As a number of recent press articles, including this one from Reuters, attest, the U.S. business community is increasingly taking note of Indian trade practices that impose onerous localization trade barriers and compromise the interests of foreign intellectual property rights holders. In light of this, representatives from a diverse range of business and manufacturing sectors recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take a more forceful stand against India’s increasing embrace of “innovation mercantilist” trade policies. For example, as the letter argues, India’s recent “Administrative and court rulings have repeatedly ignored internationally recognized rights—imposing arbitrary marketing restrictions on medical devices and denying, breaking, or revoking patents for nearly a dozen lifesaving medications.”
It’s encouraging to see more organizations raising the profile on this important issue. ITIF has been monitoring India’s trade practices for some time now. In March, we submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Hearing on U.S.-India Trade Relations and last month we hosted a media teleconference during which ITIF called on the U.S. government to take a harder stance with India regarding protections for foreign intellectual property rights holders. We have also commented … Read the rest
On Monday at the G8 Summit, President Obama, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron, European Commission President Barroso, and European Council President Van Rompuy announced plans to launch negotiations for an ambitious trade deal between the European Union and the United States. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) is an ambitious, comprehensive, and high-standard trade and investment agreement that promises to boost worldwide economic growth. During the negotiation announcement, Prime Minister Cameron said a successful deal could add £100 billion ($157 billion) to the EU economy, £80 billion ($125 billion) to the U.S. economy, and as much as £85 billion ($133 billion) to the rest of the world. While these numbers are impressive, as ITIF’s March 2013 report, Estimating the Benefits of a Transatlantic Trade Partnership found, citing data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gains could be as high as $450 billion for the United States and $495 billion for the Europe Union, boosting both EU and US GDP by 3 percent. “We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history; a deal that will have a greater impact than all the other trade deals on the … Read the rest
We had an interesting discussion about broadband policy today, International Broadband Quality: How’s that Policy Working?
For several years, policy wonks have debated the merits and demerits of two competing broadband policies, the “facilities-based competition” policy we have the U. S. and the “wholesale unbundling” or “open access” policy the Europeans favor. For a long time, it was thought that unbundling would yield lower prices at the expense of ongoing investment while robust facilities-based competition would yield better quality at higher prices.
Things are roughly going that way, but there’s an additional issue in terms of value for money. The average cell phone/broadband bill is lower in the EU, but the quality is so much lower that the value per dollar tilts in favor of the U. S. even though the bill is a little higher. Americans consume four times as many cellular minutes and twice as much data usage over mobile networks than Europeans. We also have faster speeds.
On the wireline side, our speeds are higher than those all all but three EU nations: Latvia, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Prices for middle tier broadband packages are lower … Read the rest
Singapore has an amazing record of economic growth, having transformed itself from an uneducated and poor country fifty years ago into one of the richest countries in the world today. Factoring in the cost of living, Singapore now ranks in the top 5 richest countries, well ahead of the United States. In purely nominal terms Singapore ranks in the top 10-20, lower but still ahead of the USA.
Despite this success Singapore has long been criticized for growing its economy through capital investment (“increasing inputs”) instead of productivity growth. Capital investment increases output per worker, but only by sacrificing consumption spending. Paul Krugman was a vocal critic in a 1994 article on Singapore and other Asian Tigers:
Mere increases in inputs, without an increase in the efficiency with which those inputs are used–investing in more machinery and infrastructure–must run into diminishing returns; input-driven growth is inevitably limited.
Singapore’s leadership vehemently opposed Krugman’s prediction of slowdown at the time, which was a wise thing, as history has shown that he clearly missed some important factors in his analysis. Furthermore, is easy to understand the government’s chagrin as they … Read the rest
The massive cicada bloom that spread across the eastern seaboard this spring is winding down, but its end heralds another gradually emerging entity: citizen sensing. The Cicada Tracker—a community data-gathering initiative for documenting the noisy insects’ emergence from their burrows—was a rousing success, and it should encourage data innovators across the country to think about what a few motivated citizens and some commodity hardware can do for their communities.
The tracker was devised at a hackathon by John Keefe, a data journalist working for New York public radio station WNYC. The device was a simple piece of open hardware, consisting of an Arduino microcontroller, a temperature sensor, LEDs, resistors and wiring.
For around $80 and some careful construction, it enabled ordinary folks to measure soil temperature, which is a reliable indicator for exactly when the cicadas will surface. After measuring the temperature, people could then send that data—along with their locations and eventually any cicada sightings—to the WNYC team, who created an interactive map to visualize the emerging swarm.