Treasury Seeks Pre-Crisis Financial Powers

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

Treasury Seeks Pre-Crisis Financial Powers

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin walks through two large green hedges
Photo courtesy of NYTimes

With the past as prologue, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that he would ask Congress to reinstate powers that were used during the 2008 financial crisis to support the economy as the coronavirus threatens to grind business activity in the United States to a halt.  The powers would impact not only the domestic authority of financial authorities like the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, but also the ability to push internationally for coordinated policies.

The story can be found here.

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JIEL/SIEL/Oxford University Press Essay Deadline is February 14

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

JIEL/SIEL/Oxford University Press Essay Deadline is February 14

White text on a navy blue background that reads "that SIEL/JIEL/OUP Prize "

The deadline for the 2019-2020 Essay Prize is 14 February 2020 – please click here for the submission form and further details.

The Society of International Economic Law, the Journal of International Economic Law, and Oxford University Press have jointly established the SIEL/JIEL/OUP Essay Prize to award the best essay submitted on any topic in any field of international economic law.

The competition is open annually to all current undergraduate and graduate students of any university or other tertiary education institution, and those who have graduated from a university or other tertiary education institution no earlier than five years before the submission deadline (this can include five years from PhD graduation). Co-authorship is permitted provided all authors meet the stated conditions. Members of the SIEL Executive Council may not submit entries. The essay must not have been previously published. Submissions shall not exceed 10,000 words and shall follow the JIEL style sheet.

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Changes quietly made to Libra Whitepaper

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

Changes quietly made to Libra Whitepaper

Cartoon of lamb with libra currency medal around neck and large shadow of wolf behind it
Image courtesy of Cointelegraph.com

The white paper for Facebook’s proposed Libra currency has been quietly updated, according to a Dec. 10 article written by Georgetown University law professor, Chris Brummer.  Aside from expected amendments reflecting the revised Libra Association members, the biggest change is the removal of dividends payable to those early investors.  The story can be found here.

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Fed Governor Offers thoughts on Stablecoins at European Central Bank

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

Fed Governor Offers thoughts on Stablecoins at European Central Bank

Stable Coin word cloud including terms like money, finance, etc.

Ms Lael Brainard, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, offered her thoughts on stable coins on the Monetary Policy, Technology, and Globalisation Panel, at an ECB colloquium on December 18, 2019.  Among her observations:  "Without requisite safeguards, stablecoin networks at global scale may put consumers at risk."  The full speech can be found here.

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US, China reach partial agreement on trade

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

US, China reach partial agreement on trade

 

Image of three financial leaders standing in front of Chinese and American flags
Photo: Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

President Trump has agreed to a limited trade agreement with Beijing that will roll back existing tariff rates on Chinese goods and cancel new levies set to take effect Sunday as part of a deal to boost Chinese purchases of U.S. farm goods and obtain other concessions.  (WSJ story is here).

Former USTR Mike Froman, has, however, offered some criticism, characterizing it as a purchase and sale agreement failing to address America’s substantive concerns with China's trade practices.

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New Book on Fintech Law

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

New Book on Fintech Law

Book cover of "Fintech Law in a Nutshell" by Dr. Chris Brummer

Minilateralism’s author, Professor Chris Brummer, has authored a new guide for students and experts alike that are seeking to learn about, or deepen their understanding of, fintech law. Technology is redefining financial services―including the way actors make and settle payments, raise capital, extend loans, and memorialize increasingly complex relationships. At the same time, new innovations―from cryptocurrencies to marketplace lending, robo-advising, and mobile payments―are creating novel regulatory issues for anti-money laundering requirements and cybersecurity. Professor Brummer’s Nutshell provides an overview of some the key developments reshaping finance―and the rules deployed to oversee them.

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A New Take on the History of the Bank for International Settlements

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

A New Take on the History of the Bank for International Settlements

Dr. Chris Brummer, speaks in a suit with a white backdrop on the topic of Fintech

Minilateralism author Chris Brummer has released a new essay, written on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Bank for International Settlements, offering a new take on the Bank for International Settlements and the evolution of soft law in Finance.  In "A Theory of Everything" Professor Brummer argues that soft law’s origins in financial regulation lay in the particular institutional evolution of the BIS prior to the articulation of bank capital standards.

Specifically, Professor Brummer argues that institutional innovations tied with the Bank’s navigation of the politics and economic particularities of World War I reparations would enable the informality and expert-driven systems that would one day characterise today’s modern ‘Basel Process’ of technocratic decision-making. Furthermore, soft law, far from being an entirely radical break with the economic diplomacy of the times, was in fact merely the next step in an evolution of the Bank that in its deployment would not only enhance the credibility of non-binding understandings and accords in international economic diplomacy, but also help to solidify and elevate the very stature of the BIS.   For more, see the draft essay on SSRN.

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China to launch a CBDC—but will it improve the yuan’s internationalization?

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

China to launch a CBDC—but will it improve the yuan’s internationalization?

A pile of scattered Chinese 100 Yuan bills

As reported by the City Journal, the Chinese government recently announced its intention to launch the first-ever central-bank-directed digital currency, or CBDC. The press release, accompanied by a speech from the project’s head, Central Bank Deputy Director Mu Changchun, caused a stir in tech-oriented media circles, especially in the U.S. and other developed nations.  But it’s not clear that a CBDC will have a major impact on the internationalization of the RMB.  Story here.

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Leaders discuss Fintech in Washington, DC

Professor of Law : Georgetown University, and Director, Institute of International Economic Law

Leaders discuss Fintech in Washington, DC

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, testifies before congress in a suit on Libra, the new cryptocurrency from Facebook
Image courtesy of C-SPAN

The fall brought more than just Mark Zuckerberg's testimony concerning Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency to Capitol Hill.  At the same time, leaders convened in Washington to discuss fintech and its implications for the global financial system at various conferences from the IIF's Annual Membership Conference to Washington DC's fintech week.  Overviews of the events can be seen here and here.   Mr. Zuckerberg's testimony is available on C-span.

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FinCEN CFTC, SEC Issue Statement on Crypto

Image of various cryptocurrency symbols floating on black background
Image courtesy of https://www.wealthmanagement.com

In an usually explicit act of cross-agency collaboration, the heads of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) signed a statement reminding actors in the crypto space that they must comply with various banking and financial services laws in the U.S., regardless of what they call their cryptocurrencies or tokens.  In the statement, the agencies referred to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which outlines how different financial services businesses should register with regulators.  More information is available here.

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