CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#4, July 2018

From the Editor’s Desk 

Indo-Pacific Business Forum: A Great Instrument to Mobilise Investment for Development
During his first visit to Asia in November last year, the U.S. President Donald Trump spoke of an Indo-Pacific Strategy in alliance with Japan, Australia and India. In less than a year, the President has entrusted his top bureaucrats to develop policy measures to tackle economic, infrastructure and energy issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
At the launch meeting of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, held in Washington DC on 30th July, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State has emphasised that the Forum is to be an instrument to expand economic investment and development with its allies and partners. He encouraged the U.S. private sector to build partnerships with likeminded players to shape up the digital economy, infrastructure and energy sectors in the region.

As a response to counter any sort of hegemonic behaviour, such initiatives are about assistingsocieties of the various Indo-Pacific countries to become progressively more free – free in terms of good governance, in terms of fundamental rights, in terms of transparency and anti-corruption.”

Undoubtedly, it would be of great value for governments in the region who lack capital and institutional support to develop infrastructure for their economies.  
                                                                                                                                     Pradeep S. Mehta
P.S. Asking India to seek the US's approval for purchase of weapons from Russia was strongly resisted, which fortunately has been resolved by the US Congress. We will expect a similar approach to India's trade relations with Iran as that too has many dimensions with global effects.

Message for our Readers
This is the fourth edition of the monthly brief from the Center, which carries select published news or comments on a relevant issue. There are equally important issues which may have been missed out to keep the Monthly Brief short and swiftly readable.
Readers are encouraged to send their own views and suggestions at:


China-US trade war: Is there a silver lining for India?
The growing conflict between the two largest economies of the world, the US and China, has stirred a debate on its impact on India, Asia’s third largest economy. Some believe any escalation in a trade-cum-currency conflict will be universally harmful for all economies, and particularly so for emerging economies such as India.
Can the GOP Survive a Trade War?
On July 6, Donald Trump carried out his vow to slap tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese goods, and China immediately reciprocated by penalizing U.S. imports, from soybeans to Teslas. The European Union, Canada, and Mexico also imposed retaliatory levies in response to Trump’s provocations. 
A $1tn global trade war could yet come to pass
The US is due to start imposing tariffs on July 6 on $34bn of imports from China and Beijing is set to target an equal amount as the nascent trade war between the two largest economies continues to build (Paywall). Add that to the pile of tariffs and counter-tariffs growing across the Atlantic and North America, and the value of trade covered by the economic wars that President Donald Trump has launched will race through the $100bn mark by the end of this week.
US elevates India’s trade status to NATO-level ally, move to boost access to defence tech
The United States on Monday elevated India’s status as a trading partner to equal that it has accorded largely to its Nato allies, mostly for the purposes of speeding up the sale of high-tech defence and non-defence products that are otherwise subjected to strict controls and licensing.


U.S. oil industry lobbies against tighter sanctions on Russia
The U.S. oil and gas industry is lobbying against tighter sanctions on Russia that could impact U.S. investments there, congressional sources said on Friday. The U.S. Senate has revived a bill, called DETER, that would allow for swift sanctions if Moscow was found meddling in future U.S. 
India to US: Sanctions against Iran oil imports will have a ripple effect on energy value chain
India’s negotiating skills are being put to test as it continues to convince the US that if Washington goes after oil exports from Iran, the ripple effect will be felt on the global economy. As the clock ticks towards the deadline set by the US President Donald Trump on economic sanctions on Iran, New Delhi has been talking to the US to ensure that business with Iran, which is among the top three oil suppliers to India, is not impacted.
US India Gas Task Force designed to help India unleash its own natural gas reserves: Perry
The recently established US-India Gas Task Force is designed to help India unleash its own natural gas potential, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said today. I traveled to India earlier in the year, where we established a joint US-India Gas Task Force.
The Global Energy System Is Becoming More Electric, But Not Fast Enough
The energy sector is becoming ever more electric, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy research agency, but overall spending on the sector fell in 2017. The electricity sector attracted more investment in 2017 than the oil and gas industry for the second year in a row, the IEA said in its World Energy Investment 2018 report, its annual review of global energy spending.


Can France and the UK Pivot to the Pacific?
The U.S. administration’s emerging Indo-Pacific strategy will seek to “sustain favorable balances of power” by bolstering cooperation with its critical allies, Australia, India, and Japan. But these are not the only countries with vested interests in the region.
US firms seek opportunities for private partnerships in India’s defence market
As the first 2+2 dialogue involving the US and India is set to take place on September 6 with defence and foreign ministers of both countries meeting in New Delhi, the stage appears to be set for the two nations to accelerate the execution of stalled projects.
Pompeo launches Indo-Pacific Business Forum
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday launched the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Washington DC as the economic pillar for his country’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. To implement the new strategy launched by the Trump administration, the forum will serve as an instrument to expand the US’s economic role in the region, said Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to the secretary of state.
Sanctions relief: on waiver for India under CAATSA 
The U.S. Congress’s report allowing the introduction of a presidential waiver of its controversial Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) will be greeted with a sense of relief in both New Delhi and Washington.


With an Eye on User Privacy, India Strives to Store Data Locally
Reports suggest that cross-border data flows contributed $2.8 trillion to the global economy in 2014, which is expected to touch $11 trillion by 2025. However, many governments have been inclined towards restricting cross-border data flow and mandating localisation of certain data.
China tempts Britain with free trade, says door to U.S. talks open
China offered Britain talks on a post-Brexit free trade deal on Monday, reaching out to London as Beijing remains mired in an increasingly bitter trade war with Washington, even as a senior Chinese diplomat reiterated its door remained open for dialogue.
Asean dialogue to focus on reviving India’s maritime linkages with South-East Asia
India’s ancient maritime connect with South-East Asia and ways to reinforce and adapt the old linkages to boost commercial and security engagement will be the main focus of an upcoming dialogue between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next week.
China's appetite for infrastructure investment creates big winners
China's hunger for infrastructure investment helped create some of the biggest gainers in the A300 rankings, while Indian pharmaceutical companies dropped significantly as they wrestled with regulatory scrutiny and price competition in the U.S.
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