Are We Witnessing The Demise of the Box?

Will the World Reject the Undeniable Benefits of Globalization?

This article originally appeared in Global Trade Magazine on August 8, 2016

Cargo Container

Marc Levinson’s book The Box, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage in April 1956, tells the story of how a simple container, made a phenomenon known as globalization possible.

As the title suggests, the box developed by Malcom McLean, founder of a trucking company based in Red Springs, North Carolina, and one of the company’s original drivers, made the world smaller and the world economy bigger by the introduction of intermodal shipping which connected markets globally.

What exactly is globalization?

It seems to have different meanings to different people. It affects not only international commerce but also ideas and governance. As far as trade goes, globalization is a very old story with trade routes dating back to the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages in Europe. But containerization and intermodal transportation brought globalization to new heights and created the global marketplace that we take for granted today.

What has globalization brought us? It has brought economic growth but not everywhere. It has created jobs but it has also displaced workers in certain industries. It brings consumers more choice and lower prices, but some question whether consumers enjoy the benefit of lower prices with currency manipulation. It has given businesses access to foreign markets, but this is no easy feat for small and medium-sized enterprises given crossborder regulatory and other impediments and risk inherent in doing business in emerging countries.

On the positive side, let’s take the example of South Korea. In the four decades since the Korean War, South Korea has been transformed from a developing country to one of Asia’s most vibrant, manufacturing powerhouses that has virtually eradicated poverty, malnutrition, and illiteracy. It has increased its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) more quickly than any of its neighbors since the 1960s, according to McKinsey & Co.

In an article entitled “Globalization: What the West can learn from Asia,” Iiaz Nabi states that “[g]lobalization has been hugely beneficial to Asia. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and have reaped lasting benefits from worldwide investment flows, knowledge exchanges, and rapid economic growth. And while globalization undoubtedly made the rich even richer, the poor also benefited.”

So how has the anti-globalization movement evolved? Why has the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) become a flash point in the U.S. Presidential election? Why is there such a clamor to close borders to the stuff we buy every day?

Anti-trade sentiment is not new. It has been brewing for some time. Demonstrations protesting globalization date back to 1988 at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and have recurred in Paris at the G7 meetings in 1989, at the 50th anniversary of the IMF and the World Bank in Madrid in 1994, and at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle in 1999. It has now become commonplace for protests to occur on the sidelines of meetings of international organizations and other summits.

In 2001, Barry Bosworth and Philip Gordon explained in their Brookings article “Managing a Globalizing World: An Overview” that globalization was so controversial because it creates both winners and losers, referring to the workers in U.S. manufacturing whose jobs were displaced through trade as losers in globalization. They also noted that most countries make only minimal efforts to compensate the losers and pointed to the domestic conflicts long evident in the U.S. in the textile, steel and automobile industries.

Brookings’ Nabi explains that Asia has not suffered from the same political blowback that western developed countries have experienced because Asian governments have invested heavily in human capital by education and health as well as made public investment in infrastructure to attract foreign investment.

Boswell and Gordon also point to the disparities between developed and developing countries, with richer countries reaping the benefits of global trade and investment. As they point out, most economists contend that the poorer countries of the world need more integration into global economy for access to capital and trade and investment necessary to raise living standards. This very disparity between poor and rich countries has created difficulties for the WTO and has arguably led to its lack of success in its Doha Development Round.

Are we ready to examine how to reap the greatest benefits of globalization for all citizens and countries? Are we ready to have an intelligent discussion? Or have we forgotten the lessons of history like the disastrous economic effects of Smoot-Hawley tariffs?

While globalization needs some tweaking, we should take note of one of the major successes of globalization: poverty alleviation. In 201l, Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz reported in YaleGlobal that the world was in the midst of the fastest period of poverty reduction ever seen. While they acknowledged that the hows and whys of this trend will be debated for years to come, they state that the broader trends of the rise of globalization, the spread of capitalism, and the improving quality of economic governance have enabled the developing world to begin to close the gap between rich and poor countries.

Is the world in 2016 at a tipping point on globalization? Should we throw out the baby with the bath water and stop putting stuff in those boxes that traverse our oceans and travel our highways and rail corridors to our stores and manufacturing facilities?

Evelyn M. Suarez is expressing her personal views as a Washington, D.C.-based international trade lawyer and consultant. She is Founder and Principal of The Suarez Firm and is President of the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT).

Will the Elephant in the Room Trample Trans-Atlantic Business?

Originally published on the WIIT blog on July 6, 2016. Written by Evelyn M. Suarez and Seth Goldschlager.

TTIP was already in trouble because neither the U.S. nor Europeans took seriously the perfect storm that was brewing.

The news from the UK was hardly announced when Jose Bové, the French agri-activist and Euro MP, who earned his first Luddite stripes through media-savvy trashing of McDonalds and then GMO test beds in France, couldn’t contain his glee.

