Monthly Archives: February 2012

Nothing to see here

Is there any point in con­tin­u­ing to puz­zle over trade pol­icy and agree­ments? Do they really make any dif­fer­ence to any­thing? It seems they’ve become too hard to put together; but does that mat­ter? Since about 2001, I’ve been writ­ing a weblog analysing inter­na­tional trade agree­ments, national trade poli­cies and the post-WWII “sys­tem” of government […]

Critical Mass” on US business agenda

The US National For­eign Trade Coun­cil has released a short paper (PDF file) endors­ing a “crit­i­cal mass” (CM) approach to new WTO-associated trade agree­ments, with­out, how­ever, pro­duc­ing any new ideas on how to accom­plish this in the cur­rent mul­ti­lat­eral trade frame­work. A top U.S. busi­ness group, frus­trated with years of stale­mate in world trade talks, […]

Evidence-free policy on cars

His Tel­stra term has appar­ently left Ziggy Switkowski with a taste for Gaullist illogic. He reck­ons that the absence of a ratio­nale — other than rent-seeking — is not fatal to a pol­icy that sup­ports a “diverse” indus­trial pat­ri­moine. It is very hard to make a con­ven­tional busi­ness case for sub­sidi­s­a­tion of (or, more fashionably, […]

No spring for shiite Syria

Robert Fisk’s unsen­ti­men­tal analy­sis of Assad’s strengths As long as Syria can trade with Iraq, it can trade with Iran and, of course, it can trade with Lebanon. The Shia of Iran and the Shia major­ity in Iraq and the Shia lead­er­ship (though not major­ity) in Syria and the Shia (the largest com­mu­nity, but not […]