Global Economy, Money & Finance, Government Finance
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 is small and imperfect, but the fact that there is a deal at all in such a deeply divided Congress is progress. The two-year framework would result in approximately $23 billion in net deficit reduction over 10 years. It contains $85 billion in savings through spending cuts and new revenue.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Risk & Compliance, Legal, Intellectual Property, Patents, Patent Protection
Intellectual property is the driving force and number one asset of every manufacturing company. It’s why Coke locks its secret recipe in a vault. Why Apple and Samsung pursue multiyear, multimillion-dollar litigation.
The Eurozone faces a period of low prices, languishing real (inflation-adjusted) wages, suppressed consumption, and barely growing fixed investment in the years to come. Forecasts put Eurozone GDP growth at about 1 percent in 2014, and manufacturing output is set to expand close to 2 percent. The region suffers from an overreliance on external demand for generating income. The private sector is income-constrained and will struggle to provide a boost. Banks are shoring up balance sheets following failures of some large and small institutions. As a result, the current efforts led by the European Central Bank to improve capital adequacy are crowding out private sector lending. The Eurozone is stuck with an export growth strategy that combined with weak domestic demand means GDP projections probably overstate both the length and strength of recovery.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is the most extensive trade deal ever signed by Canada, and could be a template for the TTIP between the EU and the United States. The agreement will abolish most tariffs on merchandise trade between the largest consumer market in the world and tiny Canada, but it will also have far-reaching implications for investment, service trade, labor markets and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Global Economy, Economic Environment, Energy, Money & Finance, Government Finance
Once typified by the ribbons of new asphalt that completed the interstate highway system, transportation infrastructure in the United States now bears the sorry image of falling bridges and endless traffic jams. A breakdown in the federal financing mechanisms for highway construction explains this state of affairs. The three factors contributing to the weakening of the Highway Trust Fund are declining demand for gasoline, rising costs for new construction, and resistance to raising federal gas taxes.
Global Economy, Economic Environment, Labor, Money & Finance, GDP
The global spotlight has been on the troubled Indian economy in recent weeks as investors fear that a plunge in the rupee will evolve into a destabilizing financial and economic crisis. The current turmoil is partially a function of broad emerging market difficulties but also very much reflects unique growing problems brought about by an inefficient regulatory regime, a shortage of skilled labor, widening fiscal and current account deficits, and poor economic governance. Nonetheless, while the moment is indeed troubling for India, U.S. manufacturers need not worry about a repeat of the severe 1991 balance of payments crisis. External debt is much lower than during that year and foreign exchange revenues are able to cover short-term obligations. Indian policymakers, however, do have to heed current distress signals and take action. Otherwise, this large and globally important country faces a bleak future.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act protecting whistleblowers from employer retaliation does not cover individuals who communicate possible securities law violations only within their company, not to the SEC. The court noted that the definition of “whistleblower” in the statute expressly requires such individuals to provide information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the commission. The court declined to accept a reading of the statute that would extend whistleblower protection to individuals who make the kinds of disclosures about securities laws violations mentioned in another provision of the statute, irrespective of whether they provide information to the SEC.
Finance, Tax, International Tax, International Tax Rules & Regulations, International Tax Policy, Tax Policy, Tax Reform, U.S. Tax, Federal Tax Rules & Regulations, U.S. Tax Policy
The OECD, at the request of the G20, is working on an international tax reform project, one that could have widespread impact on multinational manufacturers and even U.S. corporate tax laws and related treaties. The impetus for the plan to eliminate base erosion and profit shifting arose from the perception that countries are losing revenue as a result of comprehensive tax planning. The project’s success will rely on international cooperation, particularly since it will be up to each participating country to modify its tax laws and treaties, an ambitious goal given the 24-month time frame.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Leadership, Human Resources, Employee Relations, Risk & Compliance, Legal, Labor & Employment Practices
Are the off-duty sexual activities of your employees part of your enterprise risk analysis? If not, they probably should be. Sex is a big business and its illicit progeny—sex slavery and human trafficking—are rapidly growing as well. One strategy to stop these atrocities is to dry up the customer base, which governments are attempting to accomplish by holding companies legally and financially accountable for employees' sexual activities.