WBEZ | trade http://www.wbez.org/tags/trade Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How Obama's trade deal might stir up your dinner http://www.wbez.org/news/how-obamas-trade-deal-might-stir-your-dinner-113697 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-482696700_custom-3b2d86bc315805c0070f8c4b608510712b8875be-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455064880" previewtitle="Tajima Wagyu beef cows at a cattle farm in Yabu City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Japan won a provision in the new Pacific Rim trade deal that would push tariffs back up if its beef imports surge."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Tajima Wagyu beef cows at a cattle farm in Yabu City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Japan won a provision in the new Pacific Rim trade deal that would push tariffs back up if its beef imports surge." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/06/gettyimages-482696700_custom-3b2d86bc315805c0070f8c4b608510712b8875be-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Tajima Wagyu beef cows at a cattle farm in Yabu City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Japan won a provision in the new Pacific Rim trade deal that would push tariffs back up if its beef imports surge. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>When President Obama announced the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday &mdash; and released them on&nbsp;<a href="https://medium.com/the-trans-pacific-partnership">Medium.com</a>&nbsp;&mdash; there was a lot of talk about labor, the environment and manufacturing. But trade deals have a way of changing the way we eat, too.</p></div></div></div><p>Consider NAFTA, which&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/02/13/385754265/how-nafta-changed-american-and-mexican-food-forever">boosted&nbsp;</a>the availability of cheap avocados and winter tomatoes for Americans, while expanding Wal-Mart and processed food in Mexico. So now that we know the details of this new Pacific Rim trade deal, what might it mean for dinner &mdash; both in the U.S. and the 11 other nations party to the treaty? Herewith, a cheat sheet on the 2,000-plus-page deal:</p><div id="res455132443"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Food Safety</strong></span></p><p>Supporters of the TPP highlight the fact that the chapter on food safety and inspections will bring other countries up to U.S. standards and set rapid deadlines for resolving disputes over rejected shipments. Critics say the agreement gives&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/tpp-details-released-and-it%25E2%2580%2599s-worse-we-thought">countries new power to challenge food safety laws</a>, which could be framed as &quot;barriers to trade.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s hard right now for inspectors to make sure everything is safe,&quot; said Karen Hansen-Kuhn, director of trade, technology and global governance for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Currently, about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44701433/ns/health-food_safety/t/flood-food-imported-us-only-percent-inspected/">2 percent of food imported to the U.S</a>. is inspected. With more imports coming in, pressure to resolve disputes quickly, and no mandate for more regulatory staff, says Hansen-Kuhn, it&#39;s unlikely that inspections will improve.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>GMOs</strong></span></p><p>Since&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-us-says-new-eu-plan-for-gmo-imports-is-no-solution-2015-4">rules on genetically modified foods differ from country to country</a>, the agreement&#39;s market access chapter includes a section on &quot;products of biotechnology&quot; &mdash; think engineered corn and soy &mdash; and&nbsp;sets up a protocol for importing countries to decide on product safety.&nbsp;It also establishes a working group for the topic, suggesting that there&#39;s plenty more to be worked out.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Dairy, </span></strong><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Meat</span></strong><strong><span style="font-size:18px;"> And Booze</span></strong></p><p>The TPP does away with more than 18,000 tariffs in the countries party to the deal. American producers will gain access to new markets &mdash; and foreign producers will get access to ours. That includes a lot of food, much of which could become cheaper here, as low-cost imports intensify competition on price.</p><p><strong>Dairy</strong>:&nbsp;After significant battle during negotiations, Canada and New Zealand agreed to modest tariff reductions on dairy, opening their markets to American milk and cheese. In return, Americans may see more New Zealand milk &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thecollectivedairy.com/nz/our-products/suckie-spouch-apple-bircher/">apple bircher &quot;yogurt suckies,&quot;</a>&nbsp;anyone? &mdash; on shelves.</p><p><strong>Pork</strong>:&nbsp;The American pork industry has become a net exporter in the past 20 years, says Nick Giordano, vice president for global government affairs at the National Pork Producers Council. The TPP will pave the way for exports to continue to grow. But America also imports a significant amount of pork. Tariff reductions on imports here could make all that foreign pork cheaper and push prices down in the U.S. &mdash; but also potentially threaten the livelihood of hog farmers.