The Court of International Trade: Trailblazer for Women in the Judiciary

Judge Genevieve Rose Cline

The history of the Court of International Trade (CIT) mirrors the very history of the Republic itself.   As our fledgling nation was establishing its roots, it gained the revenue necessary for its survival largely through tariffs on imports.  In 1789, the first tribunal to hear disputes over the imposition of these tariffs was born in the form of an executive branch institution called the Board of General Appraisers.  Tariffs remained the dominant source of government revenue through the 1950s, and over this time, the importance of tariff revenue was reflected in the role of the Board, as it transformed into an Article I and then Article III Court of the United States.

With the emergence of income taxes as the predominant source of revenue to the United States treasury, the role of the Court of International Trade did not diminish.  Indeed, as the United States became a dominant player on the world stage, the powers of the Court were expanded.  Antidumping and countervailing duties emerged as an important trade remedy in international commerce.  In 1980, the Court’s jurisdiction was expanded to include these important cases.  It was hoped that giving a federal court exclusive jurisdiction over these types of cases would release some of the major tensions that were developing with our trading partners in this area.  With the U.S. becoming the economic world leader, it was crucial for our judicial system to have a mechanism for handling these international trade disputes quickly and efficiently.  The U.S. Court of International Trade, as it stands today, is the tribunal that accomplishes this important function.

The Court’s history is intertwined with the history of the United States in other important ways as well.  As women became more active in the governing institutions of our young nation, the Customs Court (a predecessor to the CIT) welcomed the first female federal judge.  This was an important milestone because it paved the way for all the women judges who now serve in the federal court system.  Today, fully one third of federal judges are women.  All of them owe a debt of gratitude to Genevieve Rose Cline, who was nominated to serve on the bench in 1928 by President Calvin Coolidge.  She was well suited for a position on the Customs Court because she had already broken ground by serving as the first woman assigned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to be the appraiser of merchandise at the port of Cleveland, Ohio.   An active proponent of woman’s rights and the suffrage movement, she served for 25 years on the U.S. Customs Court.  Clearly, Judge Cline was a trailblazer who knew how to accept tough challenges and succeed.

Although a few other female judges followed Judge Cline in the district courts and the courts of appeals, the appointments of women were few and far between.  Indeed, for the entire decade of the 1950s, only one female federal judge was appointed.  Mary Honor Donlon was nominated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 to the U.S. Customs Court.  She filled the vacancy left by Judge Cline.  Interestingly, that is not the only overlap between these two women.  In 1928, while Judge Cline was crashing through barriers to attain her “first” for women, Judge Donlon also achieved a “first” – she became the first woman partner at a Wall Street firm that same year.  Judge Donlon served for 22 years as a judge of the Customs Court.

In 1980, the Court changed its name from the Customs Court to the Court of International Trade, and soon thereafter the CIT had its first female judge.  Jane Restani was appointed by President Reagan to the Court in 1983.  She continues to serve on the Court as a senior judge today.  While she has many female colleagues at the present time, Judge Restani served for quite some time before a female judge joined her on the Court’s bench.  But then she welcomed two female judges at once.  President Clinton appointed Judges Judith Barzilay and Delissa Ridgway to the CIT in 1998.  It was another 15 years before this cadre of female judges would be joined by another, when Claire Kelly was appointed to serve on the Court by President Obama in 2013.  Finally, the Court’s newest female judge, Jennifer Choe-Groves, was appointed by President Obama just last year.

Many people are aware of the CIT’s important role in the international trade regime.  Fewer will know that it also has been a major tool of progress for women’s equality.  When Judge Cline initially entered into the federal judiciary, I am sure she could not have imagined a day when women would so uneventfully become confirmed as federal judges.   And, upon reflection, the vast majority of the progress occurred in the relatively modern era.  Judge Restani, who continues to hear cases at the CIT, labored as the lone female voice on the Court for 15 years.  Now, female judges are joining the bench with relative ease.  Half of the judges nominated to be judges of the CIT in the present century have been women, and, as such, one third of the Court as it is currently composed are female.

 

About the Author:  Tina Potuto Kimble | Clerk of the Court U.S. Court of International Trade – Tina Kimble is the Clerk of the Court of the U.S. Court of International Trade, where she has served since 2006. Prior to coming to the U.S. Court of International Trade, she was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, an attorney at the International Trade Commission, and an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Creating Economic Opportunities for Women in the World’s Most Challenging Places | 2-15-17

The Center for International Private Enterprise
invites you to a panel discussion on:

Creating Economic Opportunities for Women in the World’s Most Challenging Places

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
2:00 – 3:30 pm

RSVP

1211 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Refreshments will be provided

All over the world, myriad challenges make it difficult for women to become economically empowered. These impediments include societal constraints and unsupportive policy environments. Yet, the drive to improve their lives through entrepreneurship is strong in many women— even in some of the toughest places to get ahead. Panel speakers will share their experiences helping to create opportunity for women in Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, and will discuss best practices for building an environment where businesswomen can thrive.

Panelists:

  • Eli Webb, Country Director for Papua New Guinea, CIPE
  • Muzhgan Wafiq AlokozaiOwner, Impressive Consulting and Former President, Afghanistan’s Peace Through Business Network
  • Middle East Expert, to be confirmed
  • John MorrellRegional Director for Asia, CIPE (discussion moderator)

Partnership League For Africa’s Development, Youth For Human Rights International And Renowned Solar Energy Expert, Robert Komp’s Skyheat Company Partner to Empower The People Of Africa and Power Their Continent

partnershipPartnership League for Africa’s Development (PLAD) and Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) have been teaming up with solar energy expert, Dr. Richard Komp, to help spread the word on promising ways to open up solar power for millions on the African continent.

At a recent event held at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, Dr. Komp briefed dignitaries, African media and members of the African diaspora on this possibility, sparking great interest and kicking off months of new activity. Dr. Komp, using discoveries and innovations he developed, has been able to assist individuals and communities with no previous access to electricity to learn how to harness solar power to light and power their homes and businesses. With just the building materials they can find in their own backyards and open air markets, they can completely transform their lives.

According to World Energy Outlook (WEO), in 2013, more than 20% of the world’s population—over 1.2 billion people worldwide—were still without access to electricity, nearly all in developing countries.  According to the World Bank’s website, universal access to electricity in the next 20 years would require annual investments of $35-$40 billion.  And yet, Africa’s greatest potential energy source – the sun – scorches the continent daily.

