Open markets

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Lead Commentaries

Richard Baldwin, Simon Evenett, 05 March 2009

This column introduces a new ebook presenting in-depth analysis of i) the collapse of global trade, and ii) the new, murkier protection emerging as governments around the world massively increase their role in the economy. A negative protection-recession spiral is one of the few things that have not yet gone wrong in this crisis. The book presents concrete steps that G20 leader should take to avoid such a spiral and the threat it would pose to global recovery.

Gary Hufbauer, Jeffrey Schott , 05 February 2009

The “Buy American” provision in the US stimulus package would violate US trade obligations, damage the US' reputation, and have almost no real impact on US jobs. Moreover, the provisions will be read as an Obama trade policy that leans toward protectionism – with severe consequences abroad.

Gilbert Metcalf , 26 January 2009

This column explains how US tax policies have induced greater investment in renewable energy production and an electricity grid unable to harness it. It argues for a tax code that offers financial incentives to make new grid investments, lest the US find itself with a power grid that can't transport green electricity to the nation's growth centres – the ultimate bridge to nowhere.

Trevor Houser, 28 January 2009

A range of fiscal programs yield both economic stimulus and sustained environmental benefits. This column argues that Washington and Beijing should lead the way, improving their energy efficiency and building faith in the stability of the global economy.

Vicky Pryce, 02 April 2009

With global trade flows collapsing and murky protection spreading, the G20 had much to talk about on trade. This column, written by the Head of the UK Government Economic Service, argues that the Summit made important steps. The key commitments were to refrain from imposing new protectionist measure, to get the Doha round back on track, and to fund additional financing mechanisms for trade credit. These commitments require follow up and further action.

This column updates the original Vox columns by Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke comparing today’s global crisis to the Great Depression. The three previous columns have shattered all Vox readership records with over 450,000 views. This latest edition covers up to February 2010 showing that, while there is cause for optimism, there is no room for complacency.

Gary Hufbauer, Jeffrey Schott , 05 February 2009

The “Buy American” provision in the US stimulus package would violate US trade obligations, damage the US' reputation, and have almost no real impact on US jobs. Moreover, the provisions will be read as an Obama trade policy that leans toward protectionism – with severe consequences abroad.

Robert Staiger, Alan Sykes, 30 January 2009

Many critics argue that Chinese currency undervaluation amounts to an export subsidy and import tariff responsible for global trade imbalances. This column cautions against that equivalence. In the long run, currency devaluation does not alter export volumes, and in the short run, its effects depend on firms’ invoicing decisions. Policymakers should take care before turning to trade sanctions as a remedy.

Marc Auboin, 28 January 2009

Some 80% to 90% of world trade relies on trade finance, and there is little doubt that the trade finance market will experience difficult times in the first half of 2009 – difficulties that will contribute the global economic malaise. Public-backed institutions are responding, but are they doing enough?

This column updates the original Vox columns by Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke comparing today’s global crisis to the Great Depression. The three previous columns have shattered all Vox readership records with over 450,000 views. This latest edition covers up to February 2010 showing that, while there is cause for optimism, there is no room for complacency.

Richard Baldwin, Simon Evenett, 05 March 2009

This column introduces a new ebook presenting in-depth analysis of i) the collapse of global trade, and ii) the new, murkier protection emerging as governments around the world massively increase their role in the economy. A negative protection-recession spiral is one of the few things that have not yet gone wrong in this crisis. The book presents concrete steps that G20 leader should take to avoid such a spiral and the threat it would pose to global recovery.

Robert Staiger, Alan Sykes, 30 January 2009

Many critics argue that Chinese currency undervaluation amounts to an export subsidy and import tariff responsible for global trade imbalances. This column cautions against that equivalence. In the long run, currency devaluation does not alter export volumes, and in the short run, its effects depend on firms’ invoicing decisions. Policymakers should take care before turning to trade sanctions as a remedy.

Claude Barfield, 19 January 2009

This column says the WTO should suspend its formal negotiations for the next twelve months and attempt to head off a wave of protection in the interim. This would enhance the chances for the ultimate success of the Doha Round.

Simon Evenett, 28 January 2009

The current crisis raises serious challenges to the maintenance of open-markets but many policy makers and analysts remain complacent in defending trade openness. This column calls on these actors to defend their convictions, and proposes further debate on the policy options required to get out of the current predicament while protectionism in its many forms.

Richard Baldwin, 04 April 2009

G20 leaders made a number of commitments on trade in their London Communiqué. This column argues that the anti-protection pledge is more credible than the one agreed in the Washington Declaration. The commitment on the Doha Round, by contrast, was pitiful.