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!
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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