Palm oil, Russian fighters and the European Parliament
Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of palm oil, has been clearing significant areas of its tropical forests to make room for palm plantations. The EU is alarmed and wants to discourage the policy by reducing palm oil imports. This counterproductive approach to preventing tropical deforestation already has backfired.
Brexit and the sunset of European influence in Asia-Pacific
Though the Asia-Pacific region seems too far away to be affected by Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU will have a profound impact on the region. While it will reduce the bloc’s significance in the region’s affairs, the UK’s status may suffer as well. Asia-Pacific states will likely look to countries such as Germany to act as a new counterweight to China and the United States.
Scenarios for unification in the Balkans
Calls to redraw the map in the Balkans are again being made. This time, Serbia is proposing an integrated economic area, while Albania and Kosovo are raising the possibility of unification. Neither scenario is likely to occur, because each could lead to renewed conflict. But as states wait for progress toward EU membership, loose confederations based on Serbia and Albania could form, dividing the region into two clear geopolitical spheres.
Behind China’s enthusiasm for free trade
Lately China has been a big promoter of free trade. Has Beijing finally come around to the benefits of international capitalism? There are reasons to be skeptical. Among them are centuries-old strains in Chinese philosophy about a strong state, and how to achieve hegemony.
GIS Dossier: Global trade and protectionism
According to the economic law of comparative advantage, the whole world has benefited from the enormous expansion of international trade since 1980. But over the past decade, few countries have acted like they believe it. GIS experts look at the roots and likely future course of protectionism’s global resurgence.
The U.S. and China’s ‘free trade’ agendas
The United States and China are not true champions of free trade. Beijing pushes exports but effectively curbs imports through a maze of administrative obstacles. Washington traditionally concentrates on job protection and creation; its trade policies reflect these priorities.
The twilight of a European dream
As Washington threatens to slap economic sanctions on the countries that it believes weaken their currencies, reaping unfair advantages in trade with the United States, eurozone exporters, especially Germany, may find themselves in trouble. The root cause of the dilemma, though, is the fact that from its inception the common currency has been misused by politicians.
Commercial revival is the next step as US-Cuba thaw continues
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower officially severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, shuttering the United States embassy in Havana. The move marked the beginning of half a century of diplomatic hibernation, a sleep so deep that it survived the thawing of the Cold War by a full generation. Then, on December 17, 2014, those relations were roused from their slumbe...
El-Sisi makes start on stabilising Egypt – with little help from US
After decades of failed dictatorships, Egypt is looking to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to make good on his pledge to steer the country towards economic progress through reforms. Ordinary people appear ready to trust him, perhaps because they see the former field marshal as their best chance to materially improve their lives, writes GIS guest expert Ambassador Zv...
Asean split by spectre of Chinese guns and money
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) operates under the motto ‘One Vision, One Identity, One Community.’ Recently, however, the bloc has not been so unified. A schism between its 10 member states is growing over China, their giant neighbour to the north. It is a divide that threatens to derail the bloc’s economic development and integration into a lar...