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REWIND: International Business News #43

Posted on November 9th, 2012 | Author: admin

  • We at the NMM Business Without Borders blawg have been keeping you up to speed Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.  In this case, 12 Nigerian nationals brought suit in United States courts against three European oil companies for allegedly aiding the Nigerian military in killing and torturing civilians who protested oil exploration in Nigeria.  The point of law at issue is whether the Alien Tort Act allows foreign plaintiffs to bring suit against U.S. corporations for human rights violations.  Court watchers are wondering whether this case might be used to answer a broader issue: whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction to hear human rights cases when the alleged abuses occurred outside the States.  The pundits may be correct on this, as the Court has asked the parties to file additional briefs on this point and appear for re-argument.  This case could have broad implications for how U.S. businesses conduct themselves overseas, especially in areas of political strife.
  • The international business community is eagerly trying to determine exactly how President Obama’s re-election is going to impact the trade and regulatory environment in the next four years.  The presidential election saw a lot of tough talk on U.S./China trade relations, with both candidates promising tougher policies regarding China, especially in the area of currency manipulation.  However, President Obama’s re-election portends the continuation of his trade policies toward China and continued positivity in U.S./China relations.  Ever approving of market certainty, Asian markets were up sharply on news of the U.S. election results.  Chinese business watchers expect continued moderation in U.S./China trade policy.
  • A strong U.S. trade infrastructure is clearly essential for businesses selling from and selling into US markets.  Last week, “Superstorm Sandy” disrupted U.S. shipping, and hindered import/export activity during the crucial pre-holiday season. Experts agree that Hurricane Sandy has exposed infrastructure neglect, especially on the Eastern Seaboard.   Meanwhile, a World Economic Forum Report puts U.S. 7th in competitive capability, and 32nd in electrical and telecommunications infrastructure.