Driving the Day: 3/15/12
US, South Korea Trade Deal Goes Into Effect – The Hill
Starting Thursday, a new free trade accord between the United States and South Korea goes into effect. The agreement immediately eliminates thousands of tariffs and adds new protections for American businesses. Passed in Congress in October, the agreement means that 80% of U.S. exports of industrial products to Korea will become duty free and duties on nearly two-thirds of U.S. agricultural products will be eliminated. Also part of the agreement are strengthened protections for intellectual property rights and commitments opening up Korea’s $580 billion services market, among other non-tariff measures. The deal, which was has been in the works for several years, will support job growth and increased exports to Korea.
While many people are applauding Congress for working to accomplish things in the midst of election-year partisanship, the tech community and consumer-protection advocates are watching the Senate closely as it focuses on legislation that would loosen regulations on small companies and startups. The House bill, which passed through easily on a 390-23 vote last week, is a collection of six measures, each reducing regulation on an aspect of a small business or emerging company. The Senate is expected to add provisions to the House bill, including one to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
A new study from the Heritage Foundation finds that President Obama is the most pro-regulation president the United States has ever had. Over the year that followed Obama’s State of the Union declaration that “when we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them,” he enacted 32 new “major” regulations – rules that carry an estimated price tag of $100 million or more. Since 2009, 106 new “major” regulations have been enacted, costing an estimated $46 billion, plus $11 billion more in implementation costs. The greatest number of new regulations issued last year sprang from the overhaul of the financial services known as “Dodd-Frank,” while the most expensive new regulations stemmed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s four new regulations.
Boosting the Economy Through Natural Gas Exports – The Washington Post
The United States produced more than 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011, surpassing Russia as the world's largest gas producer. This has lowered electricity rates and the cost of manufacturing, as well as helped create jobs. The Washington Post says that these benefits of expanded exports, among others, outweigh predicted costs that are neither inevitable nor dramatic. With so much production, the gas industry is preparing to export, which could lessen the U.S. trade deficit, meaning the United States would need to borrow less from its Asian trading partners. Foreign demand for natural gas also gives U.S. companies incentive to keep producing, which can grow companies and create jobs.
To Boost U.S. Job Growth, Loosen Securities Regulation – Jeffrey Solomon via Forbes
In a guest Forbes post, Jeffrey Solomon, CEO of Cowen Co. and a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, says that with a complex and costly regulatory environment in the United States over the past decade, America's IPO activity has declined. From the mid-1990s to 2011, there was a 74% drop in the number of U.S. healthcare and technology IPOs. Some 90% of job creation occurs after a company goes public, and because of the decline in IPO activity, it has been challenging to create the significant number of U.S. jobs needed. To retain its competitive advantage, says Solomon, the United States must amend its regulatory environment to help companies grow and go public.
In other news…
Highway Bill Now Over to John Boehner – POLITICO
When It Comes to Jobs, We Still Have Work to Do – Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) via The Hill
An Economy Poised Between Flight and Fright – The Wall Street Journal
Facebook Ads Have Big Fans Among Small Businesses – FOX Business
Cloud Computing: Are Small Businesses Embracing The Technology? – Business Insider
A Groupon Alternative Aims to Offer Small Businesses a Better Deal – The New York Times