You are invited: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Rules for a New Era

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The Program on America and the Global Economy, the Asia Program, the Canada Institute, the Kissinger Institute, the Latin American Program and the Mexico Institute with the support of Wilson Center Senior Scholar William Krist Present:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Rules for a New Era 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2:00 – 5:00 pm

Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center


WELCOME and KEYNOTE:

2:00 pm – 2:40 pm

Robert Zoellick, Harvard Belfer Center and  Peterson Institute for International Economics; former president of the World Bank, former United States Deputy Secretary of State and former U.S. Trade Representative

PANEL 1: How the TPP fits into other regional trade agreements.

2:50 pm – 3:50 pm

NAFTA, FTA between Canada and the EU:

  Ari Van Assche, Professor, International Business, HEC Montreal

TTIP:            Michael Geary, Fellow, Wilson Center and Assistant Professor, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

ASEAN:        Roberto Herrera-Lim, Director, Eurasia Group

PANEL 2: Current countries involved in the TPP and what it will take for a successful negotiation.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Australia: Joshua Meltzer, Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution

Vietnam:  Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong, Ambassador of Vietnam to the United States

Chile:       Marcos Robledo, Professor of International Relations and Foreign Policy, Universidad Diego Portales

Moderator:  Kent Hughes, Director, Program on America and the Global Economy, Wilson Center


 

Please RSVP (acceptances only) to page@wilsoncenter.org

The Wilson Center is located in the Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. (Federal Triangle Metro stop on the Blue/ Orange Line) For a map and directions see: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions.  Please bring a photo ID and arrive 15 minutes ahead to allow time for the security checkpoint. 

Media guests, including TV crews, are welcome and should RSVP directly to elizabeth.white@wilsoncenter.org

Graduation Rates: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

graduationOne of the main goals President Barack Obama laid out during his first term was to return America to its previously held position as the country with the highest number of college graduates per capita by 2020. This American Graduation Initiative (AGI) requires increasing the percentage of college graduates in the US workforce by 50% by the end of the decade. In order for the AGI to be accomplished, the number of college graduates would have to increase by an annual 16% every year from 2010-2020. However, the problem in reaching this goal may be rooted in low graduation rates, rather than low enrollment numbers.

America2020 is a private sector approach to the same problem, focusing specifically on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates. Their plan is to encourage STEM degree completion by committing industry professionals to volunteer their time mentoring and teaching students in these fields. There will be an estimated 10 million STEM job openings by the year 2020, and OECD data reports that US students tend to have a low interest in science. This approach has already seen significant improvements in graduation rates with the schools involved and those students who have participated in the program are far better prepared for college.  Citizen Schools, one of the major forces behind the America2020 initiative, along with representatives from the White House and several big-name companies recently convened here at the Wilson Center to discuss details of its implementation and how they could be involved.

The American Dream 2.0 is an initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that, “offers a comprehensive framework for how the hundreds of billions invested in the financial aid system can increase college access, affordability, and completion”. According to the Foundation’s findings, 46% of students enrolled in higher education institutions fail to graduate within six years. This rate increases to 63% for African Americans and 57% for Hispanics. In addition, total annual borrowing for college has more than doubled in the past ten years, as tuition rises faster than family income or inflation. These statistics are worrying, because those who borrow money for school but end up dropping-out without earning a degree have higher unemployment rates than those who graduate.

Good news comes from high school completion rates, which reached a record high in 2010 at 78.6%. While this is certainly heartening, fewer than half of those in the class of 2012 were ‘college ready’ as determined by the College Board last fall. In order to meet the challenges of President Obama’s AGI, education policymakers need to focus not only on college enrollment rates, but also on access, affordability, completion rates, and high school rigor. Although in the current fiscal climate, large scale investments in education may be harder and harder to implement, the effects of education investment on the productivity and success of our nation’s young people are immeasurably important.

By: Ben Copper

Sources: Huffington Post, PR Newswire, White House records, EducationSector.org, Citizenschools.org

Photo Credit: flickr user: Smithsonian Institution

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The Program on America and the Global Economy Presents a Discussion:

Supply & Safety: Monitoring Imported Food

Tuesday, Feb. 5th, 2013

9:30 – 11:00 am

5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Panelists:

Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Ted Poplawski, Special Assistant to the Director on Import Operations and Policy, FDA

Carmen Stacy, Director, Global Issues & Multilateral Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association

Les Glick, Partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, Washington, D.C.