Dr. Komp, who has been working in the solar energy field for over 50 years, has taught the people of small villages in South Africa, Mali, Rwanda, Niger, Ghana, Colombia, Haiti, Chile, Pakistan, Nicaragua and India every step of the process of harnessing that energy—newly lighting homes, schools, churches and hospitals—at incredibly low cost and without the need for massive industrialization, the laying of wires or other costly and, in some remote areas, impossible requirements.  Dr. Komp explains that solar energy is environmentally friendly, cost effective and simple, and he is dedicated to proving that energy is not only for those already with means, but for everyone.

“I will help anyone for free who makes less than $2 a day,” Dr. Komp announced, alluding to the people in developing nations with whom he has worked.  He has taught individuals innovative ways to build solar panels using cells from solar companies no longer in business in the United States and local materials in those developing countries.  And he has taught them how to construct and repair the existing solar panels, making the individuals entirely self-reliant.  They can then transfer that knowledge to future generations, building capacity in renewable energy.  Dr. Komp constructed his own home in Harrington, Maine, all with solar energy technology, which has provided him free electricity for over 32 years.  The home serves as the headquarters for the non-profit, Skyheat Associates, of which Dr. Komp is co-founder and director.

Both Youth for Human Rights International and PLAD believe that access to energy is a basic human right. Solar capacity building is one way of empowering unemployed African youth with a technical skill that will enable them to make a living out of an honorable trade and not fall victim to extremist groups.

Furthermore, by being able to construct solar panels on demand, and of varying sizes, based on need and affordability, this activity will provide power to light at least one light bulb per poor family, allowing children to do homework after nightfall; and enable merchants, especially, woman entrepreneurs and traders to have access to energy, allowing them to safely open their shops at night to sell their goods.

PLAD is a grass-roots organization founded by Ms. Binta Terrier, economist and International Monetary Fund Senior Research Analyst.  Ms. Terrier saw the need for the African diaspora and friends of Africa to come together to help address the systemic human right issues in Africa.  PLAD believes that human rights issues can be best addressed by improving social development through good governance, rule of law and democracy. The cornerstones of their strategy are education, health, agriculture and the environment.

Youth for Human Rights International is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, an educator born and raised in apartheid South Africa, where she witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights. The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.  YHRI accomplishes this through simple yet empowering, high-quality human rights education materials for youth, teachers and officials in 17 languages.

bterrirAbout the Author:  Binta Terrier | Founder/Executive Director, Partnership League for Africa’s Development (PLAD) – Ms. Terrier is Founder and Executive Director of Partnership League for Africa’s Development (PLAD) and Africa Syndicate Blog.  She saw the need for the African Diaspora worldwide and friends of Africa to come together and form an African organization that would partner with other organizations, associations, NGOs, foundations, institutions and civil societies in Africa and, collaborate with the African Union to help address the systemic human right issues in Africa.

Under her initiative, PLAD was created in 2011 to focus on education, health, agriculture, Capacity Building and Youth Employment, as the cornerstone to address the human rights problem in Africa for an inclusive economic development to prevail. In January 2016, she created the Africa Syndicate Blog, an educational platform to share historic, social, and economic development opinions on Africa and its people.

Ms. Terrier has a bachelor’s degree (BA) in Economics from the George Washington University, Master of Art (MA) in Applied Economics from the American University, and did her post- graduate work (PhD) in Economics at AU in Washington, D.C. She works as a Senior Research Analyst for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

EXIM Bank: Supporting U.S. Small Businesses and Driving Development in Africa

From bridges to water-treatment plants, fire trucks to advanced surgical equipment, since 2009 the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) has supported more than $7 billion in transactions to modernize infrastructure, improve health and wellbeing, and provide tools to enhance public safety in Africa. The Bank is not new to doing business in Africa; in fact, EXIM has financed exports to Angola, Ethiopia and Egypt since the 1940s. Recently, parts of Africa have been hit hard due to falling prices of oil and other commodities. Despite the economic challenges, EXIM Bank is taking the long view, and the U.S. remains one of the largest foreign direct investors on the continent.

Furthering EXIM’s commitment to the region, Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman and President of EXIM Bank, and Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive of Eastern and Southern Africa Trade Development Bank (PTA Bank), signed a memorandum of understanding on September 21, 2016 at the U.S. Business Africa Forum with the goal of increasing the trade of goods and services between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. In his remarks to forum attendees, Chairman Hochberg cited changes that are taking place, “The entire continent is making meaningful reforms: cutting red tape, easing currency and capital controls, and promoting small- and medium-sized enterprises. There is opportunity, and EXIM and other U.S. Government Agencies are here to scout them, support them and when appropriate, finance them.”  EXIM Bank doesn’t compete with the private sector; the Bank works to provide support where the private sector is unable or unwilling to do business. Here are some examples of how EXIM Bank empowered U.S. companies to collaborate with public and private sector organizations overseas, driving economic opportunity in Africa and at home.

Building Bridges, Connecting Communities around the World
Bridges do more than simply span waterways or valleys. They are lifelines, connecting residents to schools, hospitals and economic opportunities.  Acrow Bridge, a small business in Parsippany, New Jersey, has been designing, manufacturing and supplying prefabricated modular steel bridges for over 60 years to more than 80 countries. The company has installed over 1,500 bridges in developing nations over the last ten years.  One of the challenges they face is that many of the countries they serve have not made the investment in infrastructure that facilitates movement of goods and people.  Another challenge is that many governments are unable to make up-front, short- term investments that deliver long-term economic results.  If financial resources are not available for example, a country may limit their investment to two bridges one year and three bridges the next year, rather than the 50 to 150 bridges that are needed to transform an area. Working with EXIM Bank, Acrow has installed almost 200 bridges in Cameroon and Zambia, providing modern infrastructure, connecting goods to markets and paving the way for economic development.

Delivering Dependable Energy to West Africa
In an article titled “Modern Energy for All”, the International Energy Agency writes, “Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development. Access to modern energy is essential for the provision of clean water, sanitation and healthcare and for the provision of reliable and efficient lighting, heating, cooking, mechanical power, transportation and telecommunications services.” The article goes on to say that sub-Saharan Africa is the most electricity-poor region in the world. One California company is working to change that.

Combustion Associates Inc. (CAI), of Corona, Calif., manufactures gas turbine power generation systems. Kusum Kavia, President of CAI, founded the minority-and-woman-owned small business in 1989. The company started as an environmental consulting firm, before expanding to engineering, manufacturing, and installation services. With the support of EXIM Bank, CAI now exports to Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin and other parts of Africa. In 2014, CAI was recognized in a speech by President Obama for the successful installation of a power plant in the Republic of Benin. In his speech, President Obama said, “It’s been a win for their company, Combustion Associates, because exports to Africa have boosted their sales, which means they’ve been able to hire more workers here in the United States.” He also said, “It’s been a win for Benin and its people, because more electricity for families and businesses, jobs for Africans at the power plant because the company hires locally and trains those workers.”  CAI continues to expand into Africa, bringing dependable energy where it is needed most.

