On paper, big, ambitious free-trade deals are the best kind. The more countries that agree to open their markets, the greater the benefits to consumers. But there’s a catch: If big trade deals try to include too many countries or take on too many issues, the negotiations can collapse under the weight of thousands of pages of details.
U.S. President Barack Obama has scheduled a summit later this month with leaders from Southeast Asia, a region that is the fourth-biggest market for American goods and one that Obama has targeted for increased trade.
Emerging Southeast Asian nations need to pour $300 billion into transport links to help ease freight bottlenecks. That just got harder as the prospect of reduced Federal Reserve monetary stimulus pushes up borrowing costs.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cheered her husband’s nominating speech for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention from 10,000 miles away, in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of East Timor.