Critics argue that WTO rules are antagonistic to human rights. This column examines how WTO members have sought to promote human rights and trade, and what they have done when these obligations compete. It concludes that WTO rules are not antagonistic to human rights, though some members’ trade policy decisions have created conflicts.
Susan Ariel Aaronson, 20 January 2009
Claude Barfield, 19 January 2009
This column says the WTO should suspend its formal negotiations for the next twelve months and attempt to head off a wave of protection in the interim. This would enhance the chances for the ultimate success of the Doha Round.
Jagdish Bhagwati, 09 January 2009
In this column Jagdish Bhagwati sounds the alarm on Obama’s eloquent silence on key trade issues and his failure to balance his protectionist appointments with powerful trade proponents that would produce a “team of rivals”. Multilateral free trade is being dangerously let down.
Joseph Francois, 17 December 2008
The worry about protectionism should not be centred on completing the Doha Round. This column suggests 80% of world trade is locked-in under legally binding tariffs and the real worry is that of excessive use of antidumping, countervailing duty, and safeguard protection, misguided public subsidies, rising protection in the poorest countries, and temptation in the US Congress to violate existing treaty commitments.
Richard Baldwin, Simon J Evenett, 13 December 2008
Announcement that the WTO talks will not be put back on track this year – despite the G20’s November 15th commitment to do so – is the first concrete demonstration of the G20’s ineffectiveness. This column argues that the G20 should undertake a “Plan B” on world trade to restore G20 creditability and shore-up support for the WTO.
Simon J Evenett, 12 December 2008
Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the latest e-book in Vox’s ‘What leaders should do in the crisis’ series, focusing particularly on the prospects for completing the Doha Round of world trade negotiations in the light of the economic crisis. The interview was recorded on Tuesday 9 December 2008.
Richard Baldwin, Simon J Evenett, 04 December 2008
VoxEU.org has just published another Ebook in our “What leaders should do in the Crisis” series; this one focuses on trade. Unless world leaders strengthen trade cooperation, new tariffs and competitive devaluations could trigger a protectionist spiral of WTO-consistent trade barriers. To rule this out, world leaders should: 1) Reduce protectionist pressures by fighting the recession with macroeconomic polices; 2) Translate APEC and G20 leaders’ words into deeds by agreeing a framework for concluding the Doha Round; and 3) Establish a real-time WTO/IMF surveillance mechanism to track new protection.
Peter Draper, 14 November 2008
This column suggests that South Africa should focus on four broad issues at the coming G20 Summit: supporting global growth, supporting regulatory reform and reconfiguring the IMF, supporting reform of Asian currency management practices, and underlining support for the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.
Jisun Kim, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, 17 October 2008
US climate change policy seems likely to include border measures to address competitiveness concerns. This column warns against such measures, arguing that they will do little to protect US industries, expose the US to retaliatory trade restrictions, and significantly burden the global trading system. The US would be better served by addressing its competitiveness concerns in international negotiations.
Patrick A Messerlin, 03 October 2008
At the Global Economic Symposium in Schleswig-Holstein in September 2008, Patrick Messerlin of Sciences Po in Paris spoke at a session on reconsidering the international trading system. Afterwards, he talked to Romesh Vaitilingam about the key challenges facing the World Trade Organisation and potential solutions.
Robert E. Baldwin, 25 September 2008
WTO negotiations collapsed in July 2008 when India and the US could not agree on the details of a “special safeguard mechanism” in agriculture. The mechanism would allow developing countries to raise import duties on agricultural products in response to import surges without an injury test. Here one the world’s leading trade economists proposes a mechanism design that reconciles the US and Indian positions and could put Doha back on track.
Simon J Evenett, 01 August 2008
The breakdown of the Doha Round this week makes a deal implausible for another year or two. This column argues that this is an opportunity for world trade powers to identify ways to adapt the WTO to the needs of the 21st Century. Although difficult, the outcome of such talks could hardly be worse than the fear-driven, adrenalin rush that the WTO membership embarked upon seven years ago in Doha.
Joseph Francois, 01 August 2008
The WTO talks were as much a distraction as an opportunity. The agenda was aimed at a world that no longer exists. Negotiations of some form should and will resume: the questions are "where?" and "between whom?" Success will require a different game, with different rules and different players. This column considers the options.
Douglas Irwin, Petros C. Mavroidis, 29 July 2008
The WTO's Doha Round talks failed. This column draws lessons from a new book on the history of the WTO's predecessor, the GATT, to show that building and maintaining the global trading system has never been easy. The key ingredient is political leadership, which is evidently lacking at this stage.
Jeffrey J. Schott , 18 July 2008
WTO ministers gather next week to push for a conclusion of the WTO talks that were started in Doha in 2001. This column argues that there is zero chance of a deal in 2008, but proposes a 5-step plan could put the talks on a glide path to a successful landing in 2009 or 2010.
Bruce Blonigen, 17 July 2008
In order to understand whether the Doha Round can be salvaged, we need to understand why it has reached its present impasse. The latest Report from the Kiel Institute and CEPR analyzes the factors which have led to longer and longer Rounds and now to the Doha impasse.
Bruce Blonigen, 17 July 2008
The Doha Round is stagnant, which does not bode well for trade liberalisation in the near future and possibly for the World Trade Organization in the long run. This column highlights the lessons of a new report on reviving the Doha Round, emphasising long-term trends that must be addressed, lest the WTO become obsolete.
L Alan Winters, 11 July 2008
Alan Winters (who was recently appointed chief economist at the UK’s Department for International Development) talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the current round of world trade negotiations – the benefits of reaching an agreement; the dangers of failure; the conflicting aspirations of different interest groups; and the relationship between trade liberalisation and poverty reduction in developing countries.
John Whalley, 11 July 2008
Just ahead of the ‘mini-ministerial’ of the World Trade Organisation, which is intended to conclude the Doha Round, John Whalley talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the prospects for reaching an agreement. He notes the potential conflict between the trade liberalisation agenda and the big global issues that have emerged since the Round was launched in 2001, notably national security and climate change.
Richard Baldwin, 01 July 2008
The World Trade Organisation is losing its place at the centre of the global trading system. Absent reforms, the rules-based architecture of international trade may collapse into a “might makes right” affair.