The Democrats' victory in last week's U.S. midterm elections thrilled many Europeans eager for George W. Bush to get his comeuppance. But not every nation is celebrating. Led by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Dems are notoriously tough on human rights, trade and environmental issues. "Every one of our trading partners should be concerned," says Daniel Griswold, director of the Washington-based Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies.
China, in particular. During the last Democrat-dominated Congress, Pelosi was a vocal critic of Beijing's human-rights record; expect nothing less this time around. Then there's trade. New York Rep. Charles Rangel—likely to become the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade agreements—has already called for tougher measures against Beijing.
Russia will also come under the human-rights microscope. Even allies like India may have reason to worry. The country's burgeoning info-tech industry will likely be a target, as the outsourcing debate intensifies.
The list of potential losers goes on. Several incoming members of Congress blame the North American Free Trade Agreement for costing U.S. jobs and want to revisit the treaty—bad news for Mexico. Agricultural exporters like Brazil and Australia are likely to feel the pinch of new tariffs on products like cane sugar and wood and paper products. Colombia and Peru could lose their tariff-free status come January. But besides the Europeans, one unlikely nation does stand to gain from the Democrats' win: Cuba. Experts believe that even though the U.S. trade embargo won't be lifted entirely, the Democrats are more open to the idea of easing trade restrictions. Vivala revolución?