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Trade Enforcement Needs to be Top Priority

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has been in force for over a year, but our North American trading partners refuse to fully implement the deal.
Canada has failed to open its dairy market to U.S. farmers and producers, as promised. And Mexico continues to privilege state-owned energy companies over U.S. energy firms, among other violations.
Unfortunately, Canada and Mexico aren’t the only U.S. trading partners shirking their commitments. The United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, and Indonesia are also guilty of erecting trade barriers that threaten U.S. workers and businesses.
Luckily, U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai pledged that under her watch, the United States would “impart the values and rules that guide global commerce…[and] enforce those terms vigorously.”
This support for holding our trading partners accountable is extremely encouraging. Enforcing existing trade deals is one of the best ways to help American firms expand into new markets and create more jobs here at home.
International trade remains a pillar of the American economy. In 2019, U.S. companies imported and exported $5.6 trillion worth of goods and services. Forty million jobs depend on these transactions.
Unfortunately, when the federal government doesn’t properly enforce trade rules abroad, these businesses and their workers get ripped off – and that’s precisely what’s happening right now.
Consider that domestic policies in the United Kingdom and Japan undervalue American-made medicines and erect barriers to U.S. biopharmaceutical exports.
Meanwhile, local content laws in Brazil and Indonesia limit broadcasts of Hollywood films. Counterfeiting in Mexico also poses a challenge to American manufacturing firms and producers from a variety of IP-intensive sectors.
Individual governments aren’t the only ones blocking free and fair commerce. The World Trade Organization is currently considering a proposal that would invalidate IP protections for COVID-19 technologies.
Several WTO members, including the European Union, have opposed the proposal, which would chill research and development projects for years to come. So, it was particularly surprising when the Biden administration came out in support of the proposal earlier this summer.
There’s still time for the United States to disavow this position, and it’s in the best interest of American researchers and developers that they do.
Strictly enforcing existing agreements will also make it easier for Ambassador Tai to negotiate stronger treaties in the future, like those with Japan and the United Kingdom.
Prior to tabling U.S.-UK trade negotiations just before the 2020 election, negotiators had yet to finalize much-needed chapters on intellectual property and pharmaceutical regulation.
Writing robust IP protections into these chapters will generate a truly modern free trade agreement, one that ought to serve as a model for 21st-century negotiations going forward.
The previous USTR was also unable to secure protections for U.S. medicines in phase one of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. And he didn’t address the country’s onerous vehicle testing standards that make automobiles the largest source of our trade deficit with Japan. Ambassador Tai can correct both errors.
It’s no mystery why stricter enforcement is popular with both parties. Nearly everyone from top politicians to ordinary workers recognizes that enforcement benefits American businesses.
They’re right, and Ambassador Tai now has the opportunity to grow the U.S. economy by holding our trading partners accountable. Here’s hoping she’ll succeed.

Frank Samolis is a partner and co-chair of the International Trade Practice at Squire Patton Boggs.

Big Trade Deadline

The 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline was one of the more eventful and entertaining that I can remember in quite a while.
There was a ton of activity and big names were on the move and both local teams were actively involved in the proceedings.
The Yankees drastically changed the entire feel of their lineup by adding two lefty power bats in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. When I heard the news about both trades, I was far more enthusiastic regarding the Rizzo move.
It’s nothing against Joey Gallo, who will most certainly help the Yankees with his power, on-base prowess and defense, but he strikes out way too much for my liking.
Rizzo fits the Yankees perfectly. He won a World Series with the Cubs, he is one of the toughest hitters to strike out in baseball, and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.
This weekend, Rizzo was in the middle of everything for the Yankees in their sweep of the Miami Marlins. He hit two big home runs, a game-tying hit on Sunday, and made play after play in the field.
For months it bothered me to no end that the Yankees lacked enough left-handed hitters. I’m glad they have finally changed that.
Both Rizzo and Gallo should be a part of the team beyond 2021, and will be needed in the short term to help pick up the slack for a pitching staff dealing with all sorts of adversity.
The Yankees will need to be a lot better offensively considering Domingo German was just placed on the Injured List and ace Gerrit Cole recently tested positive for COVID-19.
On the other side of town, the Mets may still be in first place in the NL East, but their recent play over the last few weeks signaled a team in need of a spark. Jacob deGrom is out until September, Francisco Lindor is nowhere to be found, and the team has struggled mightily to score runs.
So like the Yankees, the Mets turned to the Chicago Cubs for help and traded for infielder Javier Baez on Friday afternoon.
Baez plays the game with incredible passion and flair. Those attributes should be a positive for a team in serious need of some energy.
Baez will wow you with his power and flashy defense, but he will also frustrate you with the strikeouts and his decision-making at the plate. Much like Joey Gallo, he is not a perfect player, but he fills a major need for the Mets.
In his debut on Saturday night, Baez wasted no time introducing himself to the Citi Field faithful with a critical two-run homer that sparked a much-needed comeback against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Mets have allowed both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies to get right back in the division race, but they are still a team very much in the driver’s seat.
They will need a lot more big hits from Baez and others if they are going to find their way to the postseason.
The Yankees and the Mets can only hope that both Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez can be as productive as their debuts this past weekend.
We’ll see if the boys from the north side of Chicago can be the difference in getting the boys from Flushing and the Bronx into October.

You can listen to my podcast “New York, New York” on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts every Sunday night and Wednesday & Friday mornings.

Two Deadline Approaches

In the days leading up to the July 31st MLB trade deadline, one would have figured the Yankees and Mets would be in the exact same position: buy and win at all costs.
That thought process in the preseason made perfect sense. After all, the Yankees and the Mets were supposed to be two legitimate World Series contenders.
Things have changed since the middle of March.
The Yankees have been the biggest disappointment in baseball. The Red Sox and Rays have surpassed them in the AL East, putting them at the point of no return as far as winning the division is concerned.
However, the second Wild Card puts the Yankees very much in the postseason conversation.
Despite all of their flaws and issues, the Yankees are only two games back in the loss column behind the Oakland A’s for the final postseason spot in the American League.
So how exactly do you handle the trade deadline?
The Yankees are not going to sell off assets considering they are within striking distance of the postseason, but considering their deficit in the AL East is it worth going all in on this 2021 team?
The Yankees should look to add to the roster, but the idea of making an all-in type of move in 2021 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
That said, the Yankees should think about adding to the roster, but with the mindset of trying to add for 2021 and beyond. Long-term moves make sense, short-sighted moves do not.
The Mets find themselves in a much different predicament.
They are in first-place in the NL East and could be a very dangerous postseason team.
It’s not to suggest the Mets should mortgage their future on one specific player, but their front office can think about the idea of making one move to potentially put the team over the top.
Is that player Kris Bryant or Max Scherzer? Uncertain, but if the Mets brass believes that one player can take the team to the next level, that is the move that should be made.
The Mets should be in a far more aggressive position come July 31 in comparison to the Yankees. The results in the standings are the ultimate proof.
This week should be about cautious buying for the Yankees and aggressive buying for the Mets.

You can listen to my podcast “New York, New York” on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple Podcasts every Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning.

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