Friday, September 9, 2011

Nothing New on Trade

. Friday, September 9, 2011

On the one hand, that title is a good thing. Many expected a global economic downturn to lead to trade wars. Many others expected asymmetric shocks to the global economy, in which exporting countries were perceived to be poaching jobs from importing countries, to have the same effect. But I recently finished Paul Blustein's excellent account of the Doha decade Misadventures of the Most-Favored Nations and a big theme is the battle of interests between the developed North -- especially the US and EU -- and the rest -- especially India, Japan, Brazil, and China. The book's narrative ended a few years ago, but little has changed:

India is unlikely to yield to a fresh effort by the developed countries to push for greater concessions by the larger emerging economies to salvage the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round of global trade talks. ...

With the US leading the chorus to demand further concessions from countries like India, China and Brazil, which will have to eliminate tariffs on some products for the round to progress, the talks have been stalled.
We haven't blogged a lot about trade here lately, but that's mainly because not a whole lot has gone on. The international trading system appears to be locked into the status quo for the time being. Interests are still far apart, and the gains from further coordination are not especially high. So the Doha agenda remains stalled.


Nothing New on Trade




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