Moderator:

Kent Hughes, Director, Program on America and the Global Economy

According to the USDA, about 15% of all food eaten by Americans is imported. With the growing globalization of our nation’s food supply, imported food safety has become an increasing national concern.  This event will discuss concerns about food imports and the responsibilities of food importers and regulators for the safety of food products grown outside of the United States and their impact on the demand for certain imported products, international food trade patterns, and foreign access to U.S. markets.

Light refreshments and coffee will be provided.

Please RSVP acceptances only to page@wilsoncenter.org

For a map and directions see: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions

Please bring photo ID and arrive 15 minutes ahead to allow time for the security checkpoint.

Media guests, including TV crews, are welcome and should RSVP directly to elizabeth.white@wilsoncenter.org

*Media bringing heavy electronic equipment – such as video cameras – MUST indicate this in their response, so they may be cleared through our building security and allowed entrance. Failure to indicate your intention to bring video cameras 24 hours before the event may result in being denied access to the Wilson Center building, please err toward responding if you would like to attend.

Is Having the Right Skills Enough to Get Hired in Post-Recession America?

skills gapOne of the most common explanations for the persistent high unemployment in America since the 2007 recession is the skills gap. An Accenture report estimates that, “about a third of employers worldwide are experiencing critical challenges filling positions due to a lack of available talent, and almost three-fourths of employers are affected by talent shortages to some degree”.  Technology and globalization processes have increased the demand for talented and high-skilled workers, and many say that the nation’s education institutions have not risen to meet the challenge effectively.

The Brookings Institute issued a report that includes eleven “new learning skills in the 21st century” that are crucial for our students. These include: simulation, multitasking, and distributed cognition (effectively utilizing tools that enhance mental capacity). Meanwhile, the Center for 21st Century Skills advocates six different skills: information literacy, creativity & innovation, collaboration, problem solving, communication, and responsible citizenship. Proponents of the skills gap view see unemployment as structural, a product of supply falling behind demand in the skilled labor market. A recent Wilson Center publication by Paul Vallas argues that the skills gap “poses a major threat to the United States’ long-term economic competitiveness”. The American education system is falling further behind the performance of other countries, and addressing the “massive achievement gap present within the U.S. between minority and socio-economically disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers” should be a national priority.

However, many disagree with this assessment of a skills gap as the main cause of high US unemployment, and propose a demand-side rebuttal that focuses on the drop in real household wealth associated with the recent recession. This has decreased household demand nationwide and thus crippled job growth. Research done by the Economic Policy Institute  argues that persistent unemployment at all levels of education, and in most major sectors of the economy indicates that the current high rates of unemployment are caused by more than just a skills gap. They also attribute the rise in educated labor as a percentage of the total labor force to the rapid growth in sectors that demand high-skilled labor. Other research  at the Economic Policy Institute points to record corporate profits in the past year, saying that businesses learned during the recession how to make money with lower labor costs, and now don’t need to hire as many people to make higher rates of profit. Some of this can be explained by the fact that traditionally labor intensive industries have been the hardest hit by the recession, while high-tech companies with lower labor demands have seen the most growth.

To create policy that will improve the state of the economy, it is important to understand the causal linkages for the unemployment problem in America. . For example, structural unemployment cannot be solved with demand-side economics such as stimulus packages. On the other side, education initiatives and on the job training is the answer to a skills gap.

Posted by: Ben Copper

Sources: Accenture, Brookings Institute, Economic Policy Institute, CNNMoney, Commerce Department

Photo Credit: flickr user, Dita Margarita

Making a Success of Every School

The Wilson Center and the Program on America and the Global Economy are proud to share a recently released publication on U.S. education reform:

Paul Vallas, distinguished scholar and noted education reformer, identifies the main challenges facing U.S. education in the 21st century.  He notes that US performance on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks American 15 year olds as 17th in science and 25th in mathematics.  Vallas and others stress that American schools have not declined.  Rather it is a case of technology, a changing job market, and rising international competition demanding much more of America’s educational system.  Attracting and retaining top teachers is vitally important, but Vallas stresses that one cannot neglect early childhood education, school improvement-focused state and district governance, and a 21st century curriculum.

Click here to access the full report