</p><p><strong>Beef</strong>:&nbsp;The agreement doesn&#39;t do much for American beef producers, says the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nfu.org/nfu-says-tpp-will-fail-family-farmers-and-ranchers/3620">National Farmer&#39;s Union</a>, because Japan won a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-06/tpp-to-cut-food-costs-for-japan-on-lower-tariffs-more-imports">provision</a>&nbsp;that would push tariffs back up if imports surged.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.r-calfusa.com/r-calf-usa-says-tpp-will-worsen-cattle-and-sheep-price-volatility/">Smaller beef producers in the U.S. say</a>&nbsp;that increased competition from imports will put more farmers out of business.</p><p><strong>Booze</strong>:&nbsp;California&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/pressroom/10062015">Wine Institute has been supportive of the TPP</a>, as have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.just-drinks.com/analysis/what-does-the-trans-pacific-partnership-mean-for-the-drinks-industry-focus_id118361.aspx">most American drink industry group</a>s &mdash; think Kentucky bourbon &mdash; because the deal opens the massive Pacific market to their products. It also should mean lower prices here for Pacific Rim wines and spirits, like New Zealand&#39;s <em>sauvignon</em><em> </em><em>blancs</em> and Japanese shochu&nbsp;&mdash; though the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative notes that American wine tariffs are already pretty low.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Labeling Issues</strong></span></p><p>Junk food:&nbsp;Prepackaged food companies can be required to list all ingredients in their foods and additives, but regulators are required to provide importer companies the same confidentiality afforded domestic ones &mdash; i.e. no requesting, say, the formula for Coca-Cola to verify nutrition information and then sharing it with a local producer. So those food labels should still tell you whether you can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89876927">pronounce what you&#39;re eating</a>.</p><p>Organic Products:&nbsp;Countries can enforce organic standards and are encouraged to come up with a way to unify them across borders. But there&#39;s no provision about whether stricter or looser standards should prevail. According to the agreement&#39;s draft text, if a country &quot;maintains requirements relating to the production, processing, or labeling of products as organic, it shall enforce such requirements.&quot; The USTR was unable to provide specifics by publishing time.</p><p>Challenging other nations&#39; laws:&nbsp;The Investor State Dispute Settlement provision &mdash; which Elizabeth Warren called &quot;the TPP clause everyone should oppose&quot; &mdash; gives member states the power to challenge other states&#39; laws that impact trade and sales. The clause is similar to the provision in NAFTA that overturned a Mexican tax on high fructose corn syrup in favor of American companies&#39; right to sell it, though the TPP does contain explicit language giving countries the right to &quot;regulate in the public interest.&quot; No word yet from USTR&nbsp;on whether labeling provisions for genetic modification and country of origin would reach that standard, or who defines &quot;public interest.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/08/455054676/how-obama-s-trrade-deal-might-change-your-dinner?ft=nprml&amp;f=455054676" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 11:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-obamas-trade-deal-might-stir-your-dinner-113697 Tough road ahead for the Trans-Pacific Partnership http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-06/tough-road-ahead-trans-pacific-partnership-113208 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7983316506_b3671336d8_z.jpg" title="(Photo: Flickr/GlobalTradeWatch)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227221535&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Will TPP get through Congress?</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>After years of tough negotiations, the United States, Japan, and 10 other countries agreed to a historic trade pact that will knock down tariffs and import quotas and open new markets for American companies. It&rsquo;s the largest regional trade agreement in history. Now it needs to pass the U.S. Congress. We&rsquo;ll take a look at where US lawmakers stand on the deal and whether it&rsquo;s likely to reach a consensus in Congress with Philip Levy. He&rsquo;s a senior fellow on the global economy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-73c0496a-3eed-41b3-4a65-adf2d6fe7304"><a href="http://twitter.com/philipilevy">Philip Levy </a>is a senior fellow on the global economy at the <a href="http://twitter.com/ChicagoCouncil">Chicago Council on Global Affairs</a>. </span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227221988&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Pharmaceutical concerns amid TPP opposition</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>The United States and other Pacific Rim nations reached an agreement Monday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ,but the battle is far from over. Congress will review the deal over the next few months, and TPP is not without its critics. Zahara Heckscher is one of them. She&rsquo;s a cancer patient who believes provisions of TPP would hinder the production of potentially life-saving generic drugs.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-73c0496a-3eef-4a5e-f745-1d387322170d"><a href="http://twitter.com/ZaharaHeckscher">Zahara Heckscher </a>is a writer, educator and cancer survivor protesting TPP drug rules. </span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227222621&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">World History Minute: The demise of Anwar El-Sadat</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Historian John Schmidt explores the last days of Anwar El-Sadar, on the anniversary of his assassination.