Helping Physicians Save Lives Worldwide
According to Egypt’s 2014 Constitution, Article 18 on healthcare “commits the government to improving access to public health facilities and establishing a comprehensive healthcare system for all Egyptians.”
DemeTECH, a Florida small business manufacturer of surgical sutures and blades, expanded their business into more than 100 countries and grew revenue by more than 400 percent with the help of EXIM. Today, 80 percent of their revenue comes from exports to international markets in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia. Working with EXIM Bank, DemeTECH was able to export about $10 million in advanced medical sutures and blades to Egypt, providing healthcare providers innovative medical devices to help their patients receive the highest quality care.

Business with Africa is Not a One-Way Street
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website, in 2015 imports from Africa outstripped U.S. exports by $1 billion. Although this is a decrease from earlier years, it illustrates the important role both regions play as trading partners. Like almost everything else, economic activity is cyclical, fluctuating between periods of expansion and contraction. As the reforms take hold and economies improve, EXIM Bank will still be there, creating opportunities for Africa.

About EXIM Bank
EXIM is an independent federal agency that supports and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees and export credit insurance, to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad. Almost ninety percent of its transactions directly serve American small businesses. In fiscal year 2015, EXIM approved $12.4 billion in total authorizations. These authorizations supported an estimated $17 billion in U.S. export sales, as well as approximately 109,000 American jobs in communities across the country. Small business exporters can learn how EXIM products can empower them to increase foreign sales by clicking here. For more information about EXIM, visit www.exim.gov.

ethomasAbout the Author:  Elizabeth Thomas | Business Development Specialist, EXIM Bank – Elizabeth Thomas is a Business Development Specialist at the Export-Import of the United States (EXIM Bank). Throughout her career she has worked in the U.S., Europe and Asia as an experienced international business executive. Prior to joining EXIM Bank, Ms. Thomas held a number of sales, marketing and health-policy leadership positions. She worked with Hewlett-Packard, InTouch Health and other high tech companies in the areas of wearable smart fabrics, robotic telemedicine and medication lifecycle tracking for hospitals. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of James Madison University and the Emory University Goizueta Business School.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

US-Africa Trade Updates

africa-trade-updatesThe recent 2016 US – Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, or African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, took place on September 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Forum looked not only at the US-Africa relationship now and how African countries could better gain from the trade preferences of AGOA, but it also started the conversation on the future of US-Africa trade and how to best design such a relationship in the years ahead after AGOA expires.

The Office of the US Trade Representative produced a report just in advance of the Forum entitled, “Beyond AGOA: Looking to the Future of US-Africa Trade and Investment.” It focuses on the variety of potential agreements or arrangements that could be pursued for the time period after 2025 when AGOA expires, and is unlikely to be renewed. The report notes a variety of possible options, including a comprehensive trade agreement (likely meaning something similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, with high standards and reciprocal access); an arrangement similar to that of the EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which is an arrangement between the EU and Africa that is described as limited and asymmetrical; a continuation of efforts like the Trade Africa initiative that promotes and provides capacity building assistance; or a continuation of certain trade preferences that are tied to policy interests of the US, like AGOA.

While the US made the point in the report that there is not yet a determined path forward, it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into developing the US position, and it is necessary for Africa to also begin preparing a position on the matter if there is to be a continental consensus on certain issues. Trade negotiations along the style of TPP take years to develop, therefore, despite AGOA still having almost nine years remaining, negotiations would likely need to begin in the next few years if such an agreement would be the way forward.

Meanwhile, there is much that needs to be done in order to better utilize AGOA during the remaining period of the legislation. To provide some background, AGOA is a unilateral trade preference program from the United States for 38 eligible African countries that was signed into law in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. It provides duty-free access to the US market for 6,800 products from sub-Saharan Africa, with a goal of helping to develop new export products and create jobs on the continent. To date it has created more than 300,000 direct jobs on the continent, each of which is estimated to support five additional individuals, and AGOA-related trade is estimated to indirectly support as many as 1.3 million jobs across the continent. The legislation was set to expire in September 2015, but Congress voted to extend it for an additional 10 years, through 2025.

A main goal of the legislation has been to help support the economic development and diversification of African countries. Over the course of the legislation, the majority of exports to the US under AGOA have generally been made up of energy products, however new sectors have managed to successfully develop and expand under AGOA, including textiles and apparel, horticulture, and automotive exports. It is hoped that over the remaining nine years of the legislation that African countries can better take advantage of AGOA in order to be able to further diversify their economies, create and develop sectors that could continue to be competitive without a trade preference, and create jobs for the increasingly young and educated workforce on the continent. The new legislation requires the development of AGOA utilization strategies, which would, by their nature, cause African governments to look strategically for ways to better use the trade preferences, and hopefully also pinpoint and develop potential successful sectors and develop ways to better support their private sectors.

The next decade will be a key time for US-Africa trade. The Africa of today is very different from the one for which President Clinton signed the initial AGOA legislation. The Economist called Africa the “hopeless continent” in 2000, but now Africa is seen as a continent on the rise. The countries of Africa are also in the process of negotiating a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which would at completion make Africa the largest free trading area in the world linking 54 countries and over a billion people, and thus a globally competitive and important market. Both Africa and the US stand to gain a great deal through determining and developing an engaging trade and investment relationship, and the years ahead will be an exciting time to be working in this field.

*The views, conclusions and recommendations of this article are solely those of its author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the African Union or African Development Bank.

zlewisAbout the Author:  Zenia Lewis | Trade Advisor, African Development Bank – Zenia Lewis currently works for the African Development Bank on a special US-Africa Trade & Investment Promotion Initiative where she serves as a Trade Advisor to the African Union Mission in Washington, DC and works with DC-based African Embassies and Governments on US-Africa trade policy, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and trade promotion. Prior to this she worked with a boutique international development consulting firm, the AfDB in Tunisia, and the Global Economy program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Zenia holds a master’s degree in public policy focusing in international trade and economic development from the University of Michigan.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Leading Women of Africa (LWA): Ensuring Women Emerge as Successful Leaders in the Mainstream Africa Economy

In the past two decades there has been huge focus from local and international development institutions on women’sleadingwomen economic empowerment in Africa.  International organisations such as Vital Voices, Women for Women International, AGOA and many more, have been successfully designing and implementing women’s empowerment programmes in collaboration with local women’s platforms in Africa. The main segment targeted by many such programmes have been women in informal and micro enterprises operating in sectors such as handcrafts, sewing, agro-processing and beauty… Services offered include: Business skills, coaching and mentorship, packaging and marketing skills and in some instances, women receive extra support with market identification for their products as well as access to micro-finance.

