In this earlier post, I looked at three of the ‘old standbys’ that are likely to provide governments with all the ‘wiggle-room’ they need to increase protection while remaining nominally compliant with their WTO obligations.
This time, two more oldies but goodies that are still more likely, in my view, to figure in the coming round of trade protection. These two threaten high levels of ‘tailor-made’ protection for firms that are struggling through the recession, but they do so at the cost of lower levels of demand at home (so much for ‘stimulus’!), increased pressure on competitors in other countries and a further cut in world trade volumes. Bad for almost everyone.
At the end of this post I start to look at some defenses against the coming round of protection.
Will there be one? You bet! The only questions are: how soon and how big?
With employment numbers in both industrialized and industrializing countries falling, world markets seizing up as a consequence of the credit squeeze, icons of globalization like Dubai bleeding debt (and emigrants) and governments rushing out ‘stimulus’ packages to prop up domestic demand, the scene is set for some un-neighborly action at every international border. Never mind that some of these “negatives” are likely to be part of the creative destruction that brings new ideas, new market entrants and, eventually, new growth.
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No one better represents the fun, dedication or optimism of the people who created the multilateral trading system than Ambassador Julio Lacarte Muró. This recent video interview with him, recalling his particpation in the Havana Conference (1947) that by it’s ‘failure’ gave birth to the GATT, is a reminder that the goals and principles of that long-ago era still shape our world and promise us a better one. They could have no better ambassador than the eternally smooth Julio Lacarte.
I love his remark about Havana having been a ‘lively town’ in 1947. I bet it was: the Conference lasted 4 months!
My book, commissioned by WTO for their 10th anniversary, is now available from Cambridge University Press From the blurb “This book was commissioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a factual account of the first decade of its existence. It aims to cover the principal activities of the WTO as the successor to GATT […]
Alan Beattie, the World Trade Editor for the Financial Times has reviewed Global Trade Advocate. Here’s a link to the non-subscription page version of the review (also over the fold). To make it easier for you to see what Alan is talking about when he mentions the ‘huge rewards’ from trade advocacy described in GTA, […]