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="http://twitter.com/JRSchmidtPhD">Prof. John Schmidt</a> is the author of &#39;On This Day in Chicago&#39;.&nbsp;</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227223366&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Does the international justice system work?</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>When we last spoke with Elise Keppler, she addressed what she sees as the major imbalance in the number of African defendants on trial in war crimes tribunals and global bodies, like the International Criminal Court (ICC). Keppler is associate director of the international justice program for Human Rights Watch and she&rsquo;s back to update us on what&rsquo;s happening in the trials of alleged perpetrators. She&rsquo;ll also talk about the impunity of leaders like Sudan&rsquo;s president, Omar al-Bashir. Though he&rsquo;s under indictment by the ICC, al-Bashir has been welcomed in countries like China and South Africa.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-73c0496a-3ef3-aa00-f7ec-18c8cc9a255a"><a href="http://twitter.com/EliseKeppler">Elise Keppler</a> is the associate director of <a href="http://twitter.com/hrw">Human Rights Watch&rsquo;s</a> international justice program. </span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-06/tough-road-ahead-trans-pacific-partnership-113208 Why China won't be joining the TPP...for now http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/why-china-wont-be-joining-tppfor-now-113201 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GettyImages-490602038.jpg" style="height: 350px; width: 600px;" title="A worker adjusts Chinese national flags following rain at Badachu in Beijing. The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal leaves the world's second-largest economy out of the mix. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><p>One glaring absence from the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal? China. The world&rsquo;s second-largest economy has quietly watched the final negotiations from the sidelines, neglecting to be involved for a variety of reasons, including one that President Obama more than hinted at when announcing the deal: &ldquo;When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can&#39;t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.&rdquo;</p><p>Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, it has eliminated a range of barriers to trade, but it has also stubbornly protected its own domestic industries and state-owned enterprises at the expense of foreign companies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to eliminate this type of protectionism through enforceable rules, and that&rsquo;s another big reason China won&rsquo;t be joining the TPP anytime soon. Though President Xi Jinping&rsquo;s economic reforms aim to level the playing field among state and private sectors, China will move forward at its own pace.</p><p>Another important reason China isn&rsquo;t joining the TPP is that it has been busy enough signing trade pacts with Australia, South Korea, and other economies in the region. These pacts, combined with the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, mean that China will continue to have meaningful input on &quot;the rules of the global economy&quot; and have considerable global economic influence for years to come.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/president-obama-talks-trade/why-china-wont-be-joining-tppfor-now" target="_blank"> via Marketplace</a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/why-china-wont-be-joining-tppfor-now-113201 U.S., other nations reach agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership http://www.wbez.org/news/us-other-nations-reach-agreement-trans-pacific-partnership-113174 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_843381100369_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/u3KBpGE1VLs?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><p>&quot;We, the trade ministers ... are pleased to announce that we have successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation,&quot; U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Monday morning, to a loud round of applause.</p><p>Froman said the &quot;historic&quot; TPP agreement will &quot;support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development and promote innovation across the Asia-Pacific region,&quot; while also raising living standards.</p><p>The 30-chapter announcement means that a years-long process to ease trading between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations is closer to being finalized, with negotiators clearing hurdles on how to handle everything from dairy products and drug patents to car factories.</p><p>The TPP will eliminate &quot;over 18,000 taxes that various countries impose on Made in America exports,&quot; the White House says, adding that import taxes on U.S. auto products will now be cut in member nations.</p><p>As news of the deal was announced, the U.S. Trade Representative&#39;s office also<a href="https://ustr.gov/tpp/">unveiled a new website</a>&nbsp;about the agreement. A more detailed summary of policy issues<a href="https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2015/october/summary-trans-pacific-partnership">was also released</a>&nbsp;through the office.</p><p>Officials from the U.S., Japan, and 10 other nations negotiated details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for much of the past week, meeting in Atlanta to push through a framework for a trade agreement that has set off political divisions in the U.S. and added to a debate over how the U.S. should deal with China.