International Trade

  • The TPP on a collision course with OBOR as it was likely intended.

    Can the U.S. and China Achieve Mutually Assured Prosperity?

    After years of talks, negotiators concluded an agreement on the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in October 2015. Since China is excluded from the TPP, one would expect antagonism rather than symbiosis between the Washington-advocated trade package and Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy. However, closer scrutiny suggests that the TPP and OBOR may be converging by design and destiny.

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  • The RCEP is bucking the push-back trend in trade talks around the world.

    Asian Trade Forges Ahead with the RCEP

    There seems to be a pushback against trade agreements in the post-global financial crisis era. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in early 2016, but US presidential candidates have spared no effort criticizing it so near-term ratification is highly uncertain.

    The WTO Doha Round is in the deep freeze after 14 years of negotiations. Unilateral trade liberalization has virtually come to a standstill.

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  • Don't let economic opportunity slip when conducting trade policy.

    Trade Policy and Economic Opportunity

    The goal of trade policy is not limited to increasing export opportunities. Nor is it just about improving trade balances. Rather trade policy is about taking opportunities to improve the economy’s productive base. When assessing a nation’s experience with bilateral trade agreements, this test should be applied.

    In each bilateral agreement Australia has completed to date, projections of the potential gains for Australia, based on unimpeded access to all markets of the other country involved, were released prior to negotiations.

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  • The Swiss Trade Balance and US Trade Data appear to be an anomaly.

    Trade Stories Traveling Under the Radar

    It is widely recognized that the sharp depreciation of the Japanese yen has not lifted Japanese export volumes.  In December 2015, Japanese export volumes had fallen 4.4% year-over-year after rising 3.9% in December 2014 and 2.5% in December 2013.

    These are a number of explanations for this counter-intuitive result given the yen's past depreciation.  First, global demand is weak.  Second, has adopted a direct investment strategy rather than an export-orientation.

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  • Could Trump's protectionist policies lead to a trade war?

    Hawley-Smoot-Trump?

    Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s protectionist prescriptions have led to renewed speculation about whether trade wars are on the horizon.

    In other words, if, under a Trump presidency, the United States were to raise its tariffs against some of its biggest trading partners – China, Japan, and Mexico – would those countries retaliate in kind? In addition, what would this mean for the global economy?

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  • India-Pakistan trade suffers from political tension, among other things.

    SAFTA Not Working Like NAFTA

    Pakistan’s trade with India leaves much to be desired. The volume of bilateral trade is very low, ranging between only 2 to 3 percent of each country’s total trade, and is concentrated in a few commodities. Trade is low and limited because the trade regimes of each country are closed to each other.

    Bilateral trade between Pakistan and India has always faced a series of tariff and non-tariff barriers that are a consequence of the political tensions between the two countries.

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  • Should India consider TPP membership?

    India Chooses to Remain Out of the TPP

    In October last year, trade ministers from 12 countries reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On 4 February, the agreement was signed. These developments have intensified debates within India about whether the country could fit into the TPP’s structure, either now or in the future.

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  • The U.S. political situation could sabotage the TPP.

    Could the U.S. Political Mess Threaten the TPP's Success?

    There has been a good deal of hype touting the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as the first ‘21st century’ trade pact. Whether it lives up to this high accolade is currently under debate, both in the United States and among the 11 other TPP member states that still need to pass the agreement through their national legislatures.

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  • Trade deals between the U.K., Europe and the world would be complicated.

    Trade Agreements in a UK-less EU World

    Let’s consider a scenario. On leaving the European Union, Britain will make a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, or trade with it under World Trade Organisation most-favoured-nation (MFN) rules. It will also regain its WTO seat and make trade deals with other countries to replace those it enjoys via the EU, with a particular focus on the Commonwealth. In this way, sovereignty will be regained.

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  • There are benefits and risks to China signing the TPP.

    Does the TPP Need China, and Vice Versa?

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may yet be the agreement that most transforms national regulatory systems. It could be even more transformative than the Uruguay Round (1986–1994) that delivered the WTO and the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). However, much depends on if, and when, China joins the TPP.

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