Trade policy through 2013: Signs of improvement but new policy concerns
Chad P Bown, 27 June 2014
Temporary trade barriers have become more than an important bellwether for contemporary protectionism; with persistent tariff levels, they are now a primary obstacle to free trade. The World Bank’s newly updated Temporary Trade Barriers Database suggests that the Great Recession-era increases in import protection may be levelling off. Now policymakers begin to face the daunting task of dismantling all of those temporary barriers they imposed during the early phase of the crisis.
How countries apply their trade policies has been of heightened interest since the early days of the Great Recession (Baldwin and Evenett 2009).
Topics: International trade
Tags: G20, Great Recession, protectionism, Trade barriers, TTBs
Growth, real exchange rates, and trade protectionism since the financial crisis
Georgios Georgiades, Johannes Gräb, 8 December 2013
Existing data show that the historically well-documented relationship between growth, competitiveness, and trade protectionism does not hold in the context of the recent financial crisis. This column presents new evidence that this relationship, in fact, holds. G20 governments continue to pursue trade-restrictive policies in a recession, or when their competitiveness deteriorates. This holds for a wide array of trade policies, including ‘murky’ protectionism.
The sharp global economic downturn in 2008-09 and the protracted weakness of the global economy have nurtured fears that governments might resort to trade protectionism in order to support their economies by sheltering them from foreign competition.
Topics: Global crisis, International trade
Tags: financial crisis, G20, murky protectionism
Counting thy numbers: Defining and measuring fossil fuel subsidies
Ronald Steenblik, Jehan Sauvage, Jagoda Egeland, 15 September 2012
Reforming fossil fuel subsidies might seem to be an easy option – reduced fiscal outlays would help with debt problems while also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This column argues that, despite growing interest in reforming them, there still exists much confusion over the concept and magnitude of fossil fuel subsidies – and this needs to change first.
Fossil fuel subsidies have attracted renewed attention following the Pittsburgh Summit of September 2009, where leaders of the G20 committed to “rationalise and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” (G20 2009). Leaders of the G8 and of APEC have subsequently issued similar statements.
Topics: Environment, Global governance
Tags: APEC, fossil fuels, G20, G8, subsidies
Don’t count on enhanced global governance
Jeffry A. Frieden, Michael Pettis, Dani Rodrik, Ernesto Zedillo, 26 July 2012
Global economic cooperation can help mitigate many economic problems. But it is often difficult to justify, and even more difficult to achieve. This column argues that simple appeals to greater global governance are not likely to have much effect. It suggests that the future of the international economy does depend on the success of international cooperation; but this success in turn requires that governments have realistic expectations about how much can be accomplished at the global level.
The world economy faces its most serious test since the 1930s. The financial crisis that began in 2007 rolls onward.
Topics: Global governance, Politics and economics
Tags: G20, Geneva Report, international economic cooperation
The growing international campaign against tax evasion
Bruce Blonigen, Lindsay Oldenski, Nicholas Sly, 26 November 2011
The most recent G20 summit led to a multilateral agreement to facilitate information sharing between tax agencies, with the US currently negotiating bilateral tax treaties with the tax havens of Switzerland and Luxembourg. But before celebrations begin, this column points out that cracking down on tax evasion comes at a cost. International investment may well suffer.
One of the few solid agreements that came out of the latest G20 summit in Cannes was that governments will increase their cooperative efforts to curb tax evasion.
Topics: International finance, International trade, Taxation
Tags: bilateral tax treaties, FDI, G20, Luxembourg, Switzerland, US
Anaemia, exuberance, and vulnerability: A post–financial crisis new global economic geography
Ernesto Talvi, Ignacio Munyo, 27 October 2011
The global crisis crippled advanced economies, but it also freed up financial resources that flooded emerging markets. This column introduces an index to identify the post-crisis winners and losers, digging into the causes of the new economic geography and exploring the vulnerability of emerging economies to a recurrence of a Lehman-type virus.
It would not be an overstatement to assert that the global financial crisis has created a ‘new global economic geography’, a new reality that responds to the remarkable fact that the crisis that has crippled advanced economies has also left winners around the globe.
Topics: Global governance, International finance
Tags: economic geography, G20, global crisis
Resolve against protectionism weakens since the Seoul G20 Summit
Simon J Evenett, 20 July 2011
Despite the public commitments made at the Seoul G20 summit, this year protectionism has slipped off the work programme of G20 nations. The latest evidence published in the 9th Report of the Global Trade Alert, summarised here, shows that government resolve against protectionism has weakened as global economic prospects have dimmed. The global trading system is not out of the protectionist woods.
In 2011 the world economy has been buffeted by a number of developments that were not foreseen at the time of the Seoul G20 Summit.
Topics: International trade
Tags: G20, Global Trade Alert, protectionism
The G20 and global imbalances
Barry Eichengreen, 26 June 2011
Global imbalances remain a key issue for G20 leaders. This column evaluates the progress made by G20 leaders in the run up to their Cannes summit this November, concluding that the G20 process is unlikely to protect us from the risks posed by disorderly unwinding of imbalances.
Global imbalances continue to place the stability of the global economy at risk. The International Monetary Fund’s forecasts anticipate essentially no reduction in existing imbalances in the next five years, assuming the continuance of current policies. And independent observers have suggested that, if anything, the IMF may be overly optimistic about the prospects.
Topics: Global governance, International trade
Tags: G20, global imbalances, IMF
Doha Round: Or else what?
Philip Levy, 28 April 2011
The Obama Administration seems to view Doha delay as a minor issue since they view the export gains from the current package as small. This column argues that this calculation is based on a false premise that the status quo would continue even if the Round dragged on for years. Nations respect the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism verdicts in order to remain as members in good standing; this allows them to reap the benefits of the WTO as a negotiating forum. If the WTO collapses as a negotiating forum, nations may move towards a crass calculus that assesses verdicts only on the basis of the threats that back them. This would be a deeply regrettable move away from a rules-based global trading regime.
The state of the current round of global trade talks is indisputably dire. It is never a good sign when analysts are quibbling over whether Doha is dead or simply comatose. Despite plaintive, increasingly desperate cries from Geneva, leaders of the G20 countries have shown little inclination to follow through on their repeated commitments to conclude the talks.
Topics: International trade
Tags: Brazil, China, Doha Round, G20, India, US