Lack of Legal Duty to Fill Vacancies on the United States Export-Import Bank’s Board of Directors May Destroy Ex-Im Bank

Sources: Ex-Im Bank; CNN

By Michal Nowicki

Download full note here.

This Note examines whether the President of the United States has a statutory duty to nominate candidates to fill vacancies on the United States Export-Import Bank’s five-person Board of Directors. With only two of the five seats occupied, Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Directors cannot currently approve the financing of large export credit transactions, because at least three board members must be present to establish quorum for conducting official business. As a result, the Bank’s power is severely limited. Although this Note argues that President Trump is not legally obligated to fill Ex-Im Bank board vacancies, it offers an argument the Bank’s supporters can use to persuade President Trump to restore the agency to its full potential.… Read the rest

A Look at IRS’s Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap

By: Byung Kyu Cho

 Background

There are still a number of corporations which have not fully recovered from the economic downturn, which consequently leads to less tax revenue for tax authorities.  As such, some of the tax authorities around the globe have taken steps to counter the effects of the diminishing revenue by increasing a number of tax audits or performing audits in a more aggressive manner.  However, based on the statistics provided by Internal Revenue Source (“IRS”), the IRS does not fall under this category.  While the total number of business tax returns has slightly increased from 9.5 million in 2008 to 9.9 million in 2013, an examination coverage ratio, calculated by dividing the number of examined returns by the total number of returns, marginally reduced from 0.63% to 0.61%.[1]  It is not surprising to see that enforcement revenue collected during this period decreased from $56.4 billion to Read the rest

Crimes Against Humanity, I’m Lovin’ It: Issues in Sponsorship of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Crimes Against Humanity, I’m Lovin’ It: Issues in Sponsorship of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

By: Inessa Goodman

 

While business leaders and CEOs have never shied away from promoting their political agendas and views, the line is sometimes blurred between what is appropriate, and what is not. The recent controversies involving Chik-fila, Barilla, and their public statements against the LGBT community highlight this issue. Recently, a similar issue has surfaced, not involving public statements, but mere funding of an entity that supports questionable social policies. 

What effect does this have on businesses? Should businesses be held more accountable for their social responsibility? Specifically, this article explores this issue in the context of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Current Anti-Gay Legislation in Russia

Homophobia is now engrained in the state policies in Russia. In June 2013, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia signed an “anti-gay propaganda law”. These laws … Read the rest

As Argentina Faces Another Default, Kitchenware a Last Resort

Earlier this month, hundreds of thousands of disgruntled Argentines flooded the streets of Buenos Aires to protest the embattled presidency of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK). [i]. The anti-government demonstrations, dubbed “the Protest of 8N,” were held across the country on November 8th and are estimated to be the country’s largest in a decade.[ii]. With CFK’s approval ratings falling from 64 percent in October 2011 to only 34 percent today, this month’s protests reflect the urgency – and popularity – that now characterizes the opposition movement. [iii]. But with the country’s ears still ringing from 8N’s boisterous cacerolazo (a demonstration technique used in Argentina that involves the banging of pots and pans), we may pause to consider the question – why is Argentina missing out on Latin American growth?

A century ago, Argentina’s future looked as bright as any in Latin America. [iv]. An endless expanse of tillable land, Read the rest

Germany and Patents: All that Glitters isn’t Gold

               On April 2nd, Microsoft decided to move its European distribution center from Germany to the Netherlands. The decision was not the product of distribution logistics. Rather, Microsoft sought to avoid German patent law in advance of a pending April 17th opinion by the German patent courts. German patent law has made the country something of a patent shelter in Europe. Germany provides expedient decisions and easy-to-obtain injunctions that are hard to challenge for defendants. All that sounds fantastic until a corporation or small business is the target of those laws rather than the one benefitting. Furthermore, in these tough economic times, Germany’s patent regime has broad consequences for economic and technological development.