While the current interest from local and international development partners is placed on establishing successful income generating activities for women in informal and micro sectors, the impact of these programmes remain at a micro level whereby participating women contribute to reduce household poverty. A very important segment comprising of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) owned and managed by women continue to be under-serviced by most of these programmes. This segment holds an enormous potential to contribute significantly in job creation and in the continent’s economy growth as a whole. In recent years, the African region has experienced a vigorous surge of women involvement in the mainstream economy including primary infrastructure sectors such as construction, transportation, science, information and communication technology, energy, oil, gas and mining. As such the promotion of women involved in these formal sectors should remain an important priority for African leaders as well as global stakeholders.

While in general, women of Africa face numerous constraints for their empowerment, women operating in small and medium enterprises encounter major difficulties to build sustainable enterprises with the main constraint being the lack of access to affordable business or project finance. Consequently they are held back from growing their business ventures and becoming full participants in economic growth of their respective countries.

The Emergence of Women in the Mainstream Economy
There is an ever growing acknowledgement of the importance to engage women as stakeholders and integral role-players in the socio-economic development of Africa as they seek to be at the forefront of driving the economic growth in Africa. Women across the continent continue to actively mobilize like-minded leaders and businesswomen to find collective ways that encourages, promotes and communicates the need for extensive participation in the process of re-building Africa. Since 2008, Leading Women of Africa (LWA) has built a pan-African network of women entrepreneurs involved in the mainstream sectors of the economy. The LWA Network has acknowledged more than ever the importance to engage with all stakeholders at public and private sectors in order to promote win-win partnership and the integration of women in the mainstream economy in Africa. While robustly lobbying for these, women are however, confident that hard work on their part, proactive thinking accompanied by dedicated political will from decision makers, can make this process possible and speedy.

Integrating Women of Infrastructure Projects
Across Africa, women are mobilizing themselves to find ways to ensure their active and massive participation in the process of rebuilding Africa through designing and planning infrastructure projects in Africa. It is critically important that women’s interests, views and full participation in the designing and planning of infrastructure development be taken seriously not only by African governments but also by partners for development. The presence of multiple women’s construction, engineering, ICT companies proudly led by women themselves prove that women of Africa are capable of playing a positive role in the process of establishing a solid and sustainable win-win collaboration with other stakeholders. There are ever growing confirmations that integrating women into the mainstream economy will contribute in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa in years to come as part of post MDGs strategy.

Creating Win-Win Partnership with Women
There is an outcry to appeal to African Governments and African partners for development, to invite women as key stakeholders in the process of development of Africa. Women investors and entrepreneurs across Africa are ready to partner with development stakeholders on a win-win basis terms. With this in mind, women are appealing to Governments, corporate companies, African partners for Development, to ensure that women have access to economic resources and opportunities at the same rate as their male counter parts.

Partnering with Women of Africa is Smart Economics
Confident of Africa’s growth opportunities, women are strategically positioning themselves to take advantage of numerous trade and investment opportunities in Africa. LWA has been working tirelessly to ensure that women emerge as successful leaders in mainstream industries and sectors of the African economy. LWA is in the process of building a pool of investors, funders, financial and technical partners who might be looking to diversify their investment portfolios in Africa.
If your answer is “yes” to the following questions, then you need to engage with us:

  • Is Africa part of your growth or expansion strategy?
  • Are you looking to invest in projects with high return potential in Africa?
  • Are you considering entering in partnership with credible businesswomen in Africa?
  • Are you looking to access the African market and decision makers?

For more information, please contact Madelein Mkunu at invest@leadingwomenofafrica.com.

 

mmkunuAbout the Author:  Madelein Mkunu | Visionary Entrepreneur | Founder & President, Leading Women of America (LWA) | Director, LWA Corporate Investment (LWA-CI) | Gender & Business Development Consultant

Madelein is a Visionary Entrepreneur whose dream is to shape a new generation of African leaders through various programmes. Madelein has built an unparalleled reputation for her innovative thinking and her strategic approach to women and business development in Africa. Through her leadership, she is building global influence, catalyzing change and driving innovation.

She is Founder & President of Leading Women of Africa (LWA) and currently the Director of LWA-Corporate Investment, a firm that increases the number of women involved in investment, international trade and other services in Africa.  She sits on the board of South African Small and Medium Enterprise Federation (SASMEF) and has experience in business development, strategic planning, policy, programme design, implementation, leadership training and women’s empowerment strategies. Madelein’s passion is seeing women contribute to rebuilding the continent through access in the mainstream economy. She was mentored by one of the founders of Africa, the First President of Zambia, Dr. David Kenneth Kaunda.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

#AGOA2016: Women and Trade Dialogue Sparks Action for Emerging Entrepreneurs

womentradeToday, the State Department announced a new partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network to help emerging entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses. Starting in Malawi, we will connect women to mentors, educators, and advisors so they can refine their ideas and get the support they need to launch and grow their businesses.  The announcement came at the first-ever dialogue on women and trade as part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial Forum. The dialogue was co-hosted by the State Department and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which brought the private sector voice to the discussion.

The dialogue focused on a universal truth now recognized in the African Growth and Opportunity Act: that women are essential to economic development. Women are farmers who feed families and communities, and job creators who train and mentor the next generation. Women are artisans who create beautiful products using traditional methods. Women are entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that move economies forward.

Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield is joined by two participants from the African Women Entrepreneurship Program during the 2016 AGOA Forum in this video. We need every farmer, job creator, artisan, and entrepreneur in our countries to have access to the resources they need to do their work. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Women are far less likely than men to have access to capital and to markets, to the networks and communities that will help them expand their businesses. If we address these challenges, we will see a tremendous difference in the economy, from the community level, where women invest in their kids’ education and health care and hire other women, to the national level, where the GDP will grow as more women enter the economy.

We’ve seen this here in the United States, where women own 30 percent of small businesses. They bring in $1.2 trillion every year in sales, and they do this in an environment that can be challenging. More often than not, even though they have the same business savvy and big ideas as men, women have a harder time. We know that’s not good for business, economic growth, or American families. But this problem is not unique to the United States. It’s a global problem.

As we move forward with our commitment to AGOA, it’s critical that we promote inclusive development and smart economies — and that means including women in our efforts.