</p><p>The first question at Monday&#39;s news conference focused on what message the deal sends to China.</p><p>In his response, Froman didn&#39;t address China specifically, instead saying that the TPP &quot;helps define the rules of the road for the Asia-Pacific region in a way that&#39;s consistent with the interests and values that we share, and we look forward to sharing with other countries the results of the agreement.&quot;</p><p><strong>Update at 9:20 a.m. ET: Deal Is Announced</strong></p><p>After five years of talks, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says, negotiators have reached a deal. Froman made the announcement in Atlanta; we&#39;ve udpated the top of this post to reflect the news.</p><p><em>Our original post continues:</em></p><p>The sweeping trade deal would cover roughly 40 percent of the world&#39;s economic output, reducing or eliminating tariffs, setting standards on some patents and work conditions, and easing the way for investments between countries.</p><p>Here&#39;s the list of countries the TPP would include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, Singapore and Vietnam.</p><p>The breakthrough came after several obstacles fell, including a dispute over the length of exclusive patents for new biological drugs, which had split the U.S. and Australia. It&#39;s one of several intellectual property issues that have been a top priority for American companies.</p><p>One of the issues that prompted last-minute negotiations centers on the dairy industry, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/05/business/late-delay-failure-finalize-deal-pacific-trade-talks/#.VhJ3V_lVhHw">The Japan Times</a>, which says New Zealand, a large dairy producer, disagreed with Canada over dairy tariffs.</p><p>The newspaper also detailed a potential shift in the auto industry, saying:</p><blockquote><div><p><span style="color:#696969;"><em>&quot;A &#39;rule of origin&#39; would stipulate that only 45 percent of a vehicle would have to be sourced from within the TPP, down from the equivalent ratio of 62.5 percent under NAFTA, officials have said.&quot;</em></span></p></div></blockquote><p>If it&#39;s enacted, the deal would be the largest free trade agreement the U.S. is a party to &mdash; but it has an array of opponents, both in Congress, which would have to ratify it, and in other countries.</p><p>Summarizing some of the resistance to the deal,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/26/408832953/just-how-big-is-the-asia-trade-deal-obama-wants-its-a-beast">NPR&#39;s Danielle Kurtzleben reported&nbsp;</a>earlier this year that leaked portions of the TPP &quot;have intellectual property advocates, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, worried it goes too far in areas like extending copyright laws and fair use rules. Doctors Without Borders&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/Washington-Watch/51653">has also argued</a>&nbsp;the deal could make for more expensive generic drugs, restricting access to medicine for some consumers. However, some wish the pact went further &mdash; environmental groups like the Sierra Club, for example, believe the provisions&nbsp;<a href="http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2014/01/green-groups-leaked-trans-pacific-partnership-environment-chapter">won&#39;t do enough</a>&nbsp;to address overfishing.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/05/445987857/u-s-other-nations-reportedly-reach-agreement-on-trans-pacific-partnership?ft=nprml&amp;f=445987857" target="_blank">&nbsp;via NPR</a></em></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-other-nations-reach-agreement-trans-pacific-partnership-113174 White House explores ways to do business with Cuba http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-explores-ways-do-business-cuba-112755 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-483711172_wide-dab18d4d4e6ce1cfa38f290f818727773a1fa941-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>The Obama administration is considering ways to further ease travel and restrictions on Cuba. There is still an embargo in place and it would take an act of Congress to lift that.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The president, however, does have ways to make it easier for Americans to go to Havana or to sell goods there. A lot has changed already since the White House announced its new approach last year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Washington, D.C. lawyer Robert Muse managed to get a U.S. government license to start ferry services to Cuba. He describes the process this way:</div><div>&quot;As Ernest Hemingway wrote about going bankrupt, it happened both slowly and then suddenly. I had applied for the license several years ago and it just sat there in a kind of policy void.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Once President Obama announced an opening with Cuba late last year, everything changed. &quot;Out of the blue,&quot; Muse says, &quot;suddenly the license was granted.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That doesn&#39;t mean this is a done deal. Cuba still has to agree to allow ferries to bring people and goods from Miami. But at least on the U.S. side, he says, it is getting easier to get licenses, especially for sales to Cuba&#39;s small, but emerging private sector.