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The World Trading System: Review of Trade Policy, Effects of the Crisis and Post-Crisis Prospects

Monday November 2, 2009, at 14:00
Aula 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
Razeen Sally (European Centre for Internat. Political Economy)
Razeen Sally will talk about his book, New Frontiers in Free Trade: Globalisation’s Future and Asia’s Rising Role (Cato Institute, Washington DC), updated to cover the global economic crisis and post-crisis prospects. He argues that trade policy has become increasingly disconnected from 21st-century business and consumer realities, and it is badly placed to confront new, crisis-related protectionism. He addresses the following themes. First, he reviews trade policies, and notes that the really successful emerging-market reformers have liberalised unilaterally, not through trade negotiations. But unilateral liberalisation has now stalled. Second, he is highly critical of the WTO and its Doha Round, and discusses a post-Doha agenda for making the WTO relevant again. Third, he is also critical of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) as well as top-down regional-economic-integration initiatives. Fourth, he looks at “creeping protectionism” in the wake of the global economic crisis, and discusses what can be done to counter it. Finally, he sums up the challenges for the EU and other major players to adapt to a less benign, more turbulent post-crisis global economic environment. That requires containing new protectionism and reviving trade-and-investment reforms. But it also extends deep into reforms of domestic policies and institutions. That presents a much more daunting challenge than was the case in the benign global economy of recent decades