               Currently, two-thirds of all patent claims in Europe are filed in Germany. This fact is not surprising given all the seemingly … Read the rest

United States’ Last Chance to Save Cotton Subsidies?

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), over the past ten years the United States has given about 24 billion dollars worth of cotton subsidies despite the fact that the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that United States cotton subsidies are illegal.1

            The WTO’s dispute over United States cotton subsidies started in 2002 when Brazil brought a lawsuit against the United States. Brazil claimed that the United States failed to comply with its commitments made in both the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, which sought for WTO member nations to reduce agricultural subsidies. In 2004 the WTO found that United States cotton subsidies were inconsistent with WTO commitments and recommended the subsidies be removed in a reasonable amount of time. Specifically, the WTO found payments to cotton producers under the GSM-102 program, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program Read the rest

The Great Firewall of America: Is the United States on the Road to Becoming the Next Internet Villain?

           In the past couple of months, two Congressional bills have been the subject of a heated debate between media industry giants and some of the world’s largest technology companies: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and its Senate counterpart the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). This legislation is meant to provide the Department of Justice and copyright holders with the ability to curb access to “rogue” foreign websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods. Since the U.S. government does not have the power to take down foreign websites, this bill would grant it the ability to forbid Internet providers from allowing users to connect to those sites. While many entertainment and pharmaceutical companies are in support of these bipartisan bills, digitally oriented companies such as Google, Facebook, and Mozilla have publicly voiced their opposition. Although the problems the bill attempts to address – Read the rest

Anger Across the Atlantic: Flying to Europe May Be More Expensive Than Ever

                How many times have you heard a friend or a coworker lament their dream of visiting Paris or London be deferred by the expense of a transatlantic flight? Well, get ready to hear a whole lot more lamenting! Earlier this fall, the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Judge Advocate General, Juliane Kokott issued an opinion that the EU’s decision to extend its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) does not offend other nation’s sovereignty or international aviation agreements.[1] Her opinion is a hard pill to swallow for international actors like America and China who stand to be hit by fines. International actors can then either pass the cost of the fines onto their customers or alter their operations to meet the requirements and pass that cast on. That doesn’t sound very non-threatening to sovereignty, does it?

                The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS),Read the rest

Undervalued Renminbi: Illegal or Inefficient?

The Chinese exchange rate has been the subject of recent complaints, but these are not new complaints. Early in 2000, Nicholas R. Lardy, the senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, alleged that the Renminbi (Chinese currency) was undervalued by about 40% based on China’s GDP.  From 2005 to 2008, as China’s GDP increased, the value of the Renminbi increased in relation to the dollar by about 20%, from about 8.27 Renminbi to the dollar to about 6.83 Renminbi to the dollar.  However, the Chinese exchange rate has recently been a pretty hot issue again worldwide, and China is facing huge pressure, especially from the U.S to take action so that the Renminbi is properly valued.  On September, 29 2010 President Barack Obama said that “China’s currency is undervalued, resulting in a trade advantage for Chinese goods over American goods that contributes to the U.S. trade deficit.” Read the rest

Shipping Jobs to India: Democratic Foe and Republican Ally?

Democrats are notorious for criticizing Republicans’ support of worldwide American companies who “outsource” (i.e., move operations and workers) to nations like India. While Democrats’ opposition to outsourcing was initially meant to incite sympathy and support from voters on “Main Street”, it has begun to alienate wealthy and influential Indian-American voters, most of whom were previously supporters of Democratic candidates.

Shipping jobs to India has long been a rival issue between Democrats and Republicans. However, Elizabeth Williamson’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “Outsource Attack Ads Alienate Voters Tied to India” provides a new spin to the decade old party battle. According to the article, USINPAC, the chief Indian-American lobbying group who have long funded the Democratic Party, is now contributing money to Republicans to defeat Democratic candidates who criticize so-called outsourcing.

 One example of Indian-Americans’ new push for the Republican Party is John Kasich, the GOP challenger to Ohio … Read the rest