Trans-Atlantic trade war alert

10/28/2022 10:06 AM EDT

Updated 10/31/2022 12:05 PM EDT

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Moscow hearts Elon: Twitter’s new owner will need to be careful about the company he keeps. Putin shill Dmitry Medvedev is already cozying up.

BRAZIL ELECTION — LULA RETAINS HIS LEAD: Leading pollsters don’t agree on whether Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva‘s lead over President Jair Bolsonaro is widening or shrinking. But Lula is up by at least 4 points in the final polls before Brazilians vote on Sunday.

TRADE WAR RISK

SCHOLZ AND MACRON UNITE TO READY FOR FIGHT WITH WASHINGTON: After publicly falling out in recent weeks, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have found something they agree on: unfair competition from the U.S.

If Washington doesn’t scale back the Buy American provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, they are threatening to retaliate — meaning a trans-Atlantic trade war.

The continental European angst around Biden’s agenda provides a tactical opportunity for the new British prime minister.

Rishi Sunak could now position himself as the calm amid Europe’s trade storm — but only if he can convince his party to break its addiction to chaos, which has seen it toss out two leaders in the last three months.

What Washington can expect from Sunak: Global Insider takes you on a tour. Spoiler alert: Treasury officials love him, and hardly anyone else has met him.

CANADA WANTS IN ON BIDEN’S INDO-PACIFIC FRAMEWORK: Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly used a visit by her counterpart Antony Blinken to Ottawa to announce Canada will seek membership to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

The framework, commonly called IPEF, is so new and basic the whole thing is described in a 665-word statement. There are now 14 members and four issues to concentrate on, but nothing to suggest it would take months of negotiation to allow Canada to join. So it may have been a surprise for Canadian policymakers to hear Blinken reply that while the U.S. supports Canada’s IPEF friend request, it’s not up to him and Biden who joins the Biden-initiated trade club.

CHINA CORNER 

EUROPE-WIDE NETWORK OF SECRET POLICE BASES: It’s not just two outposts in the Netherlands, mentioned in Wednesday’s Global Insider. There’s a network of at least 54 police stations in Europe, including in London.

PROTESTS IN TIBET: BBC reports on videos of what appear to be large-scale protests by Han Chinese workers in Lhasa city in Tibet, one of the most closely guarded regions of China. The workers are not locals, but appear stuck in the region under China’s strict Covid rules.

In one video, one man says in Mandarin that they “have been locked up for too long. And a lot of people in this community are people who have just come to work and earn money.” Another showed people marching in the streets with the caption “We just want to go home.”

CANADA’S LONG-LOST CHINA PLAN: It’s still lost, but will likely be released in the next two weeks.

ONE GREAT TEXT

Global Insider doesn’t need a special box to share useful information with you. 

This one’s from Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and former President Obama’s NATO ambassador. He messages: “I’ve spent the past two days in Brussels and am now in Berlin — no one there is paying any attention to the U.K. or who is taking over at No 10. Britain (and Brexit) is a non-story. The EU only cares about Ireland/Northern Ireland. It’s quite remarkable.”

MEXICO — SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LEGAL NATIONWIDE: Two of Mexico’s 32 states this week voted to legalize same-sex unions, completing a national patchwork that began when Mexico City approved the unions in 2009. Lawmakers in the border state of Tamaulipas voted Wednesday night, a day after the southern state of Guerrero approved similar legislation

INTERVIEW — TIM SHRIVER, SPECIAL OLYMPICS MOVEMENT

The congressionally mandated National Assessment of Education Progress, better known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” this week described how two years of pandemic education restrictions wiped out two decades of education progress.

But it’s been even worse for children and parents managing learning disabilities.

Tim Shriver, chair of the Special Olympics movement, told Global Insider that the real point of the movement — which has 6 million participants — is not sport, but “an inclusion revolution” including through “basic human dignity in education.”

“Covid set the whole world back, especially learning loss. But we’re determined that in the recovery process, people with intellectual disabilities will not be left out again,” Shriver said, “The question is do we care about all children, or not? And if you don’t care about all children, then own it.”

Did you know? Worldwide, 80 percent of children with intellectual disabilities don’t go to school, contributing to a lifespan that is, on average, 20 years below their peers. “If you have Down syndrome, you’re very unlikely to ever go to school in most of the world. There is no reason in 2022 that any country should exclude a child with Down syndrome from going to school — there’s just no good reason.”

Attitudes not resources are the main barrier: “We don’t have a resource problem when it comes to educating a child with Down Syndrome: We have an attitude problem. I heard this morning from a person who said, look, you know, we’re trying to educate the future engineers and the future doctors. These kinds of people, they don’t care about a child with Down syndrome who is not going to be the future engineer.”

“The fundamental premise of the United Nations is the dignity, the value of all human beings to be self determining individuals. It’s not some, it’s not a few, it’s not those with a certain IQ. It’s all of us, or it doesn’t work.”

What data? Shriver said the absence of good data on intellectual disability is “devastating” because “when we go to ministries of health and education, they typically say ‘we have no idea.’” But there are enough clues for officials to take these issues more seriously: “Let’s say 2 to 3 percent of your population has an intellectual disability: In the U.S. that’s 7 to 10 million people,” Shriver said. In Germany, that’s around 2 million, in China it’s 30 to 42 million.

