DINNER PARTY INTEL: Covfefe Act | Courting Somalia | Stealthy trade barriers
Topics to impress this week
1. Silly name; real issue
The term "covfefe" took the world by storm and now a US congressman has waded in. Illinois democrat Mike Quigley has introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act, or Covfefe Act, to require the preservation of a president’s social media records. The act would broaden the scope of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 by including the term "social media" as documentary material. He has used guidance from the national archives, which said in 2014 that social media merit historical recording.
2. Courting Somalia
Middle East media report Somalia has turned down a US$80m offer from Saudi Arabia, in exchange for severing ties with Qatar. Why would support from Somalia matter so much? The country has allowed Qatar to use its airspace, after its neighbours cut diplomatic ties and denied Qatar use of their airspace.
Eight countries, led by the Saudis, have now severed relations with Qatar. The tiny but wealthy nation has not (yet) given in to demands to alter its own foreign policy.
3. Stealthy trade barriers
In his first 100 days in office, US President Donald Trump has unleashed a steady — and stealthy — stream of trade barriers that don’t require consultations with congress, according to The Washington Post. Economist Chad Bown writes that, if implemented, the share of US imports covered by trade barriers would nearly double. In addition, barriers to imports of steel and aluminium, especially from China, are already covered by previous barriers. Trump’s new protectionism then, is likely to hit Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.