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Annie Gugliotta

What do the Americas want from America?

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden travels to Los Angeles to host the sixth Summit of the Americas, a gathering of leaders from, well, the Americas. But so far the event has gotten more chatter about who isn’t showing up, the light agenda, and doubts over whether it’ll accomplish anything after decades of US neglect and mutual mistrust.

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Taiwan and US flags are placed for a meeting in Taipei.

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

What We’re Watching: Trading with Taiwan, Türkiye talk, battered Boric

Washington & Taipei launch new trade deal

The US and Taiwan just unveiled a new trade initiative to expand cooperation across a number of sectors, including agriculture, tech, and labor regulation, among others. Taipei sees the pact as a precursor to an eventual free trade deal. For Washington, this is the latest initiative to come from its strong Asia focus in recent weeks. Just days ago, President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Regional Framework, a trade deal with 13 states – including regional heavyweights India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and some Pacific islands – in a bid to counter China’s regional clout. (Taiwan was not invited to that deal to avoid really irking Beijing.) The US wants to address technology trade with Taiwan, specifically semiconductor production. The self-governing island produces more than 90% of the world’s semiconductors, which power the device you’re reading this on and have been in short supply thanks to the pandemic’s distribution and production disruptions. Washington would love to help prop up Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to block China from getting a bigger piece of the global tech pie. Beijing, obviously not thrilled, called on Washington to “stop elevating relations with Taiwan,” which it sees as part of the mainland.

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Joe Biden speaks during a joint news conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk-youl in Seoul.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In Asia to fix imbalance, Biden talks both guns and butter

In his first presidential trip to Asia, where he is visiting South Korea and Japan as well as huddling with Quad partners, Joe Biden isn’t expected to sign any major trade deals or defense agreements. But America’s commander-in-chief is going to be in China’s neighborhood, shoring up new and old alliances in the region, reminding Beijing that checking the PRC is very much on Washington’s agenda, despite the administration’s attention being taken up by domestic politics and the war in Ukraine.

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A Belarusian soldier during a shooting exercise.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: War spillovers, Biden bolstering allies, Modi’s free-trade rethink, Russian defection

Ukraine war spillover

As President Joe Biden meets with EU and NATO leaders this week, they’ll be talking about how best to prevent the war in Ukraine from spilling across borders. But Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will have much to say about that, particularly as he tries to punish Ukraine’s Western backers for making the Russian military’s job in Ukraine much tougher and for waging war on Russia’s economy via sanctions. On Wednesday, Putin announced that “unfriendly countries” that want to buy Russian natural gas must pay for it in rubles. That would force Europeans hungry for Russian energy to boost Russia’s sagging currency, which would help Putin finance his war in Ukraine. There is already much behind-the-scenes discussion in Europe on how to avoid that problem.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Land borders crucial to trade

Hundreds of Canadian truckers angry about vaccine mandates have paralyzed Ottawa, the capital, for more than a week. They’ve blocked roads, honked their horns, and called for Trudeau’s resignation. Now, they have obstructed access to the Ambassador Bridge — a crucial artery connecting Detroit, Michigan, to Windsor, Ontario, that accommodates the transfer of more than a quarter of US-Canada annual trade worth a whopping $137 billion. Here’s a look of how this route compares with a few other major land trade routes.

Think Buying American Will Help Ease Inflation? Larry Summers Says It Won’t | GZERO World

Think buying American will help ease inflation? Larry Summers says it won’t

Many Americans believe the best way to fight rising prices is to purchase US-made goods, in theory, less affected by COVID-fueled disruptions to global supply chains.

For former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, they're wrong.

"I think the right thing to do is to buy cheap and buy inexpensive."

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Climate change trade wars

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is almost done and dusted, with some ambitious commitments and breakthroughs from governments and corporations to more aggressively tackle the climate disaster. Yet, though there seems to be broad agreement on what needs to be done to stop the planet getting hotter — like getting to Net Zero emissions over the next few decades — big disagreements remain on how to pull it off.

As countries try to turn jobs green while also boosting exports to keep foreign cash flowing in, reliance on protectionist economic policies is becoming an increasing point of friction between governments. Here are two juicy examples where this dynamic is playing out.

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Can President Biden Convince the Average Joe that Foreign Policy Matters? | GZERO World

Can President Biden convince the average Joe that foreign policy matters?

President Biden may have convinced American allies that the US is back, but will It be difficult for him to convince his fellow Americans that engaging in the world is vital to protect interests at home? Former US ambassador Ivo Daalder believes that the COVID crisis has shown Americans that global problems can become local problems quickly. According to a Chicago Council poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that it is important for the US to play an active role in global affairs. Being involved is "no longer a luxury," Daalder told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. "That's why a foreign policy for the middle-class is actually a pretty good slogan when you think about it, because it's trying to sell engagement, solving problems together with your friends and partners around the world, as a means to helping you achieve what you want every day - which is to have a good job that pays enough to take care of your family."

Watch the GZERO World episode: Has Biden convinced the G7 "America is back"?

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