Allies are few and far between: Shriver said UNICEF and WHO are his movement’s best allies in the U.N. system. At the national level he cites the American, Chinese, German and Irish governments as the most helpful. “But there’s not a single government where we can say ‘we got there,’ and there’s not a single government leader who I know of that’s done enough.”

Action starts at home: “There’s a lot of talk about diversity, equity and inclusion. But does your organization address people with intellectual disabilities? When I say we need to open doors, I don’t mean close them to people of color, or women or LGBTQ or religious minorities: Let’s make sure they’re included. But let’s add people with intellectual disabilities. They deserve a chance, too.”

CLIMATE CORNER 

WAY OFF TARGET: A week out from the COP27 conference kicking off in Egypt, the latest United Nations climate report finds that if every country meets its current climate targets, greenhouse gas emissions will rise by more than 10 percent by 2030 compared to 2010.

To stick with the Paris Agreement, emissions would need to fall by 43 percent by 2030.

That’s a massive gap.

And that’s partly because only 24 governments updated their 2030 climate targets this year, even though every government promised to do so 12 months ago.

There was some progress: The minority of governments who submitted new plans have dragged the expected 2030 emissions total down by 4 percent.

CLIMATE REPARATIONS — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 

Given that we’re getting closer and closer to a doom loop: where the world is simply stuck with extreme weather patterns. And, the countries that did little to contribute to the problem are getting increasingly agitated about lack of support to cope with the problem.

Demands for climate reparations — also known as payments for loss and damage — are moving to the center of this debate. Such reparations are payments to countries to address effects of climate change which they did virtually nothing to cause,

Africa loses between 5 and 15 percent of its GDP each year to the impacts of climate change, according to the African Development Bank Group. Insurer AON pins economic losses from natural disasters so far in 2022 at $227 billion, and a coalition of global NGOSs calculates that close to 200 million people per year are affected.

Is this theory or practice? We’re one year into a three-year U.N. dialogue about it, after major emitters including the U.S. opposed a mechanism for reparations at COP26 in 2021. Advocacy groups sent a letter to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry urging progress on the issue. Kerry told the New Yorker: “We’re embracing the fact that we have to come up with something.”

The players: 

  • Scotland and Denmark have committed around $15 million between them to tackle loss and damage via a global level Pilot Fund.
  • Finance ministers from the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, the V-20, agreed earlier this month to work with the G-20 largest economies to set up a Global Shield Against Climate Risk, a finance and insurance mechanism to address climate risk.
  • The 39-country Alliance of Small Island States is seeking agreement among the nearly 200 countries that are parties to the U.N. climate negotiations.
  • Barbados PM Mia Mottley says the world needs to be honest with itself: “A third of people in Pakistan are homeless” thanks to climate-linked flooding (the homeless number is likely closer to 1 percent). 

BY THE NUMBERS — GLOBAL SOLAR SUPPLY CHAINS SAVED $67 BILLION: A new study published in the journal Nature looks at how green energy transitions would be impacted by protectionist trade policies. The research team estimated that the globalized solar supply chain saved U.S. solar panel buyers $24 billion, out of total global savings of $67 billion.

Without a relatively free flow of solar products, the price of those products would likely have doubled up to 2020. The researchers now estimate that if, for example, the U.S. continues tariffs on Chinese solar panels or reapplies them on panels from other South-East Asian countries, “solar panel prices will be approximately 20 to 25 percent higher in each country by 2030,” than they need to be.

SWEDE DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE: The Swedish government listed its Washington, D.C., ambassador’s residence for $19.5 million on Thursday. The property is more than 12,000 square feet set on 6.7 acres in the American University Park neighborhood. h/t Daniel Lippman

FORMER WORLD BANK STAFFER’S A COMEDY HIT: More than 30 million people have watched 32-year-old comedian He Huang’s set about being “Chinese leftovers” on Australia’s Got Talent.

U.S. PLAN TO PREVENT HARASSMENT IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: The State Department on Wednesday announced six principles federal agencies are expected to apply to prevent sexual harassment in United Nations and other international organizations:

— Zero tolerance — A “survivor-centered” approach
— Institutionalizing prevention measures
— Accountability and transparency
— Meaningful action to support accountability
— Advocating for organization culture change
— Supporting locally-led efforts, particularly those led by women and girls to reduce harassment

MOVES

Andrew Cohen joins the German Marshall Fund as the organization’s first managing editor, from Pew Research Center.

Alice Mogwe of Botswana was reelected as president of the International Federation for Human Rights, which has 188 member organizations on five continents.

CONCORDIA EUROPEAN SUMMIT DATES: The event will be held in Madrid, Spain, on June 15-16, on the themes democracy, security and geopolitical risks.

INTERVIEW: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas thinks Russia is near breaking point, she told POLITICO’s Alex Ward.

PODCAST: The Mediator’s Studio, with Adam Cooper, is a new podcast that goes behind the scenes of peace talks. If that’s your thing, you might also enjoy The Negotiators, hosted by Jenn Williams.

REPORT: The Partnership for Public Service and Guidehouse explain how agencies can change and improve their use of data and evidence in policy-making, in “Building a Data Foundation: The Role of Data and Evidence in Advancing the President’s Management Agenda.”

Thanks to editor Heidi Vogt, Sara Schonhardt, Daniel Lippman and producer Hannah Farrow.

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this report omitted a word in a quote from Tim Shriver. Shriver said, “It’s not some, it’s not a few, it’s not those with a certain IQ.”

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