Meeting with female entrepreneurs from AWEP during the 2016 AGOA Forum (State Department Photo)

Meeting with female entrepreneurs from AWEP during the 2016 AGOA Forum (State Department Photo)

That’s why the State Department has invested in initiatives like the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, also known as AWEP. This program builds networks of women entrepreneurs across the continent.
If you look at the numbers, the success is undeniable. In the six years since AWEP started, more than 1,600 women and 22 business associations have benefited from things like business development, financing, and trade capacity building. Together, they’ve created more than 17,000 jobs in the region. The State Department has also built women’s business centers in Zambia and Kenya, with a third on the way in Mali. In Zambia alone, the center has helped create almost 3,000 jobs and start nearly 40 new businesses.

We need to continue to build on that success, and that means we need to do more. It will take effort from all of us — governments, civil society, and the private sector — to eliminate barriers for women and promote women’s full participation in international trade.  The State Department is committed to doing its part, which is why we will continue to promote women entrepreneurs through policy and programs like the new partnership we announced today.

Please note that this article originally appeared in the State Department’s blog and has been republished with permission.

 

crusselAbout the Author: Catherine M. Russell | Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women’s Issues – As the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Cathy Russell leads the State Department’s efforts to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world. In this role, she focuses on addressing gender-based violence, promoting women’s full participation in society, investing in adolescent girls, and integrating women’s issues into U.S. foreign policy. She also serves as co-chair of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, and as a board member for the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Trust Women initiative, the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Initiative, and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise.

Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden focusing on military families and higher education. During her tenure at the White House, Ambassador Russell coordinated the development of the Administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. During the Clinton Administration, Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. She has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from George Washington University.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

AGOA and Beyond

Since World War II, U.S. trade policy has emphasized lowering trade barriers and creating an enabling environment agoa-picfor trade. We have long recognized that trade is a critical engine for economic growth, which helps drive and shape the United States’ economic engagement with Africa. For years, the United States has employed a range of tools to enhance and diversify the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship. For instance, we have enacted trade preference programs such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and trade capacity building initiatives like U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) regional trade and investment hubs that help African entrepreneurs take advantage of preferential access to the large U.S. market.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, has been the centerpiece of the U.S. trade relationship with Africa since 2000, providing duty-free status to virtually all imports from sub-Saharan Africa, along with liberal rules of origin. As with the United States’ other preference programs, the U.S. Congress requires that Africans meet AGOA’s eligibility criteria to foster sound policies within the countries. AGOA was extended for 10 years in June 2015, the longest extension in its history, and thus, provides certainty for African producers, U.S. buyers, and investors interested in growing African value-added manufacturing.

In addition to encouraging our African partners to take full advantage of AGOA, we are advising them to begin to look beyond AGOA to further deepen and diversify the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship. We are in the midst of an exciting and interesting time for the global trading system. Both Africa and the global economy have changed dramatically since AGOA was first enacted more than 15 years ago, and the power of tariff preferences alone to provide a developing country with a competitive advantage is not what it used to be. African countries risk falling behind other regions if they do not address the other components of competitiveness or embrace open trade and investment relationships, both with their regional neighbors and beyond.

This is why we at USTR recently unveiled our “Beyond AGOA” report, highlighting the next steps for different African countries to consider taking. The most recent extension of AGOA could well be its last, and the remaining eight and a half years will go by fast. As such, we want to accomplish two things: first, to see Africans develop and implement AGOA utilization strategies; and second, to begin discussions now with our African trade partners on what our trade and investment relationships beyond AGOA should look like. Meanwhile, we are taking advantage of every opportunity to engage with African officials and other stakeholders to advance that conversation and ensure that they, too, are thinking about what comes next and how we can work together to our mutual benefit.

At our AGOA Forum this year in Washington D.C., many African women in leadership positions were in attendance – some Ministers, others entrepreneurs, and yet others who are young future leaders. They participated in multiple high-level discussions with government officials and private sector executives from both continents. In addition, we hosted representatives from the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and the Young African Leaders Initiative Network (YALI). The United States is actively cooperating with young leaders, including many women, as well as numerous women entrepreneurs in Africa to ensure that the advancement of the U.S.-Africa trade and investment partnership goes hand-in-hand with empowering women and youth across the continent.

To witness the program in action, I recently traveled to Madagascar, Mozambique, and Lesotho to experience the impact of AGOA on everyday working people. I toured factories where thousands of workers—predominately women—were producing a wide-range of AGOA-eligible products to be shipped to the U.S. duty-free under AGOA. These jobs, and hundreds of thousands of others created by AGOA, empower men and women to earn a living and provide for their families, while supporting sustainable growth and economic well-being in many countries across the continent. In addition, AGOA has served as a useful tool for supporting human rights, women’s rights, and worker rights, and addressing issues like child labor, corruption, and poverty, to create an environment more conducive to trade and investment.

The enabling environment AGOA supports, alongside trade capacity building programs, investment in African infrastructure, including more than $7.9 billion MCC compacts in 20 African countries, and a range of other U.S. Government initiatives like Power Africa and Trade Africa that address Africa’s supply side constraints, helps African nations increase regional and global trade and integrate into regional and global supply chains. In 2015, non-oil AGOA exports to the U.S. totaled $4.1 billion – more than three times the amount of non-oil trade in 2001; and exports have risen significantly in automobiles, apparel, footwear, prepared fruits, vegetables, and nuts, cocoa powder and paste, and cut flowers. We remain impressed with the growth and positive change we have seen from AGOA, but it is important to start looking towards the future and new possibilities for the continent.

The United States is committed to our economic partnership with Africa, and firmly supports the advancement of our mutual trade and investment interests – both under AGOA and beyond. We will continue to elevate and cooperate with the countless African men, women, and youths working in trade in the United States and Africa to achieve those goals. This is the start of an important conversation, in which policymakers on both continents must engage with the same spirit of shared commitment, pragmatism, and urgency that spurred the creation of AGOA 15 years ago, and will move our relationship forward in the years to come.

 

fliserAbout the Author:  Florie Liser | Assistant US Trade Representative, Africa – Florizelle (Florie) Liser is the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. In this position, she leads U.S. trade efforts in the 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa and oversees implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  Ms. Liser played a key role in the Administration’s review of AGOA from 2013-2014, and the work done with Congress leading to AGOA’s 10 year extension in 2015.  Ms. Liser was also appointed in April 2014 as the Administration’s Africa Export Policy Coordinator.

Ms. Liser’s current and previous positions have given her an extensive background in development, trade negotiations, and Africa.  Among the positions she has held are Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Industry, Market Access and Telecommunications and Senior Trade Policy Advisor at the Department of Transportation.  Early in her career, Ms. Liser worked as an Associate Fellow at the Overseas Development Council – a non-profit organization focused on the U.S. stake in the economic advancement of developing countries. Ms. Liser has for many years been actively involved in promoting trade and development policies that recognize Africa’s growing importance to the U.S. and its African-American citizens.

