Internet platform providers rely upon developers of applications to populate their application stores.  Some platform providers mandate app developers to use the platform’s in-app purchasing system as a condition to sell the apps on the platform.  There have also been commission charges as high as 30% imposed on digital goods or services sold through their stores.  The temptation to use their enormous leverage to gain further economic advantage is understandable, but governments, not to mention app developers, have taken an increasingly dim view of this behavior.  A number of countries are considering legislation to prohibit such mandates by Internet platform providers.  A leading example is the Republic of Korea, where its legislature has just voted to enact such a prohibition.

Continue Reading Legislatures Can Free App Developers from Platform Providers’ Mandates to Use Their In-App Purchasing Systems Without Violating WTO Principles

On Monday, August 14, President Trump signed an executive memorandum directing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider a “Section 301” investigation against China. Now, many of us have heard the phrase Section 301 investigation and, as we do when we are at a party where everyone is talking about that movie we haven’t seen, many of us just nod along. For those of our readers putting on the brave smile, we present bit of background here on the following:

  • What Section 301 is;
  • How an investigations and further trade actions may proceed; and
  • What businesses should be most concerned.


Continue Reading Section 301: The Trade Law You May Not Know Well that Could Shock Industries

President Trump has stated that he would impose tariffs on imports from China ranging from ten to forty-five percent. Can he do it? And will it cause a trade war?

The Effects of Increased Tariffs

In the 18th Century, tariffs were considered a method of generating revenue and protecting domestic industry. The first U.S. customs duties were imposed in 1789, and were considered vital to the economic survival of the young nation. That mercantilist approach has since been overwhelmingly rejected by mainstream economists. Even by the time of the American Revolution, specialization and comparative advantage were being touted (including by Adam Smith, whose Wealth of Nations was published in 1776) as the true route to national prosperity.


Continue Reading Predicting the Unpredictable: Will Tariffs Under President Trump Cause a Trade War With China?