The global economy is gradually healing from the economic blows dealt by the coronavirus pandemic, but the recovery remains fragile and halting. Reduced trade is more a symptom than a cause of those trends—and what governments do in terms of additional fiscal stimulus will do far more to determine the shape of the recovery in the United States and other countries. Still, trade policy could be a factor, supporting or undermining the nascent recovery.
CGD Policy Blogs
CGD has engaged in a series of conversations between CGD president Masood Ahmed and the Director-General candidates for the WTO, with a focus on the candidates’ views for how the WTO can amplify developing country voices in global trading systems.
Kimberly Ann Elliott responds to rumors that the US is considering kicking several Central American countries out of a trade agreement and explains why a fear motivating the move—that China might gain backdoor access to the American market—is unfounded.
As the global trade powerhouses lurch towards protectionism, CGD’s Commitment to Development Index, released today, reveals which advanced economies have trade policies that support—or fail to support—lower-income countries.
Expectations were low for the eleventh World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, and on most accounts it still managed to under-deliver. This time around, US and Indian negotiators refused to compromise in service of achieving a consensus agreement in any area. Roughly three quarters of WTO members endorsed a precedent-setting, albeit hortatory, declaration on women and trade; the United States and India did not. And there were statements from varying groups of “like-minded” countries to pursue work in areas that could eventually lead to “plurilateral” agreements. Still, it is not clear these efforts are any more likely to overcome the sharp differences that have prevented compromise among the broader membership. And if they do, they could end up marginalizing smaller, less powerful developing countries.
Britain just announced a new policy for trading with developing countries after Brexit. It maintains the current framework of duty free, quota free access to British markets for least developed countries. It is a good basis for the further steps we’d like to see Britain take.
We’ve spent the past year focusing on beyond aid approaches to promoting gender equality worldwide, through discussions on how to improve outcomes for women and girls in areas ranging from migration to UN peacekeeping forces. Next we’re looking at how trade agreements can help to ensure they benefit women and men equally, whether they participate in the economy as wage workers, farmers, or entrepreneurs. That might take both carrots and sticks—because, at the moment, women are all too likely to lose out.
The UK Government has today published a white paper on its broad approach to Brexit—what ’s missing though is a commitment to developing countries on the UK’s trade policy. Having emphasised trade at the heart of its economic strategy on international development, it now needs to commit to providing “duty free quota free” access for developing countries, or risk damaging investment and trade over the next two years and beyond.
Unless the UK government takes action to prevent it, Brexit could penalize some of the world’s poorest countries.
The release of leaked documents from negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) captured news headlines last week, but the materials tell us little that we didn’t already know. The documents mainly confirmed that scant progress has been made. I’ve already gone on record as skeptical that negotiators will secure a TTIP deal, even in principle, this year. So instead I want to offer two suggestions as talks move forward.