Of her interest in Africa, Ms. Liser has said, “I have been fortunate to travel to many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and look forward to visiting all of the nearly 50 countries for which my office is responsible. My first impressions of Africa were of its vast beauty, diversity, and potential. With its enormous natural resources and the skills and talent of its 1 billion people, I am convinced of the emerging and critical role that Africa plays in the global economy, and of the significant business, trade and investment opportunities that remain to be tapped.”  Ms. Liser was born in the Republic of Panama and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a M.A. in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Dickinson College.

 

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Networking Reception for International Professionals | 2-9-17

WGN International Roundtable
Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT)

Thursday, February 9, 2017
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Please join the Washington Network Group (WNG) when we convene our next international networking reception, together with our event partner The Association of Women in International Trade (WITT).

WNG Logo  

 

About this Event:

This event is convened under the auspices of the WNG International Roundtable, which supports leaders in the international arena, including the public, private, and independent sectors. This event presents an excellent networking opportunity for professionals in international business, international trade policy and international development. WNG and WIIT Members register at the special member rate. Non-members are welcome to attend. Business attire. Cash bar. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

Event Registration:

$15: WNG Members
$15: WIIT Members
$30: Non-Members

Register HERE

The Caucus Room
2350 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20037

 

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WIIT Charitable Trust Fall 2016 Winning Scholarship Essay: Game of Chess: Cuba vs United States

The WIIT Charitable Trust scholarship program is designed to provide financial assistance to further educational objectives of women who are interested in international development, international relations, international trade, international economics, or international business. Winners receive a scholarship award of $1,500 and a free one-year membership to WIIT. For more information, please click here for details.

The Fall 2016 winner is Ms. Charlotte Ljustina with an essay titled “Game of Chess: Cuba vs United States”. Ms. Ljustina says:

c_ljustina“My name is Charlotte Ljustina, I am 23 years old and a transplant to New York City from Miami, FL. In Miami, I trained as a gymnast for approximately 15 years, which gave me the opportunity to become part of a community of strong, fierce women. I earned my bachelors degree in mathematics and English from Mount Holyoke College in 2015. While there, I was a writer and photographer for the school’s independent newspaper, a member of the crew team, and I worked in the Dean of Students and Dean of College’s offices. Currently, I am a Masters candidate at Columbia University. I anticipate earning my Masters of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in December 2017.

This WIIT scholarship will help tremendously in covering my tuition expenses, so that I can take all the credits that I need in order to stay on track with my studies. Studying negotiation and conflict resolution provides me with a platform that I can apply in all contexts, from personal relationships to national and international conflicts. While I am still deciding on the scale with which I’d like to practice as a mediator or negotiator, I am sure that I would like to embark in a career dedicated to creative problem solving. And, having been brought up in a community of strong, fierce women, followed by an education at a women’s college, there is no doubt that the mission of empowering and mobilizing women (in trade and otherwise) will be at the forefront of my work.”

To view the full essay, please click here.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 11-02-16

MYTH: Economic ties between nations revolve around the importation and exportation of goods and services.

REALITY: Maintaining good economic relationships with other countries has benefits beyond imports and exports. It also gives foreign businesses confidence to invest in the United States. In 2014, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies employed more than 6.6 million workers in the United States. Prior work by the International Trade Administration estimates that an additional 2 million jobs are supported by these relationships. In 2015, newly established U.S. affiliates of foreign companies planned on adding over 30 thousand jobs when they were fully operational.

Cumulatively, Europe is the largest regional investor in the United States. It accounted for nearly 70 percent of all foreign investment through 2014. These figures include the 28 European Union (EU) countries and other European nations with an investment stake in the United States. One non-EU member, Switzerland, accounted for 11 percent of cumulative investment from Europe by the end of 2014. The Asia and Pacific region ranked second, accounting for 18 percent of FDIUS stock through 2014, while Canada held nine percent. The Caribbean countries represented the fourth-largest investment region at $100 billion as of year-end 2014. The British Islands accounted for nearly all the investment from the Caribbean region. The stock of direct investment from South and Central America, the Middle East, and Africa remains tiny. By the end of 2014, each represented less than one percent of cumulative FDIUS. Among these regions, the largest cumulative inward investment from a single country was Mexico at $18 billion, followed by Israel at $9 billion. SOURCE

Promotion of Public-Private Partnership through the TFTEA of 2016

The theme of partnership is consistent across many of sections of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2016 (TFTEA). The legislation calls on agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative to strengthen their enforcement posture against trade violations as well as their facilitation roles in order to ensure legitimate trade flows as efficiently as possible. To do this, the different agencies must collaborate on information-sharing, form joint working groups, cooperate with foreign partners, and leverage technology to carry out activities such as combating duty evasion and intellectual property rights violations.

While the TFTEA takes measures to promote new interagency partnerships and also formalizes existing ones, it also promotes and formalizes many public-private partnerships. The institutions, programs, and policies that drive these partnerships are formed through information-sharing and co-creation in a manner that mutually benefits both U.S. authorities and the trade industry. While a number of these partnerships have been in practice for several years, the TFTEA formalizes them and demonstrates Congress’s understanding of the importance of partnerships in balancing enforcement, security, and economic stimulus through trade.

Although the TFTEA has numerous references to public-private partnership throughout its 105 Sections, discussed here are three in particular that represent the current state and evolution of partnerships between CBP and the industry.partnership-image

Section 101, Trusted Trader
The first item of the TFTEA requires CBP and other federal agencies to work with the private sector to ensure all partnership programs provide trade benefits to participants. This refers primarily to CBP’s premier trusted trader program, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Through the partnership, industry participants receive preferential treatment in exchange for voluntarily supplying trade data elements to CBP beyond what is statutorily required and submitting to supply chain security validations. The additional advance information collected allows CBP officers to make more informed decisions and mitigate risk.

Globally, C-TPAT was one of the first programs of its kind. Starting with 7 participating companies in 2001, the program now has over 11,400 partners and accounts for over half of all merchandise imported into the U.S. This growth speaks well to CBP’s administration of the program as does the proliferation in recent years of trusted trader programs across the world, often referred to as ‘Authorized Economic Operator’ (AEO) programs. In its 2016 ‘AEO Compendium’, the World Customs Organization cited 69 programs with over 70,000 participants, and 16 more in development.

However, in order to maintain the innovative program as a world leader, CBP must ensure it is collaborating with industry to provide proper, measurable benefits to industry in exchange for their self-policing security measures and data-sharing responsibilities.