Read More

WIIT Names New Leadership

President, Officers, and Board of Directors appointed at Annual Meeting

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) announced its new leadership for the 2016—2017 term. WIIT’s newly appointed President is Evelyn M. Suarez, Esq., Founder and Principal of The Suarez Firm.

Suarez has been a member of WIIT since its inception and has served on WIIT’s Board of Directors since 2013. Suarez also served as Vice President of Chapter Development for the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) for two terms (2012-2014 and 2014-2016). OWIT is the parent organization of WIIT and is a global organization of geographic chapters. In August of 2014, after many years as a partner in various law firms and service as a government attorney, Suarez started The Suarez Firm to provide customs and international trade legal and consulting services and help clients take advantage of opportunities in international trade while mitigating risks. She has also been a thought leader on implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and how it can benefit developing countries by attracting trade and investment.

“It is truly an honor to be able to lead WIIT during this pivotal time in international trade. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the most significant trade agreements ever, awaiting Congressional approval, and negotiations for free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union- the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)- in progress, the merits of international trade are hotly debated. Given this environment, WIIT has a unique role to play in building awareness of the importance of international commerce to economic development and job creation, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

“I am excited to work with our talented leaders here in Washington as well as WIIT’s sister OWIT chapters around the world. My goal would be for WIIT to lead by example by growing its membership, building public awareness on trade, and providing opportunities for professional development. WIIT is an inclusive organization and we welcome all, regardless of gender, to support our dual mission of promoting women and promoting trade.”

WIIT also named its new Board of Directors, elected to a two-year term.

2016-17 WIIT Board Members

President Evelyn Suarez Suarez Law Firm
President-Elect Leslie Griffin UPS
Immediate Past President Stefanie Holland US Chamber of Commerce
Treasurer Colleen Litkenhaus Dow
Secretary Peggy Clarke Peggy Clarke Law Firm
Assistant Secretary Orisia Gammell Arent Fox
Vice President of Programming Linda Schmid Trade in Services, International
Asst. Vice Presidents of Programming Moushami Joshi Pillsbury Law
Margaret Spicer White & Case
Vice Presidents of Membership Rebecca Karnak Dell
Cat Robinson Pfizer
Phyllis Derrick Arnold and Porter
Jessica Wasserman Wasserman and Associates
Michelle DeMoor British Embassy
VP of Professional Development Dana Watts Weil, Gotshal and Manges
Assistant Vice President of Mentoring Rowan Dougherty Adducci, Mastriani and Schaumberg
Vice President of Special Events Alina Zarr Land of Promise Winery
Vice President  of Communications Carlene Hastings Eagle Hill Consulting
Vice President of Elections Patricia Wu Crowell Moring
Chair, WIIT Charitable Trust Nancy Travis AdvaMed

To download a PDF of this press release – CLICK HERE. For more information please contact WIIT Executive Director Elizabeth Schumacher.

Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

Under Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 CBP to Investigate Allegations of Evasion of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders

On February 24, 2016, President Obama signed into law The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTE).  TFTE is the first major customs law enacted since the Customs Modernization Act, which was enacted in 1993 as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182 (1993).

As to trade enforcement, the law covers three important issues: (1) importer-of-record identification; (2) intellectual property protection; and (3) antidumping and countervailing duty evasion.  This document focuses on evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty orders contained in Title IV of the Act, which is separately titled as the Enforce and Protect Act of 2015.  Title IV sets forth deadlines for Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to investigate allegations of antidumping and countervailing duty evasion.  A timeline for such investigations, prepared by the Office of Regulations & Rulings (OR&R) is available here

The law requires CBP to make its determinations based upon substantial evidence as to whether the subject merchandise entered the United States through evasion.  CBP is to use techniques, more familiar to the U.S. International Trade Commissions and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in antidumping and countervailing investigations, of issuing questionnaires, conducting verifications and utilizing adverse inferences.

If CBP makes a determination of evasion, CBP shall: (1) suspend the liquidation of unliquidated entries of merchandise subject to the determination and that enter on or after the date of the initiation of the investigation; (2) extend the period for liquidating unliquidated entries of merchandise covered by its determination and that entered before the date of initiation; (3) notify the DOC of the determination and request that the DOC identify the applicable antidumping/ countervailing duty rates: and (4) require the posting of cash deposits and assess duties on the involved entries.

The person affected by CBP’s determination may file an administrative appeal to CBP within 30 days, which must be decided de novo within 60 days.  The appeal decision is subject to judicial review at the U.S. Court of International Trade (USCIT).  The standard of review at the USITC is whether the determination, finding or conclusion is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.

During his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on May 11, CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said that CBP will generally take a tougher enforcement stance on U.S. trade laws than in the past, including through aggressive use of the Enforce and Protect Act of 2015 to fight trade remedy duty evasion.  He also said that CBP would issue an interim final regulation for implementing the new law’s duty evasion provisions within the statutory deadline of 180 days, which would occur in late August.

If you would like further information on this aspect of TFTE, please do not hesitate to contact Evelyn Suarez via the Contact form or at