Trump’s Protectionism Prabhat Patnaik

On March 8 Donald Trump made an announcement which according to many has the potential of starting a global trade war. He announced that the U.S. would be raising tariffs on imported steel by 25 percent and tariffs on imported aluminium by 10 percent. Now, the WTO allows tariffs under certain circumstances, against for instance some country that is “unfairly” subsidizing its exports, or is dumping its goods, which means charging higher prices on the domestic market for the same goods that are sold cheap in the export market. It also allows tariffs under a “safeguard” clause whereby a country…

Electronic Commerce and the WTO: The Changing Contours of Engagement Biswajit Dhar

Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) has emerged as a key issue in the run-up to the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. A number of countries across the development spectrum have backed inclusion of e-commerce in the WTO. Although the nature of disciplines that these countries favour is not entirely clear, yet the proposals strongly suggest that they would prefer using e-commerce as a vehicle for trade liberalisation in goods and services. Electronic_Commerce _WTO  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in Madhyam.org.in on November…

Trade Multilateralism Set Back Yet Again Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

As feared, the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 10-13 December 2017, ended in failure. It failed to even produce the customary ministerial declaration reiterating the centrality of the global trading system and the importance of trade as a driver of development. Driven by President Donald Trump's ‘America First' strategy and his preference for bilateral trade deals, instead of multilateral or even plurilateral agreements, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer was key to the outcome. The USTR also refused to engage in previously promised negotiations on a permanent solution to…

Trumping the NAFTA renegotiation: An alternative policy framework for Mexican-US cooperation and economic convergence Robert A. Blecker, Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid and Isabel Salat

NAFTA has utterly failed from a development standpoint and Mexico and US both need a new policy regime to reverse that rising inequality, secular stagnation, and regional divergences. If done with a cooperative spirit, the renegotiation of NAFTA can be a win-win for both, but a hasty US withdrawal from it would not work in favour of the average US and Mexican citizens. NAFTA_Renegotiation (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the World Economics Association)

The Golden “Diwali Gift” Jayati Ghosh

The Modi government made its supposed determination to end corruption in India its signature theme. The massive damage done by demonetisation as well as the continuing chaos produced by the flawed introduction of the Goods and Services Tax have all been justified on the grounds of reducing possibilities of corruption and tax avoidance. Similarly, the imposition of Aadhaar requirements on the population for access to all manner of publicly provided goods and services is regularly justified on the grounds of reducing “leakages” and misappropriation of benefits. The Prime Minister has sought to burnish his image of anti-corruption crusader through emotional…

One Belt, One Road, One Grand Design? Jayati Ghosh

It is a truism of history that rising powers tend to be the ones valorising “free” trade and more open and integrated national economies, just as waning powers tend to turn inwards. So it is no surprise that over the past half year, as the United States elected a President with an avowedly protectionist agenda (even if relatively little has been acted upon so far), China’s President has become the chief advocate of globalisation and more extensive trade and investment links across countries. This drumbeat reached a crescendo in mid-May 2017, at a summit in Beijing to celebrate the official…

Interpreting Trump’s Trade Diplomacy C.P. Chandrasekhar

As Donald Trump settles into his Presidency and his surprise economic appointees begin to travel the world, signals as to what the external economic agenda of the United States would be during Trump’s term are emerging. One such signal was the unwillingness of the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, while attending the G20 summit of finance ministers and central bankers at Baden Baden over 17-18 March, to accept the old normal that any departure from global free trade was taboo. Conventionally, every communique from G 20 summits since the first in 2008 had committed to “resist all forms of protectionism”.…

Can Developing Asia Hold its Ground? C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Capital flight from Asia points to investor concerns about both political processes in the big Asian developing economies and medium-term economic prospects. developing_asia_hold_ground (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on December 5, 2016)