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;That could be anything from a pizza oven to restaurant lighting to napkins and chairs. Anything you could think of. So the authority exists,&quot; Muse says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He&#39;d like to see the Obama administration go further to boost trade. So would Sarah Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, who has taken U.S. lawmakers and others to Cuba for many years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;One thing that we are seeing is that many of these companies, U.S. companies that are going down to learn what they can about the market and Cuban priorities are coming back and applying for licenses and getting them,&quot; Stephens says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She&#39;s asked the Treasury Department to change the regulations for travel too to make it easier for individuals to go &mdash; as long as they are on educational, cultural, religious or family visits, as required by U.S. law.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If individuals are going to Cuba, the money they are spending is going directly into the hands of individual Cubans and that&#39;s really the goal,&quot; Stephens says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Not so says Frank Calzon of the Center for a Free Cuba.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The folks who travel to Cuba today are subsidizing the Cuban military and the security forces because the Cuban travel industry is completely controlled by the Cuban military. That&#39;s a fact,&quot; he says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite warmer relations with the U.S., he says Cuban authorities still routinely round up and beat up dissidents. He argues that having more Americans going to Cuba or doing business there won&#39;t improve things for average Cubans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The contrary happens,&quot; Calzon says. American corporations that are in Cuba become lobbyists of the Cuban dictatorship because they are afraid of what the Cuban government can do to their investment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Calzon argues that President Obama has already gone too far to undermine an embargo that was put in place by Congress.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But Muse, the D.C. lawyer, says the president can still carve out exceptions, and should before he leaves office.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The president can leave the U.S. embargo on Cuba like a piece of cheese that&#39;s far more holes than cheese,&quot; he adds.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The White House will only say that it &quot;continues to explore regulatory changes to provide new opportunities for American citizens and U.S. businesses.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/08/28/435416074/white-house-explores-ways-to-do-business-with-cuba?ft=nprml&amp;f=435416074" target="_blank"><em>Parallels</em></a></div></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-explores-ways-do-business-cuba-112755 Pakistani diplomat tells tale of 'mango diplomacy' http://www.wbez.org/story/pakistani-diplomat-tells-tale-mango-diplomacy-97252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/500px-Chaunsa.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Two years ago U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan and declared that country’s mangoes delicious. It was a taste test that&nbsp;kickstarted an earnest effort to open U.S. markets to Pakistani mangoes.</p><p>But this trade deal became something about more than just fruit; for a brief moment last summer, the entire future of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Pakistan seemed to be placed on the shoulders of a local Pakistani bureaucrat who had to launch the trade by throwing a big mango party in Chicago.</p><p>Odette Yousef brings us this story that spans a delectable fruit, international relations, a clicking beetle and a wayward delivery truck missing outside of Chicago.&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 18:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pakistani-diplomat-tells-tale-mango-diplomacy-97252 Both sweet and symbolic, Pakistani mangoes to arrive in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/both-sweet-and-symbolic-pakistani-mangoes-arrive-chicago-89850 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/500px-Chaunsa.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Pakistanis who’ve longed for easy access to their country’s most prized fruit will likely be able to find their favored mangoes on supermarket shelves in Chicago soon. This week the first shipment of Pakistani mangoes, all of the sweet chaunsa variety, arrived in Chicago. It will be feted Saturday at a mango celebration at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel, by no less than the Pakistan Ambassador to the US and other invited guests.</p><p>“The most important thing for people to realize (is) that this is an unprecedented situation,” said Asad Hayauddin, Consul for Trade and Commerce at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago. Hayauddin began working closely with US and Pakistani officials three years ago to figure out how to satisfy regulations set by the US Department of Agriculture that had long kept the fruits from reaching the US market. The USDA forbade the import of mangoes for fear that the fruit would carry pests that might harm US crops.<br> <br> “This is the first time in the history of US-Pakistan commercial or trade relations that perishable commodities are coming in,” said Hayauddin.<br> <br> Hayauddin spoke by phone from Sioux City, Iowa, where he was with the initial shipment of more than 2,800 lbs of mangoes at an irradiation facility. All mango shipments to the US will arrive in Chicago, and be treated in Iowa before being sold. Of the first shipment that arrived this week, none will be sold commercially, said Hayauddin. Rather, those will be consumed at the mango celebration. But Hayauddin expects the fruit to be on the shelves of South Asian grocers in the US soon.