Archives: Asia

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Russia and Iran Sanctions: Recent Developments

During the past two weeks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the U.S. Department of State have taken a number of steps toward implementing aspects of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”), a major piece of sanctions legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in July and … Continue Reading

Developments in U.S. Iran Sanctions

Administration Also Revises Russia Sanctions, Terminates Most Sudan Sanctions On October 13, President Trump announced that he would no longer certify to Congress that the suspension of U.S. sanctions against Iran pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) is “appropriate and proportionate” to the steps that Iran has taken to terminate its illicit … 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

Private-Sector Opportunities – and Challenges – in the new $38.8 billion U.S.-Israel Military Assistance Package

Uncertainty surrounding the policies of the new administration is felt across industries. In particular, U.S. and Israeli defense industries are anxious for details of a ten-year, $38.8 billion military assistance package that was signed in Washington this past September. Whether the terms of the aid package are upended entirely or left mostly unchanged by the … 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

Japan and Africa: Turning a New Page

Is Africa becoming a strategic priority for Japan? The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), held in Nairobi, Kenya August 27-28, suggests that Japan is looking at Africa differently than in the past. For one, the five previous TICADs have been held in Japan; this is the first to be convened on … Continue Reading

G20 Meetings in Shanghai — Snoozer or Sleeper

Disappointment is the sentiment most expressed towards results of the February 26-27 meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Shanghai.  One former UK official calls G20 meetings a “damp squib” — no idea what that means, but it sounds about right.  Despite rising panic by the IMF, OECD and others about the … Continue Reading

United States, EU Implement Significant Iran Sanctions Relief

On January 16, 2016, the United States and the European Union (“EU”) significantly eased their sanctions against Iran, following verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) that Iran had carried out its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), the multilateral agreement signed in mid-July 2015 in which Iran agreed to accept … Continue Reading

China, India and Japan Set to Host Major Summits To Further Strengthen Ties with Africa

In the midst of questions about how China’s economic health will impact Africa, the foreign ministers of China and South Africa have announced that the sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be upgraded to a summit. Nearly a decade after the first China-Africa Leaders summit which was held in Beijing, this … Continue Reading

China Sneezes: Could Africans benefit from a devalued yuan?

When China sneezes, does all of Africa catch a cold? Slower Chinese growth and a recently devalued currency will certainly impact Africa, whose largest trading partner is China. However, the impact of China’s recent currency devaluation will largely depend on country-specific factors. The Chinese government likely devalued its currency in August in part to combat … Continue Reading

China Issues Draft Network Security Law

Close on the heels of a sweeping new National Security Law, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress released last month for public comment a very significant draft Network Security Law (“Draft Law”), also referred to as the draft Cybersecurity Law. Since it came into power in 2012, China’s current leadership has attached an … Continue Reading

MAT Tax Controversy Highlights Foreign Investment Challenges Faced by the Modi Administration

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his tenure at the helm of one of the world’s fastest growing economies, he made it a priority to attract foreign investors to continue India’s economic growth.  However, just one year after assuming office, Prime Minister Modi and his administration must confront the concerns of foreign investors, following the … Continue Reading

The United States and India Sign a 10-Year Defense Agreement and Set the Stage for Increased Defense Cooperation

On June 3, 2015, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a 10-year defense framework agreement during Secretary Carter’s 10-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region, which included a stop in India.  This framework agreement comes at a time when the United States and its allies are stepping up defense … Continue Reading

After Turkey’s Election—What Next?

Since becoming Prime Minister in 2000, now-President Recep Erdogan has consolidated power and led his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to a 13-year majority position in the Parliament.  Yesterday, however, they got 41% of the vote, and failed to achieve an outright majority.  The reasons, implications and uncertainties this raises are very important.  How Erdogan … Continue Reading

India’s Investment Treaties – Will the Government Reject a Core Standard of Investment Protection?

Almost all of the more than 3,000 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in existence offer foreign investors the protection of “fair and equitable treatment” under international law.  India’s new draft model BIT does not.  In place of the well-established standard of protection, which has been interpreted and applied in hundreds of prior investment arbitrations, the model … Continue Reading

Revamping India’s Bankruptcy Laws: A Way Out of India’s Bad Debt Problem

Despite recent improvements in India’s economic stability, the hangover from India’s credit fueled boom isn’t over yet.  Estimates of the percentage of bank loans that are “impaired” — where repayment of the loan is classified as doubtful — run as high as 9%.  Following the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, India joined countries … Continue Reading

India’s Changing Insurance Market

Growth in India’s insurance market has been hampered by a lack of capital, and also a lack of consumer demand.  The two problems are related: with the market still dominated by large, government-linked companies, insurance products have not always been effectively promoted by stakeholders. This in turn has left individuals and small businesses unaware of … Continue Reading

Global Infrastructure Investment — Getting Investors Off the Sidelines

Power shortages in India, transportation costs in Africa, the poor grades given to US infrastructure, pollution in China, and the devastation to old and sub-par infrastructure in places like Nepal when disaster strikes are clear reminders that the world needs more and better infrastructure.   Infrastructure is the talk of governments, of bodies such as the … Continue Reading

The Net Neutrality Debate in India

Net neutrality has become a hot button issue, not only in the United States, but worldwide. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the content’s source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Supporters of net neutrality worry that powerful … Continue Reading

Prospects for Iran Sanctions Under the April 2 Nuclear Framework

There are no changes in the application of US sanctions against Iran as a result of the framework parameters regarding Tehran’s nuclear program announced on April 2.  Additional sanctions relief will come only if there is a final agreement concluded among Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European … Continue Reading

Prospects for Doing Business With Iran

My colleague Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat has posted a masterful overview of the Framework understanding that Iran and the P5+1 have reached, including an assessment of the issues to be addressed in transforming the Framework into a binding international agreement.  In this posting. I identify five international and diplomatic signposts on which Western companies interested in … Continue Reading

The Iran Framework Agreement: Structure and Open Issues

The framework agreement reached at Lausanne is much more extensive than the November 2014 interim agreement, which froze Iran’s nuclear program in place, in return for modest sanctions relief (around $7 billion annually). Although it has no binding legal impact, the framework is much more detailed. It is an outline for an eventual binding agreement. … Continue Reading
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