Monthly Archives: September 2012

Alan Beattie

A thought on intellectual property rights following yesterday’s magnum opus. As is often the case in trade deals, political economy means that the remedies are at a tangent to the real problem.

The main complaint I hear from US companies is that their IP is being stolen in emerging markets, particularly but not exclusively, China. It’s not just about the quality of the laws on the books: it’s about getting them enforced. Even if you can get the evidence together for a case (especially tough for industrial espionage), Chinese IP courts have limited recourse and are subject to local political pressure. Read more

Here are today’s reading nuggets for you:

Tony Barber

Add Poland to the list of European Union countries turned off by the incoherent, self-isolating policies of Britain’s Conservative-led government towards Europe.

First there was Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel restricts her visits to the UK these days to the barest minimum. She has been lukewarm about David Cameron, the UK prime minister, ever since he pulled the Conservative party out of the pan-European centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), of which her Christian Democrats are a leading light.

Next came France. President François Hollande hasn’t forgotten how Cameron refused to meet him when he visited London on an election campaign trip earlier this year. Hollande is not inclined to do Cameron any favours on crucial issues such as the protection of British interests in a more deeply integrated Europe. Read more

Welcome to a new round-up of US coverage of the 2012 presidential election.

With just 41 days of campaigning left – and no new national polls to set the campaigns into nail-biting mode – foreign policy is set to make an impact on the campaign on Tuesday as President Barack Obama addresses the UN general assembly on the Middle East and Mitt Romney is expected to hit back with accusations that the incumbent has failed in his policies there.

Most papers report that the White House is presenting this as a “real moment for the US to assert its values and leadership in this period of transition”.

But CBS News queries why, after making the trip to New York, the president is spending little time at UN headquarters. Unlike last year, he has scheduled no bilateral meetings with world leaders.

Simply put, the White House is prioritizing the president’s reelection effort. Most heads of state will be here all week, but the president will be in New York less than 24 hours, and even then will spend most of his time away from this conference.

 Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The highway leading out of Delhi is lined with adverts for new housing developments with names such as “Exotica Dreamville”. A typical hoarding shows a smiling young couple, standing on a manicured lawn, under the slogan: “Lifestyle is here.”

Here’s some thought-provoking material to start off your week:

Gideon Rachman

I have just been down my local Sainsbury’s – here in the London suburbs – and was distressed to see that it was full of shoppers. This distress is, of course, entirely hypocritical. I am one of those shoppers. Still, I cannot help feeling bad about the local corner-store, a few doors down. It is a run by a friendly and hard-working family of Indian immigrants. And I know their trade has suffered badly since Sainsbury’s opened up a mini-mart, six months ago.

The whole experience reminded me of the debate they were having in India itself, when I was there, earlier this week. The government of Manmohan Singh has just announced its plans to allow foreign supermarkets, such as Walmart and Tesco, to open up in India. But the scheme has provoked big protests, from those who say that small shopkeepers will be crushed. Read more

Ever feel you’ve read all there is to read about China’s growth as a world manufacturing power? Well, did you know that China now has almost complete control of the world’s umbrella market?

China exported over $2.4bn of umbrellas, walking-sticks and whips in 2010, over three quarters – and rising – of global export share.

 Read more

We’ve got a bumper selection to take you through to the weekend:

Gideon Rachman

Mitt Romney has already chalked up one achievement. He is making George W. Bush look very good by comparison.

The full effect of Romney’s comments disparaging 47% of Americans has yet to be gauged. But his dismissive tone towards those “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing” contrasts sharply with George W. Bush – who trademarked the term “compassionate conservatism”. Instead Romney seems to have embraced a Randian “survival of the fittest” model, in which it is even questionable that people have a right to be fed. Read more