<br> <br> Hayauddin says the mango holds a particular importance in Pakistan. It is the country’s second major fruit crop and, culturally speaking, it figures prominently in the country’s cuisine and history. Entry to the US market therefore carries symbolic importance. Hayauddin added that without political support at the highest level of US and Pakistani government, the barriers to entry would not have been sorted out.<br> <br> “It was a massive team effort from the top political (level) down, to the diplomatic representatives, to the technical people on the ground,” said Hayauddin.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 22:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/both-sweet-and-symbolic-pakistani-mangoes-arrive-chicago-89850 Not a cruise ship http://www.wbez.org/content/not-cruise-ship <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//frontandcenter/photo/2011-07-11/88967/5.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The gravel in your driveway, the steel in your car, and the coal that produced electricity for your home may well have spent time on a Great Lakes freighter on its way to you. Each year, over 100 million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone and other products travel through the Great Lakes navigation system on ore ships.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-28/FNC-inset-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 50px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/about-front-and-center-%E2%80%93-depth-reporting-great-lakes-87655">About Front and Center</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-05/big-ship-diary-88726">Big ship diary: nine days on a freighter </a></strong></li></ul></div></div><p>Multimedia producer Allison Swaim takes us on board one of these ships: the MV Calumet.&nbsp; At 630 feet, it's longer than two football fields and holds close to 20,000 tons of cargo. You'd need almost 1,000 semi-trucks to carry the same load. Seventeen crew members live and work on the ship for a month at a time. It's a working boat, and the work never stops.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26256476?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p>This piece was produced for Front and Center, our series covering the Great Lakes region.Hear more from the Calumet at <a href="frontandcenter/2011-07-05/big-ship-diary-88726">Big Ship Diary</a> or get a glimpse behind the scenes at <a href="http://transom.org/?p=19129">Transom.</a></p></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/not-cruise-ship The battle over ballast waters http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-11/battle-over-ballast-waters-88934 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/St. Lawrence Flickr Neil Smith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Let’s say you’re the captain of a ship tied up at one of dozens of ports along the St. Lawrence Seaway or the Great Lakes.&nbsp; You’re taking on a cargo of iron ore or corn or salt.&nbsp; As you fill your hold, you keep your ship level by pumping water out of your ballast tanks.&nbsp;The trouble is that all of that ballast water could have been collected just about anywhere on the planet.&nbsp;</p><p>James Tierney is assistant commissioner for water quality for New York state’s Conservation Department and an expert on ballast water pollution, he says, &nbsp;“Ballast water may be sucked out of a port in the Black Sea, or Singapore, or Amsterdam.&nbsp; And then it’s brought over and it’s released.&nbsp; So ballast water has been a very effective mechanism to bring in all sorts of invasive species.”</p><p>Tierney says tiny creatures literally hide in the scum and saltwater stored inside these ships. Once they're dumped here in the Seaway they are free to spread.&nbsp; And that’s exactly what they’ve done, turning up in waterways from Quebec in the east to Minnesota in the west.&nbsp;</p><p>Jennifer Caddick heads a green group called Save the River.&nbsp; On a brilliant summer day she takes me to a narrow stretch of the St. Lawrence Seaway near Clayton New York, not far from Lake Ontario. “Things like the zebra mussel, round goby, spiny waterfleas, quagga mussels, all of those things have come in through ship ballast tanks,” she says.</p><p>It looks like a healthy stretch of river.&nbsp; But Caddick says just two of those alien invaders – the zebra mussel and the quagga mussel – have spread so rapidly and grown so densely that they are altering the entire food chain of the Great Lakes.&nbsp; They're changing the chemistry in the water, and triggering nasty algae blooms. “We’re seeing massive outbreaks of this cladophora algae, which along with it harbors bacteria.&nbsp; And when cladophora algae dies and washes up on shore, it smells like sewage,” she says.</p><p>In the Great Lakes, invasive species have climbed to the top of the list of environmental threats, right up there with climate change. Jeff Alexander – an environmental activist and writer based in Ann Arbor Michigan – believes the opening of the Seaway triggered a kind of slow-moving ecological disaster, far more devastating than the Gulf oil spill. “ You know an oil spill can be cleaned up to some extent, while invasive species, the problem just continues to grow and spread,” he says.</p><p>Alexander published a book last year called "Pandora’s Locks."&nbsp; He argues that invasive organisms sneaking in through the Seaway could leave the Great Lakes unrecognizable, shredding the natural network of plants and animals that evolved over thousands of years. “The truth is that nobody knows how this story is going to play out.