Bideneyesup sanctions


Former president Donald Trump’s sanctions against US adversaries will not see a wholesale reversal— nor major changes in the short- term—under the Biden govern- ment, experts warn. But new sanc- tions are expected to target indi- viduals and entities, rather than entire sectors as under the previ- ous administration. The government is also tipped to

tackle shortcomings in previous relief programmes which were not sufficiently feasible for investors and banks, wary of lingering sanc- tions risks, to confidently re-engage with the target market. Since taking office two months

ago, president Biden has refused to lift sanctions against Iran to revive negotiations on the nuclear deal and has not removed Mr Trump’s controversial measures against the International Criminal Court. This has raised eyebrows among those who expected him to diverge from his predecessor who, according to lawfirm Gibson Dunn, imposed sanctions at nearly twice the rate of presidents Obama and Bush. Foreign policy specialists are

confident Mr Biden will tread a different path, but also warn that he is unlikely to fully unwind campaigns already in place, and certainly not in the short term. “I do expect to see some changes to vari- ous sanctions programmes [but] I don’t expect wholesale changes. In most cases they aren’t going to roll- back sanctions in a massive way,” says John Hughes, an adjunct senior fellowat the Center for a New American Security. “It is more about aligning the current sanctions with policy… and the messaging and the sequencing, than a desire to neces- sarily use them less.” In contrast to Mr Trump, who

drew criticism for weaponising sanc- tions, the new president is expected to use them in coordination with allies, and within his broader diplo-

50 Biden’s santctions playbook: no rollbacks

matic tool kit. “The Biden team has already talked about the role of values in US foreign policy,” says Matt Oresman, a public policy part- ner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. “They will ramp up that values and principles side of US foreign policy, along with [using] sanctions themselves.” Mr Biden is expected to return

the tool to its intended use of chang- ing behaviour, and in a way that minimises spillover effects on humanitarian issues and everyday people. “It is more likely moving forward that you will see sanctions that are much more targeted at human rights [and] corruption, and less of these sectoral or economic sanctions,” says Mr Hughes, a former deputy director of the US Office of Sanctions Policy and Implementation. This tactic is already apparent in

Mr Biden’s sanction designations to date, which penalise Chinese offi- cials over oppression in Hong Kong, Russian authorities over the poison- ing and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and Myanmar coup leaders.■ DANIELLEMYLES

Biden’s $2tn bet on infrastructure

US President Joe Biden has set out a plan to spend $2tn on infrastructure and create jobs, following the passing of his $1.9tn stimulus package. In a statement from the White

House, the plan to “reimagine and rebuild a new economy” lists transportation infrastructure, digitalisation, job creation, energy supply, R&D, electric cars and climate resilience as its key targets. “The American Jobs Plan will

invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race,” it reads, as the Biden administration moves to modernise the country and shore up its competitiveness. The plan has nonetheless been

met with opposition from Republicans. Mississippi senator Tate Reeves called the infrastructure plan a “tax hike”, saying infrastructure is “something the [federal, state and local government] should spend more of our resources on but we don’t have to hike taxes by $2tn to do it.”■ SETHO’FARRELL

Chile’sgreen energyplans CHILE

Chilepowered ahead tobecome the leadingLatinAmerican coun- try for foreigninvestment into renewable energy in 2020, as the nation’s firmcommitment to the green transitionentices investors. Last year, the renewable energy

sector accounted for the highest share (41.6%) of total foreign direct invest- ment (FDI) projects in Chile on record, according to data from greenfield investmentmonitor fDi Markets. The country ranked first in Latin

America for renewable energy invest- ment for the first time since 2015, withforeign investors announcing a total of 32 projects. Although Brazil very closely followed Chile in second place, it only held a 14%market share, withMexico holding just 4%. In the same year, the sector held a 10.3% market share at the regional level. JEANDUGGAN April/May 2021



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