If trade diplomats thought they knew one thing, it was how to cut industrial tariffs. Yet the Doha deadlock rests squarely on the inability to compromise on industrial tariff cuts. This column says that the arguments made for higher levels of ambition don't stand up to much scrutiny and should not be allowed to provide a basis for a continuing impasse.
Simon J Evenett, 28 April 2011
Peter Sutherland, 28 April 2011
The eight trade rounds that have taken place to date have helped define the world we live in. This essay argues that political leaders must now commit resources and time to concluding the Doha Round or they will bear the responsibility for serious damage being caused not merely to globalisation but to the process of multilateralism more generally.
Lei Zhang, Qian Wang, 28 April 2011
The Doha Round has been going on for ten years and its fate is now in jeopardy. This column argues that governments should not let it fail as it could bring down with it the whole WTO-based world trade system. As there is no potential replacement for the WTO, and without it the threat of trade wars would become more serious.
Alberto Trejos, 28 April 2011
The Doha Round is again in a crisis. What is left to say after so many disappointments and loss of credibility? This essay argues that concluding the Doha Round in 2011 presents many unique opportunities on the economic front, on the symbolic front, and on the systemic front. But asking the key players behind today’s deadlock to move would be naive.
Sübidey Togan, 28 April 2011
For developing countries, following the principles of sound economic policy and establishing the appropriate institutions of a functioning market economy is a very challenging task. This column says that completing the Doha Round could help them follow at least some of the principles of sound economic policy and establishing some of the appropriate institutions of functioning market economies.
Patrick A Messerlin, 28 April 2011
At the end of this week the world will know whether, after ten years of negotiations, the Doha Round is still stuck in a “game of chicken”. This column argues that the agreement in goods still offers a good basis for a deal as it provides the most precious virtue, i.e. certainty and insurance. Moreover the likely alternative to Doha – rampant regionalism – will not help the US and China achieve more than they could with Doha because their trade partners find FTAs with these two particularly difficult.
Richard Baldwin, 28 April 2011
America’s best chance at getting better access to the world’s fastest growing economies is on the table – it is called the Doha Round. The US should push hard for a conclusion as the alternatives are much worse. The US faces great domestic and foreign problems in pursuing the regionalism alterative. In particular, US faith in the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be based on unclear thinking about political constraints at home and political reactions abroad.
Claude Barfield, 28 April 2011
Another suspension of the Doha Round is the likely outcome of the upcoming meeting. This essay argues that such a failure is now more dangerous than ever. For domestic political reasons unrelated to trade, the US will be in no position to lead on international trade issues for some years. As the US is still the “indispensable nation” for WTO talks, this means 2011 is the last good opportunity for many years.
Sübidey Togan, 01 April 2011
The services sector accounts for almost three-quarters of GDP in developed countries and nearly half of GDP in the developing world. This column asks why the WTO trade negotiations have made such little progress on liberalising trade in services and outlines a package that could get the support required to change this.
Peter Sutherland, 04 February 2011
Peter Sutherland, former director general of the World Trade Organization, talks to Viv Davies about the recently published interim report on ‘The Doha Round: Setting a deadline, defining a final deal’. He explains why Doha has stalled and presents the case for its immediate completion. He maintains it is crucial that governments now commit to concluding Doha by the end of 2011 or else the round is doomed and all that has been achieved will be lost, with disastrous consequences for world trade. The interview was recorded by telephone on 1 February 2011. [Also read the transcript]
Richard Baldwin, 28 January 2011
The Doha Round is likely to conclude this year, as a burst of political leadership by G20 and APEC nations and deft diplomacy by the WTO have spurred talks that are rapidly narrowing the remaining gaps. This column reviews the progress and highlights what more is needed based on a newly released report written by the High Level Trade Experts Group.
Marco Fugazza, Alessandro Nicita, 15 December 2010
The multilateral trading system of the GATT and WTO is rapidly being replaced by a system dominated by preferential trade agreements. This column argues that this new system is complex in nature and provides a novel assessment of the implications for signatory countries and third parties.
Marc Auboin, 25 November 2010
While liquidity has returned to the main routes of international trade, at the periphery a group of developing countries, particular low income one, are still suffering from lack of affordable trade financing. This column outlines how the recent G20 meeting in Seoul has provided a mandate to multilateral institutions to address this problem.
Kati Suominen, 03 November 2010
Will financial regionalism damagingly fragment the global financial architecture precisely at the time when sturdy system-wide management is needed? This column points to the world trading system’s engagement with regional trade agreements as a source of lessons for how to harmonise regional and global approaches to international finance.
Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Kati Suominen, 13 October 2010
The global crisis has rocked people’s faith in globalisation. This column introduces a new book arguing that, despite taking a step back, globalisation is one of the most travelled routes the world has known for spreading growth and prosperity. It provides policy recommendations for renovating that road dealing with the WTO, social security, global imbalances, and foreign direct investment.
Susan Ariel Aaronson, 01 October 2010
In response to Dr. Cernat’s call for feedback on the EU’s trade policy, this column calls on Europeans and Americans to rethink their trade policies. It argues both can meet 21st century needs only by collaborating, mostly at the WTO. Trade policy challenges are also an opportunity to make the system more coherent and meet the goals of expanding trade, enhancing human welfare and increasing employment.
Simon J Evenett, 25 September 2010
EU trade policy has accomplished little of substance during the past decade. This column, a contribution to the ongoing VoxEU debate on The Future of EU Trade Policy, identifies five reality checks that should be taken on board as the European Commission and the Member States reformulate their approach to commercial relations.
Thomas Prusa, Robert Teh, 15 September 2010
While countries rush to enact more and more free-trade agreements, not enough is known about their impact. This column presents evidence suggesting that free-trade agreements are more discriminatory than their preferential tariffs suggest. It finds a stark increase in contingent protection as free-trade agreements cause a 10%-30% increase in the number of antidumping disputes against non-member countries.
Dany Jaimovich, Richard Baldwin, 02 September 2010
As WTO trade talks languish, what’s driving the surge in regional trade agreements? This column says that regionalism is being driven in large part by the domino effect, in which nations excluded from a trade agreement launch their own negotiations to redress trade diversion. This dynamic is more of a challenge to the WTO than a threat at the moment, but it should not be neglected.
Michele Ruta, 04 August 2010
Trade in natural resources accounts for a growing share of world trade and a growing share of policymakers’ attention. Given the economic, environmental, and political implications of natural resources, this column asks how to design rules that can promote mutual gains from resources trade. It provides recommendations for export policy, conservation policy, and domestic policy.