&nbsp; The scientists can’t do research fast enough to keep up with the changes.&nbsp; And no one can tell you what the lakes will look like in 5, 10 or 25 years,” says Alexander.</p><p>That danger has sparked an ugly international feud over just what kind of ballast water regulations are needed to keep new invaders out.&nbsp;Last year, New York state approved strict new regulations that could eventually force each cargo ship entering the Seaway to have its own miniature waste water treatment plant right on board.&nbsp;</p><p>James Tierney with New York’s Conservation Department says that’s the only way to be sure nothing nasty gets through, “You have to put equipment on your ship that kills animals, bacteria, viruses, crustaceans that might be carried in ballast water.”</p><p>&nbsp;New York’s regulation sets a standard for clean ballast water a hundred times more restrictive than current international rules – a fact that thrills environmentalists. The state planned to put the rules into effect next year, but under intense pressure Tierney delayed the deadline for compliance to August of 2013.</p><p>Canadian officials want the stricter standards scrapped entirely, arguing that the cost of buying and installing new equipment is too high.&nbsp; Last year, Canada’s government asked the US State Department to intervene, arguing that New York’s standards&nbsp;could “have the effect of shutting down access to the St. Lawrence Seaway."</p><p>Speaking in Montreal last month, Canadian environment minister Peter Kent warned that states and provinces shouldn't get too far in front of international standards.&nbsp; “We just have to make sure that as time goes on we have to stay closely aligned so that we’re in step and complimentary,” he said.</p><p>Canadians are angry, in part, because much of the Seaway lies in their territory and links their ports.&nbsp;&nbsp;But even ships moving between Canadian harbors that pass through New York waters would have to meet the new standards. Bob Dalley runs the Canadian port in Prescott, Ontario.&nbsp;&nbsp;He says none of the ships that dock here could comply, “That would be a huge issue for all vessels coming in and using the St. Lawrence.&nbsp;&nbsp;But yeah, that would definitely have a impact.”</p><p>Some US officials agree that New York state has gone too far.&nbsp;&nbsp;Collister Johnson heads the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the agency that operates the US portion of the shipping route and says, “There is no other jurisdiction in the world.&nbsp; I’m talking not about states and provinces, but countries…that is proposing a set of ballast water regulations like the state of New York.”</p><p>Johnson says the current rules, introduced three years ago, are adequate.&nbsp;&nbsp;Those require ships to dump any water picked up in foreign ports while on the high seas.&nbsp;&nbsp;Vessels take on cleaner saltwater before entering North American harbors.&nbsp; If the Seaway is held to a higher standard, Johnson says, the cost of new equipment and technology will force shipping companies to take their cargoes to other ports on the East Coast, “ It is a great concern to the Seaway because it would shut down the Seaway.&nbsp; And it’s a great concern to Canada because it is impacting their sovereignty.”</p><p>The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard plan to propose their own updated ballast water rules this November.&nbsp;&nbsp;Lisa Jackson, who heads the EPA, says some kind of new accord is needed to end the confusion, “Right now we sort of have the worst of all worlds.&nbsp;&nbsp;We have individual states doing standards.&nbsp; We have shippers who I guess in some reality could have to meet the most stringent.&nbsp; But that situation is evolving.”</p><p>All sides say New York state will face enormous pressure to change its regulations to match the Federal standards -- even if they're less stringent. As negotiations and backroom talks continue, scientists say new invasive plants and animals are still arriving in the Great Lakes every year, many of them shipped in through the Seaway.</p></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-11/battle-over-ballast-waters-88934 Venture: Are tourists key to shrinking the trade deficit? http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-are-tourists-key-shrinking-trade-deficit-87434 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-04/IMAG0806.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Investors this week will be paying close attention to the stock market after last week's drop, but trade will also be a big focus.<br> &nbsp;<br> Thursday we find out just how much more stuff countries like China have been selling to us than we’ve been selling to them. The U.S. trade deficit last year was almost half a trillion dollars. But we do export more than we import in some areas – like dairy products, eggs, nuts, and rides on the Navy Pier ferris wheel.<br> &nbsp;<br> You may not have thought of that last one as an export. But, surprisingly, it is.<br> &nbsp;<br> If you think about what we export from Illinois, you probably think of corn, soybeans, farm equipment, but how about what people from around the world buy when they visit downtown Chicago?</p><p>It turns out everything an international tourist spends money on while they're in downtown Chicago, or elsewhere in the U.S., is counted as an export. That means a chocolate ice cream cone or cup of coffee or even intangibles like going up to the top of the Willis Tower are all considered U.S. exports.<br> &nbsp;<br> Mark Doms, chief economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce, helped explain it.