Besides CBP, other U.S. agencies with equities at the border, such as the Food & Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, have trade data submission requirements. To provide more efficient service to the industry, there is currently an effort to merge all of these requirements into an integrated U.S. Government-wide ‘Trusted Trader Program’. To accomplish this, there must be cooperative political will to drive the policy changes and technology implementation needed so that the program functions as intended.

Section 109: Formalizing COAC
Ongoing, transparent dialogue between CBP and the trade is important as well in order to co-create new ideas and attempt to find middle ground on disagreements where enforcement and facilitation may conflict. Section 109 of the TFTEA re-formalizes the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations (COAC) a committee of appointed stakeholders who represent the industry. The nature of their respective agendas inherently means that the trade and CBP will not always agree. However, the COAC assists in reversing the adversarial nature of the Customs/Trade relationship that poses challenges to commerce in many other countries. One successfully co-created idea between CBP and the industry has been the CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs).

Section 110: Formalizing the CEEs
While not a voluntary partnership program in the same manner as C-TPAT, the CEEs take an innovative approach to trade facilitation by providing a streamlined, ‘one-stop-shop’ for industry members to have their questions answered and ‘customer service needs’ uniformly addressed.

The CEEs are managed virtually from 10 locations around the U.S. and have operated on a pilot basis since 2011. Section 110 of the TFTEA now formalizes them. The CEEs move functions of the trade facilitation process from a local port level to a national account management system where all of CBP’s expertise in a single industry can be focused to provide the optimal level of service to industry. The Centers increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and strengthen agency knowledge on key industry practices to mitigate risk.

Formalization of the CEEs will hopefully mean a more formal dedication of resources by Congress to foster continued innovation. Section 110 also requires performance metrics on the CEEs to be provided, which will assist CBP in continuing to manage them effectively.

Conclusion
Authorities and industry both want secure, efficient trade. This is requisite to competing in the 21st century global economy and can be better achieved through cooperation.
Trusted Trader Programs around the world continue to expand the volume of available trade data. Coupling this volume with advanced data processing technology will allow trade management authorities to collaborate and mitigate risk in the global supply chain. Additionally, institutions like the COAC will help to increase transparency and foster revolutionary concepts like the CEEs. Improved Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement through public-private partnerships requires trustbuilding and continued commitment from all involved, but with global security and economic benefits at stake, the effort is worthwhile.

 

agina-photoAbout the Author: Allen Gina | CT Strategies

Allen Gina is the co-founder of CT Strategies, a subsidiary of Command Consulting Group in Washington, DC. Prior to founding CT Strategies Mr. Gina served in several posts at CBP, most recently as Assistant Commissioner for International Trade, where he oversaw over 1,000 employees and led the most extensive trade transformation initiative in CBP history. Some other posts he held at CBP during his tenure at Customs include Assistant Commissioner of International Affairs, Assistant and Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Intelligence and Operations Coordination, and Executive Director for the Joint Operations Directorate.

 

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 10-26-16

MYTH: Since the U.S. already has free trade agreements with seven of the eleven other participants in TPP, the agreement does not provide any additional benefits.

REALITY: In addition to improving the FTAs negotiated earlier (see the Myth vs. Reality 9-29-16), TPP establishes improved trading obligations with Vietnam and Malaysia. More importantly, TPP provides important new obligations among all participants designed to promote the digital economy. The TPP provides for a free and open Internet that prohibits customs duties for digital products, combats discriminatory barriers to the free data flows, bars forced technology transfers, and promotes cooperation on cybersecurity among other digital data protections (see USTR fact sheet). If these agreements on the treatment of digital commerce are not codified by TPP, it leaves the way open for non-TPP participants to heavily influence decisions on how the digital economy will be treated. In an ever-increasing digital economy, this benefit is too big to ignore.

Event RECAP | Customs & Corruption: Getting to Market Efficiently & Reliably

suarez-corruption-panelOn October 21st, as part of the GetGlobal Expo, WIIT President Evelyn Suarez monitored a panel called
“Customs & Corruption: Getting to Market Efficiently & Reliably”. International traders and transportation companies are often confronted with complex and confusing customs and other government agency requirements for entry into market. This panel of customs attorneys and a global compliance professional explored such challenges. Mr. Fochesato discussed the European Union’s new Uniform Customs Code, which sets forth new customs rules for the EU. Mr. Garcia Seimandi addressed customs issues for Mexico and Ms. Allen gave a global perspective as VP for Global Compliance for FedEx Networks.

Women Stand to Gain from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

In an article published by The Hill, former WIIT Outstanding Woman of the Year and Vice President and Managing Director of the Asia Society Policy institute’s Washington, DC Officer, Wendy Cutler, argues that women stand to gain from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement:

Tucked away in the development chapter of TPP is a short section on women’s empowerment and economic growth. Recognizing the importance of women’s contributions to economic growth and development, the section calls on participating countries to undertake a number of cooperative activities to help women access the benefits of the agreement.

The inclusion of this language is not simply a nod to lofty development goals. Women’s empowerment is essential to unlocking the region’s full economic potential. In a 2015 report, McKinsey estimated that if women’s labor force participation equaled that of men, it would generate a total of $11 trillion additional dollars in annual GDP for the Asia-Pacific region. This statistic speaks volumes about the economic potential of empowering women in the Asia-Pacific region and the role TPP could play.

Read the article in its entirety here.

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 10-19-16

MYTH: Failure to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP will affect U.S. leadership in Asia.

REALITY: There is a strong case that failure to ratify TPP will leave a void in the Asia-Pacific region that will be filled by others, most notably the Chinese, who are negotiating a less stringent trade agreement with the region called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (“RCEP”). TPP is not only important as an economic driver but also for strengthening our alliances on national security by providing U.S. leadership in the region. See op-ed by John Kasich: “Refusing to ratify TPP risks America’s role as the world leader” (October 12, 2016).

TRADE Talk RECAP | Stopping Evasion | 10-4-16

On October 4thevasion, WIIT, in cooperation with the Customs Lawyers Association, held a lively program on the new anti-evasion regulations promulgated by Customs and Border Protection.  The program was attended by approximately 40 people in person or by conference call.  Mr. Kevin M. McCann, with the assistance of Ms. Emily Simon provided an oversight of CBP’s plans for implementing the new law aimed at improving enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty orders and responded to numerous questions from the audience.  Mr. Christian Marsh of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance provided insight into the difficulties and concerns of E&C as it seeks to implement new scope procedures for these enforcement actions.  Mr. Michael Coursey, a partner at Kelley Drye, provided commentary and insight into the private perspective of the new provisions and the reasons underlying the passage of the new law.

