ESADEgeo’s Daily Digest, 12/05/2017

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South China Morning Post—T. Phillips / Beijing, US reach trade deal to boost American imports to China in wake of Xi-Trump summit

  • Washington and Beijing have reached a trade agreement that will boost exports of American liquefied natural gas, beef and other products, while improving U.S. financial services’ access to the Chinese market.
  • The U.S. will facilitate the entrance of Chinese banks into the U.S banking market, and will allow the sale of Chinese cooked poultry.
  • The deal follows pledges by President Trump and President Xi Jinping to address a US$350 billion trade imbalance in China’s favor.
  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross called the agreement “a herculean task”, claiming that “this is more than has been done in the whole history of US-China relations on trade”.

Brookings—S. Maloney / Under Trump, U.S. policy on Iran is moving from accommodation to confrontation

  • Under Trump, neither restraint nor continuity can be expected in U.S. policy towards Iran.
  • While Obama opted for greater engagement, the critics of the Iran nuclear deal argue that the prospect of Iranian moderation is an illusion. The view of the Trump Administration is that any gains are offset by the concessions given to Iran and the intensification of this country’s regional reach.
  • Trump’s views are supported even by some Democrats, and have been well received by Israel and authoritarian Sunni states of the region.
  • There appears to be little impetus to dismantle the Iran deal, but Trump’s administration is trying to find ways to tighten its constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities. There will also be a reversal of Obama’s efforts to facilitate Iran’s post-sanctions reentry to the global economy.
  • The outcome of the May 19 presidential election in Iran could make or break Trump’s efforts to turn the tables on Tehran.

POLITICO—A. Gardner / OPINION: How to revive TTIP

  • The recent meeting between Wilbur Ross and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström suggests that Washington may be open to pushing ahead on a trade deal with the EU.
  • Trump’s protectionist convictions can be an obstacle on the way to reaching a deal, but U.S. frictions with other countries could help the TTIP regain momentum.
  • If negotiations were to be restarted, some key recommendations should be kept in mind: emphasize the “partnership” aspect of the deal, manage expectations, share facts instead of projections, treat TTIP as a political campaign and improve outreach, embrace transparency, and be honest about globalization.
  • European leaders in particular should be more straightforward with citizens about their support of TTIP, trying to ensure consistent messaging.

Foreign Affairs—Paul R. Williams & J. Trevor Ulbrick / The Right Way to Create Safe Zones in Syria

  • U.S. military planners are right to be wary about Trump’s support for establishing safe zones in Syria. However, safe zones may prove to be an effective answer to Syria’s humanitarian crisis, enhancing civilian protection while also being diplomatically feasible.
  • If not enforced correctly, as was the case in Srebrenica, safe zones can do more harm than good. But political will (with robust rules of engagement) and clear messaging (reframing the Syria policy of the U.S. in humanitarian terms) can make them successful.
  • Military experts have said that safe zones in Syria would need a no-fly zone in order to effectively protect civilians. These measures might make Assad see renewed value in pursuing a negotiated settlement.
  • Trump could draw on international law and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to justify safe zones.
  • The U.S. would need a sound exit strategy, linking withdrawal to a nationwide ceasefire or peace agreement featuring international peacekeepers.

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