<br> &nbsp;<br> ASHLEY GROSS: So if somebody comes here from Germany or Indonesia and buys a Frappuccino, that’s considered an export, so why?<br> MARK DOMS: Sure, so international trade simply means when someone from one country buys something from another country. So if someone from Japan buys a bottle of California wine in Japan, then that’s considered a U.S. export because there’s a non-U.S. person trading their money for a U.S. good. So then what if that Japanese person buys that bottle of wine not in Japan but, say, at a hotel in Chicago when they’re on vacation. So that’s still a foreign person purchasing a U.S. product.<br> GROSS: So how do you calculate that? Because you can’t go to a bicycle rental shop on the shores of Lake Michigan and say, What percentage of your sales did you sell to people from Canada or Germany?<br> DOMS: So we have to estimate this, and we estimate it using two pieces of information. First, from the Department of Homeland Security, we have a pretty good idea of how many people are coming to the United States, so we know the numbers. The second thing we do is there are surveys that ask people when they come and visit how much they spend. So if we know how many people are coming and know on average how much they spend, we can get a pretty good estimate of the total spending they do. So what we don’t have a very good idea of is where they’re spending that money – on hotels, bicycle rental shop or restaurants or tour buses or whatnot.<br> GROSS: Okay, so then the flip side of this is also true, so if an American goes overseas to Paris and buys a baguette, than that is considered an export to France and an import to the U.S.?<br> DOMS: Exactly. Because when you’re buying an import, say you’re in Chicago and buy a French-made product, I know the baguette would probably be stale by now, but say you buy some French chocolate, in some sense you are giving your money to buy a French product. Now if you were in Paris buying the exact same box of chocolate, that would be very similar, it’s an American citizen who’s purchasing a French product. That transaction just happens to take place on French soil versus American soil.<br> &nbsp;<br> Okay, but why is any of that important?<br> &nbsp;<br> HOLLY AGRA: Well, it’s definitely important when you think about jobs.<br> &nbsp;<br> Holly Agra is president of the tour boat company Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. And she’s on an advisory board to the U.S. Commerce Department about tourism.<br> &nbsp;<br> She says the U.S. could reduce its enormous trade deficit – and create more jobs - if we could attract more international tourists. But she says the U.S. has been losing market share in the global competition for tourists.<br> &nbsp;<br> Europeans are doing a better job by making it easier to get visas. By contrast, Agra says, Chinese people who want to come to the U.S. face a lot of obstacles.<br> &nbsp;<br> AGRA: You can wait as long as 45 days for your visa interview and you may have to travel as far as 1000 miles to get to the consulate center, there are only 5 consulate centers in all of China to process the visas.<br> &nbsp;<br> But she says building more consulates will take money and that’s tough when the U.S. government is so strapped.<br> &nbsp;<br> As for Chicago, we ranked 10th last year in the number of overseas visitors - behind places like Orlando and Honolulu. And we lost market share to places like L.A. and Las Vegas.</p><p>Agra says Illinois needs to do a better job of advertising itself overseas, so we can boost our exports of things like Frappuccinos and bicycle rentals.<br> &nbsp;<br> And now for our Windy Indicator, where we take the pulse of the economy from an unlikely place.<br> &nbsp;<br> DEANNE LOZANO: There are two forms, this is singing.<br> &nbsp;<br> Today, how are psychics doing?<br> &nbsp;<br> Deanne Lozano is showing me her healing bowls that she uses to break up bad energy. She says the economy’s bad energy is starting to break up – at least from her vantage point.<br> &nbsp;<br> LOZANO: This past year it’s been going up steadily, which is wonderful. Old clients are coming back and new clients are coming, so it’s great.<br> GROSS: Now I have to ask you, do you have a sense of when the Dow is going to hit 13,000?<br> LOZANO: No, I haven’t even thought about that.<br> GROSS: Could you read the Tarot cards for the U.S. economy?<br> LOZANO: Sure, what the heck. Let’s see what it comes up with.<br> &nbsp;<br> She has me pretend that I am the U.S. economy. I shuffle the deck three times.<br> &nbsp;<br> LOZANO: Okay, now I’m going to ask you to cut with your non-dominant hand into four piles.<br> &nbsp;<br> Then she has me pick six cards while thinking about the U.S. economy.<br> &nbsp;<br> GROSS: So what are the ones we’re getting here?<br> LOZANO: We have the ten of rods reversed, the six of pentacles, the three of pentacles, the world card, the five of swords and the page of pentacles. All the pentacles are good. The pentacles are about money. This is gain, this is abundance, and this is called works, and the page represents messengers about money. It still shows it’s depressed some, okay –<br> GROSS: Because it’s upside down?<br> LOZANO: Because it’s upside down. But we have the world card, and even though the world card is upside down, the world card is a very strong card so it’s very very positive. It’s saying the comeback is coming, but it’s a slow thing.<br> &nbsp;<br> But beware - she says the five of swords symbolizes bickering. So we’re probably not done with arguments over the debt ceiling.<br> &nbsp;<br> Next week our Windy Indicator slides into home base.</p></p> Mon, 06 Jun 2011 05:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-are-tourists-key-shrinking-trade-deficit-87434