IBSA ‘framework’ agreement

This is a diver­sion: bq. For­eign min­is­ters of the three coun­tries, home to 1.2bn peo­ple, yes­ter­day signed a “frame­work agree­ment” to boost trade, aimed at coun­ter­ing indus­tri­alised nations’ dom­i­na­tion of the world trad­ing sys­tem. (“FT”:http://www.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1078381573792&p=1012571727102) Accord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, the ‘frame­work’ con­tains no actu­al trade oblig­a­tions such as cuts in bar­ri­ers to each oth­ers’ exports. That would be the quick­est way to give this alliance more cred­i­bil­i­ty in the trad­ing sys­tem and, along the way, lift eco­nom­ic growth performance—particularly in India whose trade per­for­mance has (with the excep­tion of IT ser­vices and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals) bad­ly lagged[⇒ relat­ed sto­ry] that of the oth­er Asian ‘giant’, Chi­na. T N Srini­vasan has recent­ly “published”:http://www.econ.yale.edu/~srinivas/C&I%20Economic%20Performance%20Update.pdf (PDF file about 100k) an updat­ed overview of the rel­a­tive trade and growth per­for­mance of India and Chi­na and the impli­ca­tions for income dis­tri­b­u­tion and the role of each coun­try in the trad­ing sys­tem. TNS argues that ideas such as IBSA con­fuse the ben­e­fits of eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion with those of the much more dif­fi­cult polit­i­cal inte­gra­tion that has allowed e.g. the EU to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in world affairs.

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