Free trade agreements are now the centre of gravity in global commerce. This column says they are also the likeliest pathway to multilateral trade liberalisation. With the US negotiating two mega deals – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a US-EU free-trade agreement – China and other emerging economies will have no choice but to play by common rules of the game. It concludes that with all heavyweights joining the charmed circle, multilateral talks in Geneva will no longer be needed.
Kati Suominen, Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 00:00
J. Bradford Jensen, Monday, November 19, 2012 - 00:00
Should developed countries fear trade in services? Won’t high skilled jobs be lost to cheaper, developing country service workers? This column argues that trade in services represents a profitable opportunity as long as international trade in services is liberalised. The US and other developed countries should aggressively pursue fairer and thus more favourable terms under the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement.
Marc Bacchetta, Cosimo Beverelli, Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 00:00
The WTO and its predecessor the GATT have been remarkably successful in negotiating down tariffs over the past six decades. But trade is still a long way from free and since the global crisis, it is becoming even less so. This column reviews the facts, economics, and motives behind these new non-tariff barriers and discusses the challenges they pose for the WTO.
Simon J Evenett, Friday, July 20, 2012 - 00:00
Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen talks to Viv Davies about the recent increase of protectionist measures in the world trading system. They also discuss the implications of the rise in regional trade agreements, the potential effects of Russia joining the WTO and the impact of slow growth in Europe on the region’s trade with the rest of the world. Evenett maintains that defenders of the world trading system should do more to prevent the current subordination of trade policy. The interview was recorded by telephone on 17 July 2012.
Simon J Evenett, Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 00:00
In recent weeks official bodies such as the World Trade Organisation and the European Commission as well as leading private sector associations – the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the so-called B20 group of business leaders – have made strong statements concerning rising protectionism in the run up to the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. On the basis of most extensive update to the Global Trade Alert (GTA) database, that was conducted in preparation for this, the eleventh GTA report, they were right to do so.
Christoph Moser, Andrew K Rose, Friday, June 8, 2012 - 00:00
Why do trade negotiations take so long? The WTO’s Doha Round is into its 11th year and still far from completed. This column uses data on regional trade agreements to identify the determinants of how long it takes to conclude regional trade agreements. The findings are not good news for the chances of the Doha Round ending any time soon.
Michele Ruta, Anthony Venables, Saturday, April 21, 2012 - 00:00
Around one fifth of global merchandise trade is in natural resources. Yet national policies manipulate trade flows and prices, and the problem is exacerbated by market failure in long-run extraction contracts. This column argues these problems could be addressed by extending the role of the WTO in the enforcement of resource-extraction agreements.
Simon J Evenett, Frédéric Jenny, Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 00:00
After several decades of quiescence, global commodity prices almost doubled in 2008 and, after a brief fall, rose again in 2011. The papers in this new CEPR eReport aim to identify and assess the importance of the factors responsible for the recent increases in the levels and volatility of commodity prices.
Vera Thorstensen, Lucas Ferraz, Emerson Marçal, Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 00:00
Persistent exchange-rate misalignments have created trade frictions worldwide. This column argues that the WTO should adopt trade rules that allow nations to neutralise the effects of exchange-rate misalignments. Otherwise, the WTO might become a diplomatic-juridical fiction.
Bernard O’Connor, Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 00:00
Is China a market economy? This legal question matters as antidumping and anti-subsidies laws apply differently to market economies. This column deconstructs the myth that China will automatically get market-economy status at the WTO in 2016 and argues that if China wants the EU to recognise it as a market economy it should comply with the explicit criteria in EU law.
Lionel Fontagné, Friday, November 25, 2011 - 00:00
The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations has passed its ten-year anniversary unspectacularly and the question is now how to salvage a decade of frustrating progress. Yet even with a new ‘Ministerial’ of the World Trade Organisation being held in mid-December, this column argues that an interim agreement for poor countries and trade is sadly out of reach.
John Weekes, Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 00:00
Next month the World Trade Organisation holds its eighth ministerial conference. This column by a veteran of trade negotiations sets the scene – documenting the WTO’s achievements and the challenges ahead.
Aaditya Mattoo, Will Martin, Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 00:00
A recent G20 communiqué on the Doha Development Agenda has got economists excited. According to a new book introduced in this column, negotiators now have an opportunity to critically assess what is on the table and to develop a more relevant agenda and more effective ways of achieving reforms. The book aims to provide empirical evidence to inform the choices ahead.
Aaditya Mattoo, Will Martin, Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 00:00
The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) is in limbo and negotiators face a difficult “trilemma”: to implement all or part of the draft agreements as they stand today; to modify them substantially; or to dump Doha and start afresh. At this critical juncture, this CEPR/World Bank volume aims to provide a better empirical basis for informed choices.
Javier López González, Michael Gasiorek, Saturday, July 30, 2011 - 00:00
The EU is redesigning its rules on preferential trade access for developing and emerging economies. This column outlines the likely winners and losers and argues that in order to help developing countries integrate into the world economy much more creative policies are needed.
Nadia Rocha, Robert Teh, Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 00:00
Preferential trade agreements are now a prominent feature of the global trading system. This column introduces the WTO's new World Trade Report that explores why deep regionalism is gaining momentum. It also proposes a number of options for increasing coherence between such agreements and the multilateral trading system.
Ujal Singh Bhatia, Saturday, June 25, 2011 - 00:00
If the doomed Doha Round threatens the existence of the WTO itself, can the two be separated? Several economists have argued that they should. This column looks at whether this is actually possible.
Richard Baldwin, Simon J Evenett, Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 00:00
The Doha Round poses a dilemma for world leaders; the talks cannot be completed this year, but there is no agreement among WTO members on either suspending or killing the Round. This column introduces the latest VoxEU eBook, which gathers the thoughts of some of the world’s most experienced trade negotiators on what comes next. Indonesia's trade minister and former WTO Ambassadors from the US, China, India, Canada and Hong Kong each provide a plan for getting past the Doha crisis.
Mari Pangestu, Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 00:00
Doha is stalled by gaps that are unbridgeable today. Indonesia’s Trade Minister argues that we need to be guided by priorities and pragmatism. We should develop a set of stepping stones that will help us complete the Doha Round eventually. We should identify the areas that are achievable in the very near future but which have an impact on development while building confidence for the continued journey to a successful Round. We should never lose sight of the final goal – completing the Doha Round as a single undertaking. In short, we are not looking for a “Plan B”; we are looking for a new way to execute Plan A.
Susan C Schwab, Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 00:00
The Doha Round has failed, according the former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab. This essay argues that prolonging Doha jeopardises the multilateral trading system and threatens future prospects for WTO-led liberalisation. Negotiators should salvage whatever partial agreements they can from Doha, and quickly drop the rest to ensure the December ministerial meeting focuses on future work plans rather than recriminations over Doha.