1. Hi Peter,

    What’s your “plau­si­ble frame­work” for trade?  I don’t mean to make you write a dis­ser­ta­tion here, just thought maybe you had already set it out somewhere!



  2. Fair ques­tion, Simon. 

    I mean ‘plau­si­ble’ in the sense that Dani Rodrik means it: a frame­work that is desir­able and eas­i­ly attained because it accom­mo­dates the wide dif­fer­ences among coun­tries in their trade and eco­nom­ic poli­cies that lie behind the fail­ure of the ‘sin­gle-under­tak­ing’ con­sen­sus on the Doha agenda. 

    Such a plau­si­ble frame­work need not be ‘val­ue free’. It would favor open mar­kets, trans­paren­cy and ‘due process’ in the admin­is­tra­tion of trade reg­u­la­tions. It sets stan­dards for the admin­is­tra­tion of trade pol­i­cy that min­i­mize adverse ‘spillovers’ of domes­tic poli­cies in order to avoid actu­al con­flicts between countries.

    The GATT is no longer this plau­si­ble frame­work: ser­vices must be encom­passed by the frame­work, and trade facil­i­ta­tion mea­sures, too. But it’s not the sin­gle under­tak­ing either. At least, not the sin­gle under­tak­ing as leg­is­lat­ed by the Quad coun­tries in 1993. 

    It is, prob­a­bly, the WTO agree­ments aug­ment­ed by a col­lec­tion of open-end­ed, option­al, ‘crit­i­cal mass’ agree­ments that would allow gov­ern­ments in some coun­tries (or regions,  they may be in the form of RTAs) to pur­sue deep­er com­mit­ments in some product/services sec­tors or in some pol­i­cy domains (pro­duc­tion sub­si­dies for agri­cul­ture) on a rec­i­p­ro­cal basis.

    I have an arti­cle on this top­ic, co-authored with Andrew Stol­er of the Ade­laide Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Trade that is due to appear in a forth­com­ing spe­cial issue of the jour­nal Glob­al Gov­er­nance.



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