Covington Team

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Recent Media Interviews on African Business Trends

Witney Schneidman, Chair of Covington’s Africa Practice, recently participated in a number of media interviews where he discussed various business trends on the continent. Below are links to those interviews.  An interview with CGTN that compared the commercial approaches of China and the United States in Africa. LINK CNBC-Africa’s Closing Bell had Witney Schneidman on … Continue Reading

Project Finance Master Class: Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Deficit

There are ample studies that quantify Africa’s infrastructure deficit in terms of projects and funding. The World Bank estimates $93 billion of annual upkeep investment is needed for projects and Ernst and Young estimates that there are some 800 projects, largely in the power and transportation sectors, that require approximately $700 billion in new investments. … Continue Reading

USTR Finds China’s IP Practices Cause at Least $50 Billion in Harm: Proposed Tariffs and Investment Restrictions Ratchet Up U.S.-China Trade Tensions

March 22, 2018 Earlier today, the administration announced its findings that China’s theft of U.S. technologies and intellectual property (“IP”) have caused at least $50 billion in harm to the U.S. economy per year. In response, President Trump issued an order announcing its intent to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports, curtail Chinese investment in … Continue Reading

Giving The Middle Class Credit: With Latest Bill, Congress Is Taking A Step In The Right Direction

Bank-fintech partnerships are good for consumers and banks, as I recently explained in testimony to Congress during a hearing on the opportunities and challenges in the fintech marketplace. Consumers benefit because banks are able to use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower cost and more convenient financial products and services to consumers over the … Continue Reading

Update on U.S.-China Trade Relations

Recent U.S. Trade Actions Concerns about the possibility of a U.S.-China “trade war” remain strong, especially after the Trump administration announced (Section 201) safeguard decisions against imported solar panels in January, and the Commerce Department released its (Section 232) report in February on the national security impact of steel and aluminum imports recommending additional tariffs … Continue Reading

What Next for Trump and Africa?

In late December, the Trump Administration released the “National Security Strategy of the United States of America.” The nearly 70 page document lays out the foreign policy priorities of the current Administration in both thematic and regional approaches. At the time of its release, the press focused on the strategy’s emphasis on Russia and China, … Continue Reading

U.S.-China Trade Relations Heat Up Post Trump Visit

By official accounts, President Trump’s November visit to China went off well with positive atmospherics, including an unprecedented (for a foreign leader) dinner inside the Forbidden City and the signing of over $250 billion of commercial deals and two-way investment agreements. On the other hand, most western analysts have quickly pointed out that much of … Continue Reading

China Seeks Public Comments on Draft Regulation on the Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure

On July 11, 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the draft Regulation for the Protection of the Critical Information Infrastructure (“Draft Regulation”) for public comment (official Chinese version available here). The comment period ends on August 10, 2017. Aiming to add greater clarification to the Cybersecurity Law, which took effect on June 1, … Continue Reading

U.S.-China Relations: Good Start but Difficult Challenges Ahead

At the U.S.-China Summit in Mar-a-Lago in April, President Trump and President Xi agreed to set up a new four-track dialogue mechanism to replace the previous Strategic and Economic Dialogue established between China and the United States under the Obama Administration. This mechanism allows the two governments to conduct more specialized and higher-level discussions along … Continue Reading

Tensions Heighten on the Korean Peninsula

Following President Trump’s call to China’s President Xi Jinping on February 9, it appeared that U.S.-China tensions, particularly over U.S. policy vis-à-vis Taiwan, had abated for the time being. Trump reaffirmed the U.S. “One China Policy” during the call, and Beijing celebrated that they were able to get Trump back on track on this issue … Continue Reading

Global Policy Watch: Tensions Building Up in Cross-Strait and U.S.-China Relations

Cross-Strait Relations In her year-end press conference on December 31, 2016, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen focused on her administration’s domestic policy agenda but also noted Beijing’s increasing pressure on Taiwan since she took office on May 20. Beijing has cut off high-level communications between the two sides (while maintaining ties with the former KMT party), … Continue Reading

East Asia Watch: U.S. to Lift Sanctions on Myanmar

At his meeting with visiting Myanmar (Burma) State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on September 14, President Obama announced that he intends to issue a new Executive Order that will generally remove longstanding U.S. sanctions on Burma. Given further progress in Myanmar’s transition to a democracy, he argued that “it is the right thing to … Continue Reading

FAA Drone Rules Take Effect; Commercial Use of Drones Permitted with Certain Conditions

Welcome to the Drone Age. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) long-awaited rule on the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) took effect Monday, August 29, 2016, providing a comprehensive and generally applicable set of rules for anyone wishing to operate a small drone for commercial purposes. This does not mean you … Continue Reading

AfDB President Launches “New Deal on Energy in Africa”

New African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina chose last week’s World Economic Forum at Davos for the official launch of the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, along with a Transformative Partnership for Energy in Africa (TPEA).  While a candidate for the AfDB president position a year ago, Adesina placed energy at the top … Continue Reading

EU’s Highest Court Invalidates Safe Harbor with Immediate Effect

Yesterday, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) invalidated the European Commission’s Decision on the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor arrangement (Commission Decision 2000/520 – see here). The Court responded to pre-judicial questions put forward by the Irish High Court in the so-called Schrems case. More specifically, the High Court had enquired, in particular, … Continue Reading

From the AGOA Forum in Gabon to the WTO Ministerial in Nairobi

For years, many observers treated Africa’s plans for regional integration with a healthy dose of skepticism. Though the skepticism remains, what has changed is the wide-spread acknowledgement and elevated importance of regional economic integration to grow Africa’s economies, create jobs for its rapidly growing youth population, and improve lives. Last month’s AGOA Forum, hosted by … Continue Reading

EU – US Umbrella Agreement about to be concluded: towards a transatlantic approach to data protection?

According to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, the EU and the US have finalized the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (for the press release, see here; a reportedly near-final draft of the agreement can be read here). This is a remarkable breakthrough after the first calls for such an agreement back in … Continue Reading

EU – US Umbrella Agreement about to be concluded: towards a transatlantic approach to data protection?

According to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, the EU and the US have finalized the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (for the press release, see here). This is a remarkable breakthrough after the first calls for such an agreement back in March 2009, when the European Parliament called for an “EU … Continue Reading

The last act of the Greek crisis negotiations?

The latest chapter of the Greek crisis, which started with the electoral victory of the left wing Syriza party in January 2015, is reaching its close. The final deadline for reaching an agreement in principle to negotiate a new bailout has been set for Sunday, 12 July by the European Council. This last chance given … Continue Reading
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