Mega-regionals and the mega-mess: A way out

Jayant Menon 09 June 2014

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Jagdish Bhagwati (1991) famously described the maze of overlapping free trade agreements (FTAs) as akin to a ‘spaghetti bowl’. Several decades later, with the rise of mega-regionals like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the fragmentation of the world trade system more closely resembles a jigsaw puzzle. How do we solve this mess? One approach being pursued is to consolidate bilateral FTAs into regional blocs, and then to try and link the blocs up globally – or at least hope that they will eventually.

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Topics:  Global governance International trade

Tags:  WTO, trade liberalisation, trade, reciprocity, free trade agreements, Trans-Pacific Partnership, multilateralisation of preferences, mega-regionals, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

“No Big Deal” says Krugman

Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Cathleen Cimino 17 March 2014

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In a “man bites dog” column for the New York Times (February 27th), Paul Krugman, a self-proclaimed free trader, declared that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is “No Big Deal”. With free traders like this, who needs protectionists?

Equally disturbing as his headline, were the dubious justifications offered by Princeton’s Nobel Laureate.

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Topics:  Global governance International trade

Tags:  globalization, Trans-Pacific Partnership, trade liberalization

WTO agreement: The Bali Ribbon

Richard Baldwin 12 December 2013

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Bali’s success got multilateralism out of the emergency room and into the intensive care unit – but we don’t know whether the operation was a success. The Bali package is only distantly related to the heart of the 2001 agenda (WTO 2013). Indeed, the ‘Bali Package’ should really be called the ‘Bali Ribbon’ since very large parts of it were already being implemented unilaterally by members (Meltzer 2013).

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Topics:  Global governance International trade

Tags:  WTO, trade, Doha, multilateralism, regional trade agreements, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Bali, mega-regional negotiations

Estimating the effect of the TPP on Japan’s growth

Yasuyuki Todo 11 May 2013

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Prime Minister Abe recently announced that Japan would participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, with all other Trans-Pacific Partnership parties now having accepted Japan.1 This trade demarche is viewed as a key part of ‘Abenomics’ (Petri, Plummer and Zhai 2013). Although the dye has been cast, the debate in Japan has not ended. Many Japanese are sceptical about effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the Japanese economy, so this is the right moment for research-based analysis of its economic effects.

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Topics:  International trade

Tags:  FDI, Japan, foreign direct investment, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP

The surprise end game in global trade

Kati Suominen 20 December 2012

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With President Obama looking on, China orchestrated the launch of negotiations for a tripartite free trade deal with Korea and Japan during the recent East Asia Summit. But as much as China is assumed to be the new powerbroker in global commerce, Beijing’s moves are reactionary. The end game in world trade politics is controlled by the three economies that brokered deals also in the 20th century, i.e. the US, Japan, and the EU.

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Topics:  Global governance International trade

Tags:  WTO, free trade agreements, Trans-Pacific Partnership

A Big Deal: Canada and Mexico join the Pacific Trade Pact

Claude Barfield 01 August 2012

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The most significant development during the G20 summit in Mexico occurred on the sidelines and was largely buried in media reports. It was the decision to invite Canada and Mexico to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Adding Mexico and Canada to the current nine-member TPP will result—if negotiations are successful—in a free-trade area covering some 658 million people and about $20.5 trillion in economic activity.

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Topics:  International trade

Tags:  regionalism, free trade agreements, Trans-Pacific Partnership

TPP negotiations, anticipatory trade creation, and implications for European trade policy

Florian Mölders, Ulrich Volz 23 March 2012

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has been under negotiation since 2010. TPP negotiations build on the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (P4) between Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, which was signed in June 2005 and entered into force in May 2006. The aim of the TPP negotiations has been to create an ambitious preferential trade agreement involving the P4 countries and Australia, Peru, the United States, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

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Topics:  International trade

Tags:  trade policy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Asia-Pacific, Trans-Pacific Partnership

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