NovaVis is pleased to announce that the Association of Woman in International Trade (WIIT) launches use of the NovaVis Events App

PRESS RELEASE | For immediate distribution, October 13, 2016

NovaVis, LLC is pleased to announce that the Association of Woman in International Trade (WIIT) launches use of the NovaVis technology Events App for WIIT Events.

The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) based in Washington, DC, works to promote women in international trade and business and to raise public awareness of the importance of international trade to economic development. WIIT does this through educational offerings, networking, professional development and leadership opportunities.

The NovaVis Event App is a free download, and using NovaVis technology, allows posting and tracking of your events. Attendees and followers have the ability to post photos, comments, and other data about your events…all on your phone or tablet. The NovaVis Events App and access to WIIT Events is available via download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“NovaVis is helping WIIT conveniently display all of our upcoming events in one mobile app, allowing our members to easily find those events that interest them and move quickly through the registration process.” says Ms. Evelyn Suarez, WIIT President.

“International Trade is vital to the emerging Offshore Wind Industry and Alternative Energy in the U.S. The knowledge and expertise WIIT brings to the International Trade discussion is powerful, timely and an important global component of the U.S’s ability to function at the highest level within the industry. WIIT hosts numerous high level discussions known as “Trade Talks” on timely issues, such as on TPP, TTIP, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act provisions on evasion of anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders, Brexit, U.S. public and private sector development and trade capacity building efforts, and Anti-Corruption compliance. WIIT is a vital knowledge resource for international trade policy, law and regulation and business”, says NovaVis Executive Director, Mr. Charles Decuir.

NovaVis is a next generation technology platform, which has a focus on global Supply Chain economies and logistics. The NovaVis platform is a live Supply Chain Ecosystem connecting the various suppliers and developers in a constantly engaging and an ever evolving framework. NovaVis has developed a technology platform for identifying the vendors for offshore wind in order to provide a coordinated approach in capturing risk mitigation and cost reduction by virtue of a consolidated approach.

Contact:  NovaVis, LLC – 222 W 21st St, Ste. F #176, Norfolk, VA 23517 757.636.0561 – 757.619.7670

To download a pdf of this release, please click here.

TRADE Talks Recap | Brexit Breakfast: Three Months After the Vote – What Does It Really Mean? | 9-21-16

brexit1On September 21st, Annie Crawford, Senior Policy Adviser at the Confederation of British Industries joined WIIT members for an engaging discussion on Brexit three months after the vote. The breakfast opened with a presentation on Brexit including a brief background of how the vote itself came about and why the outcome came as a surprise to many. Annie then reviewed some of the more immediate impacts of the vote before turning to current policy and what the business communibrexit2ty could expect to see this fall. Throughout the discussion Annie also provided insight into the current political climate in the UK as well as the government changes that Theresea May had implemented since becoming Prime Minister – including the creation of the Department for International Trade and the Department for Existing the European Union – and how these would impact UK trade policy moving forward. Following Annie’s initial remarks, the event pivoted to an engaging round-table discussion on a range of topics from the role of Scotland, UK-China trade relations, and the possible scenarios for EU-UK negotiations.

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 10-12-16

MYTH:  A trade agreement like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) sacrifices U.S. sovereignty.

REALITY: That is not the case. The legal requirements established by Congress in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2015 are part of the negotiated agreement. Thus, any provision of TPP that violates U.S. federal or state law will not have an effect. It confirms that U.S. federal and state law will prevail if there is a conflict with TPP.

TRADE Talk Recap | Bridging Development and Trade Capacity Building | 10-4-16

WIIT’s recent Trade Talk, “Bridging Development and Trade Capacity Building” highlighted various U.S. initiatives for public and private trade capacity building to improve economic conditions in developing countries and support developing countries’ participation in global value chains and in the global marketplace.

tradecapacityPanelists included (from left to right):

Eleanor Thornton, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development

Cassandra Kuball, Director, Trade & Industry Affairs, Corn Refiners Association

Susan Bornstein, Director, Technical Services and Strategic Partnerships, Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Alexis Taylor, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture

 

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 10-05-16

MYTH:  Globalization (fueled by free trade agreements) is the root of our economic woes; including the decline in manufacturing, falling employment and growing income inequality.

REALITY: Trade has been made the scapegoat for a host of economic problems. Economists are telling us that these negative trends are more strongly influenced by technology and the way it is transforming low skilled work than global trade. According to Cornell University Professor and Brookings senior fellow Eswar Prasad, “[a]t the time of weak growth and economic uncertainty, there is a desire to look for a bogeyman outside the country.”

There has in fact been a slowdown in global trade, which concerns policymakers at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). A report recently released by WEF expresses concern about the degree to which economies are open to trade in goods and services and how these barriers to trade could hurt prosperity in the future. The WTO also noted the slowdown in global trade, adjusting its estimate for 2016 trade growth by more than one-third to just 1.7% from a previous estimate of 2.8% made in April 2016. It also cut its estimate for 2017 trade growth pointing to uncertainty about the global economy.

So while the globalization that has powered the world economy is now stalling after 30 years of growth, political leaders around the world are blaming trade for their economic troubles and calling for borders to be closed. As WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo states “The dramatic slowing of trade growth is serious and should serve as a wake-up call. It is particularly concerning in the context of growing anti-globalization sentiment. We need to make sure that this does not translate into misguided policies that could make the situation much worse, not only from the perspective of trade but also for job creation and economic growth and development which are so closely linked to an open trading system.”

Let’s demand an intelligent discussion on trade so that we fully understand what it really means for jobs, prosperity and poverty reduction and how to address problems that are being attributed to global trade.

Sources: The Washington Post “World trade stalling after run of growth,” September 28, 2016, citing WTO 27 September 2016 Trade Statistics and Outlook and 28 September 2016 WEF The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, highlighting the declining openness to trade as a threat to growth and prosperity.

Myth vs. Reality | Trade Edition | 9-29-16

MYTH:  NAFTA should be renegotiated.

REALITY: The Trans=Pacific Partnership (TPP) in effect does that by addressing NAFTA’s shortcomings. TPP learns from past trade agreements, including NAFTA, by upgrading existing standards and setting new high standards that reflect today’s economic realities.
The TPP upgrades NAFTA by:

  • Adopting highest environmental standards of any trade agreement with fully-enforceable requirements.
  • Adopting highest labor standards of any trade agreement, including fully-enforceable requirements to protect the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively as well as prohibitions against child and forced labor and against employment discrimination and addressing workplace conditions.
  • Subjecting the labor and environment chapters to dispute settlement.

Click here for more information.