017 and the U.S. economy by €95bn (US$ 106bn). The controversy surrounding the T-TIP is that critics claim it could be a problem of food safety regulations within the two regions.


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The culture of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) in the EU is feared to have drastic environmental impacts. On the other hand, GMOs are widely used in the United States. For example, U.S. maize is a GM product, and with the T-TIP in full swing, it could pose a threat to the EU where GMO is looked upon as a big threat. There are around 82 pesticides banned in EU that are used in the United States, according to the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. The use of pesticides has been a major concern in the EU.

EDC (Endocrine disrupting chemicals) cause drastic issues involving cancers, reproductive problems, unborn children and infants. European commission however, failed to define these terms of EDC being used within its deadline. Beef – Growth hormones are utilized but these are banned in the EU. Also chemicals, such as ractopamine, that enables weight gain in cattle and pigs are actually banned in the EU. Having said this, the Codex Alimentarius had classified it as safe. The Codex Alimentarius or the “Food Code” was developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization that aims to set out international food standards, codes of practice and lays guidelines relating to food trade. The regulations in EU are much different from those in the United States and more stringent sometimes. A good example can be the use of lactic acid to wash away and kill pathogens in beef meat which in the EU is not practiced instead, they use only hot water for the same purpose. The same treatment goes for chicken. It has been brought forward by many food safety lobbyists in the EU that U.S. standards on animal welfare are usually lower compared to Europe. On the whole the EU is said to have a better grip with its farm to fork implementation. On the contrary it was also known in 2013 where the issue revolving around horse meat showed that the EU had a few weak links in its food safety monitoring.

Food safety is crucially important for consumers so that they know that the foods that they eat are safe. These food safety regulations vary from region to region. For example, the United States approves the use of GMOs. The EU, on the other hand, bans GMOs. The T-TIP agreement between the United States and EU has a possibility to serve as a back door entry of many of these GM crops from the US to the EU, for example consider, the agreement is in place and effective GM crops that were once banned in EU can easily enter EU borders from the United States. EU consumers are clearly opposed to this idea of GMO.

The United States can look at trading food/food products that are not GMO with a very stringent screening process for pesticides/GMO/hormones prior to shipment.

The T-TIP has the potential to become a passage of entry of goods that were once banned in these countries to be made available for trade.

The EU will face many issues in terms of food safety and security if the T-TIP agreement is pushed forward. The differences between the EU and US in terms of regulations and allowable limits pose as threats to the EU most importantly. Critics of the T-TIP claim that this trade agreement will dilute EU’s existing stringent regulations on food safety and those who will benefit from this agreement

People are also not aware of the complications involved. In the United States, not all consumers are aware that the maize/corn they consume is mostly GM. People in the EU have had a negative feeling towards the consumption of a GM product and are, hence, opposed to the idea. It is, however, proven that GM products, such as corn, have not caused any effects in people consuming it for many years. But the argument lies not on this fact but the reason where food products that can be easily brought in to the EU under the T-TIP agreement. This small link in the entire chain can be very crucial as it drastically could affect an array of businesses in the EU.


  • Food safety is of the main concern here and it goes without saying that a stringent process should be put in place to mutually benefit both parties.
  • On the other hand, GM crops have been substantially consumed over the past years in the United States without harm.
  • Consumer perception is usually negative when words like the tabooed, “Genetically Modified Organisms” are heard. This perception should change.
  • EU wants to be sovereign but eventually I feel to make a win-win situation both parties can indeed benefit from an efficient agreement that precisely addresses food safety issues.
  • People need to be aware of the pros and cons of GM crop. Even though the agreement may relax regulations of GM foods into the EU from the United States, as mentioned earlier, a win-win situation is possible but should lean toward the EU’s strict standards for importing.

Adith S. Sitaraman is a member of the Global Research Institute of International Trade project support team. He is also currently pursuing a certificate in international trade and commerce at UCLA Extension. 


Disclaimer: Photo courtesy of xedos4/freedigitalphotos.net


Posted in Agriculture, Cross-regional Free Trade Agreements, European Union, Free Trade Agreements, Industry, International Trade | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Cuba Trade Briefs for SMEs


With the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 20015, businesses are looking at both the opportunities and challenges in the Cuban market. However, opportunities already exist due to specific legislation going as far back as 2000.

Select U.S. products have been competitive in the Cuban market throughout the 21st century. For example, wheat, corn and rice accounted for a large portion of U.S. food exports to Cuba. Food exports to Cuba reached a peak in 2008 before dropping drastically over the next seven years. Our analysis of trade statistics shows that the top five competitive exports to Cuba are meat, animal feed, soybeans, corn and chemical fertilizers.

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At the same time, new opportunities have opened up for other products and services. More specifically, agricultural equipment and services-based industries, such as financial services, stand to gain from recent U.S.-Cuba policy reforms.

U.S. exporters to Cuba enjoy particular competitive advantages. Their competitive strength lies in their geographical proximity to the Cuba, lower transportation costs, reduced delivery time and small volume capacity.

Although U.S. exports can be cost competitive due to the reasons highlighted above, other factors present a challenge to their ability to compete. For example, both U.S. and Cuban policies increase the transaction costs for U.S. exporters, which, in turn, increases the price of their products in the Cuban market.

GRIIT’s Cuba Trade Brief highlights the specific opportunities that allow U.S. exporters access to the Cuban market. This brief goes further to assess the risks for SMEs in the Cuban market and offers simple, realistic recommendations for business owners looking to take advantage of the current and future opportunities in the Cuban market.

To check out the first of GRIIT’s trade brief series, click here.

What questions do you have about taking advantage of the Cuban market currently and/or when the trade embargo is lifted?

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The Effect of China’s Currency Devaluation on U.S.-China Trade


Yasmin Aljarki

100 yuan

After a central bank devaluation last week, China’s yuan fell to a four year low. This has sparked fears of a currency war brimming, as other countries also feel the pressure to devalue their currencies. Financial markets have been on edge since the devaluation, bringing China’s economic strength into question.

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Financial experts have seen the move to devaluation as a benefit to China, allowing potential export growth given its recent slump in exports this past year. Yet, others argue that despite the stimulation to China’s declining export industry, a much bigger devaluation would be needed to have a meaningful effect on China’s large economy. Furthermore, a weaker yuan would lead to a rise in the cost of imports, which could result in the fall of stocks and further harm the economy. Therefore, the collateral effect of the devaluation seems to outweigh any substantial benefit it would have to China’s exporters.

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has reassured markets that the devaluation will not be a recurring trend. Yet, the impact of the devaluation on the United States is apparent. A weaker yuan means a stronger dollar, which in turn would hurt U.S. manufacturers exporting to China, as American goods become more expensive.

Therefore, the impact on trade is apparent. The close link between the yuan and the dollar has a significant effect on trade between these two countries. Importers and exporters should continue to monitor the yuan, although it is unexpected that a devaluation as significant as this one is to occur again systematically.

Yasmin Aljarki is a part of the project support team at the Global Research Institute of International Trade. She has earned her Bachelor of Law at University College London and a Master of Law at the University of Southern California. Yasmin is now transitioning to the world of business and international trade, whilst earning a postgraduate certificate in International Trade & Commerce at UCLA. To learn more about Ms. Aljarki, please click here.

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