Stories to watch in 2020 (other than the US election)

Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent for Politico, answers your most burning questions on US Politics!

What major bills passed the House in 2019 but stalled in the Senate?

Well, Nancy Pelosi has a long list, but she's cited a background check bill, a paycheck fairness bill, a climate action bill, an immigration bill as some of the major ones that got through the House but died in the Senate.


What is trade between the US, Mexico and Canada going to look like after USMCA.

Well, it'll look a lot like it did under NAFTA. But in fact, there's some estimates that it might slow trade down just a little bit because there are new restrictions on labor, particularly on the Mexican side. So, some estimates say it might slow trade by just a tiny bit. But it'll be very similar to what it was under NAFTA.

What is the biggest story in 2020 other than the election?

I'd say it's the economy, where the economy goes. Do the trade deals and the Phase 1 agreement with China really boost economic growth? Is there more capital expenditure? Does manufacturing get back on track? That'll play out in the election, but it's a big story. The Fed is on the sidelines. So, what does the economy do in 2020? I'll be watching that.

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As the coronavirus pandemic has plunged much of the world economy into turmoil, you've probably heard a lot about what might happen to "supply chains," the vast networks of manufacturing and shipping that help create and deliver all those plastic toys, iPhones, cars, pills, pants, yogurt, and N95 face-masks you've been waiting on.

The future of global supply chains is an especially important question for China, the world's manufacturing powerhouse. Some countries and companies now worry about relying too much on any single supplier for consumer and medical goods, let alone one where the government hid the first evidence of what became a global pandemic and sometimes enforces trade and investment rules in seemingly arbitrary ways. The US-China trade war — and the vulnerabilities it reveals for manufacturers — certainly don't help.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Got through the Fourth of July. Pretty rough one for 2020 here in the United States. Still in the thick of it as we see caseload exploding in the United States. But really, the virus is all about developing markets right now. Poor countries around the world very soon, with the exception of the US and the UK, all of the top 10 countries around the world in terms of coronavirus caseload will be poorer countries. Let's keep in mind, these are countries that test a lot less, which means the actual numbers, in the United States the experts are saying probable likelihood of total cases is about 10x what we've actually seen in the US, in emerging markets and most of them, it's more like between 20 and 100. In other words, this is really where the virus now is.

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Many countries around the world — mostly democracies in the Americas, Asia, and Europe — have condemned China's recent move to implement a draconian new security law for Hong Kong that in effect ends the autonomy granted to the territory when it reverted from British control to Chinese rule in 1997. However, last week 52 countries expressed support for China's decision at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Most of these countries either owe China a lot of money or are relatively authoritarian regimes themselves — but not all of them. Here's a look at the China-debt exposure and freedom rankings of the countries that took Beijing's side on the new Hong Kong law.

0: The trial in the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi opened in a Turkish court on Friday, but 0 of the 20 Saudi agents accused of the gruesome murder were actually in the courtroom. Saudi Arabia says its own closed-door trial over the slaying was sufficient, and has so far refused to extradite the suspects to Turkey, where Khashoggi was killed.

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