Monday Minute – 9/21/2015

What Elections in Japan and Canada say about the Future of Trade Deals

By ALAN WOLFF, Fortune Insider

Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party re-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its president last week. He was first elected in 2012 on a pro-growth, economic reform agenda. Now his top domestic priority is to restore growth to the Japanese economy – which has been on a downward slope for the last several decades and which contracted in the second quarter of this year.

Upon receiving the positive vote for leadership of his party, Abe immediately declared his commitment to successfully close a massive Pacific Rim trade deal that includes Japan and about 40% of the global economy. At this point, that’s not easy as Japan and 11 other nations continue negotiating the Transpacific Partnership agreement.

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The two Mexicos

The Economist | Sep 19th 2015 | From the print edition

“IN ESTABLISHING the rule of law, the first five centuries are always the hardest.” For much of the past two decades, that quip by Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister, has seemed not just dour, but wrong. Buoyed by China, by trade growth and capital inflows, by talk of new middle classes and the bottom billion, it was easy to forget old truths about how hard it is for poor countries to become rich. A breezy assumption took hold: that emerging markets would surely follow the likes of South Korea and Taiwan on the path to wealth.

That view of development has crumbled of late, along with emerging markets’ growth rates. China, the locomotive to which many are still hitched, is slowing. Russia, South Africa and Brazil (see article) are in reverse gear. Their currencies drop with every fall in commodity prices; they will no doubt weaken further if the Federal Reserve raises American interest rates in a meeting due to end after we went to press. Trade is growing more slowly than global GDP, a trend that seems unlikely to reverse soon (see article). All of this makes the trajectory taken by the East Asian tigers seem ever more exceptional.

A more realistic model of development is Mexico…

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Proposed Amendments Provide Data Security Standard Under ITAR and EAR

By THOMAS McVEY, Williams Mullen Law Firm

The Commerce and State Departments have issued long-awaited proposed regulations that provide data security standards for use in the transmission and storage of ITAR-controlled and EAR-controlled electronic data.  If enacted in final form, these proposals could provide an important foundation for compliance in the transmission, storage and “cloud” processing of export-controlled technology/technical data and software.

On June 3, 2015 both the State Department and the Commerce Department issued proposed regulations to harmonize key terms used in the International Traffic In Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”).  One of the key terms addressed in both proposals is the definition of the term “export” and the identification of certain activities that would not constitute an export.  As an important part of this, the proposals state that transmitting or storing electronic data that meets certain security standards would not constitute an “export” of the data and hence not be subject to certain export control restrictions.

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