Events of the last year have raised questions about the future growth of international trade. This column examines the role played by ‘global firms’ that both import and export, and are likely to be part of multinationals, in the international economy. In a world of interdependent firm decisions, small reductions in tariffs or trade costs can have magnified effects on trade flows, as they induce firms to serve more markets with more products at greater volumes, and also to source greater volumes of intermediate inputs from more countries. At the same time, policies to restrict imports can end up hurting producers for whom both importing and exporting are a central pillar of their overall business strategy.
Andrew Bernard, J. Bradford Jensen, Stephen Redding, Peter Schott, 22 December 2016
Simon Evenett, 08 August 2016
The UK must now formulate and execute an independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years. This column summarises the catalogue of failure that has been the governance of the world trading system in the 21st century, and proposes Ten Commandments to guide UK trade ministers in the forthcoming negotiations.
Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, 26 July 2016
Trade ministries, just as other parts of government, need to respond to calls from the public and from global leaders for action on major issues. This column argues that armed with potential policy options identified through the E15Initiative, the WTO is equipped to contribute to solutions in many areas. Purposeful efforts over the coming months and years could help to boost the WTO’s essential and valuable place in ensuring a responsive and inclusive furtherance of globalisation and trade and investment integration that delivers sustainable development outcomes for all.
Chad Bown, Meredith Crowley, 05 June 2016
Free trade is under fire in nations across the world. This column surveys evidence on the importance of trade barriers. There is substantial variation in applied trade policy across countries, industries, and their trading partners, both cross-sectionally and over time. The variation found in these newly available and increasingly detailed databases offer researchers the opportunity to analyse and better understand firm-level trade, aggregate trade, and the shock to the world economy precipitated by China’s phenomenal export growth.
Services are gaining ever more importance in global trade and employment. While there is increasing consensus that the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) represents an inadequate international framework for services trade governance, sound economic policy prescriptions to support ongoing multilateral negotiations remain scarce.
Meanwhile, recent and forthcoming preferential trade agreements like CETA, TiSA, TPP and TTIP are filling the void, with yet unpredictable and potentially significant effects on labour markets. Given the crucial role of the services sector as the world's largest purveyor of employment, gaining a sounder understanding of the nexus between trade policies, services and labour markets is hence of utmost importance.
To that end, this workshop invites submissions on research in the domain of services trade and its implications for the labour market. We are particularly interested in analyses that substantiate specific policy recommendations.
Hongyong Zhang, 07 January 2016
Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership were far from smooth sailing, leaving the outlook of Japan’s trade policy uncertain for some time. This column examines the effect of the TPP agreement and the resulting resolution of trade policy uncertainty on the promotion of trade and innovation activities.
Vincent Anesi, Giovanni Facchini, 08 August 2015
In international trade disputes, coercion is often used against governments whose trade practices are deemed unfair. This column presents a theoretical model that offers a new rationale for the greater effectiveness of multilateral compared to unilateral coercion, and hence provides a new argument in favour of commitment to international organisations.
Reuven Glick, Andrew Rose, 15 June 2015
The Economic and Monetary Union in Europe has recently been the source of a lot of pain. Its economic benefits often seem a lot harder to measure. This column reconsiders earlier opinions on the trade effects of currency unions using the latest data and methodologies. It suggests the euro has at least a mildly stimulating effect on exports. However, the switches and reversals across methodologies do not make allowances for any bold statements.
Ralph Ossa, 11 June 2015
The WTO has so far failed to deliver any significant multilateral trade liberalisation. However, this column argues that concluding from this that the WTO is a failure would clearly be premature. Its punchline is that the WTO’s success at preventing trade wars far outweighs its failure to promote trade talks. Overall, the WTO is therefore much more successful than the ailing Doha Round suggests.
Ryuhei Wakasugi, 02 June 2015
The Chinese government significantly restructured and modernised its economy to gain WTO accession in December 2001. This column examines how WTO entry affected different types of firms. It finds that both private and State-owned firms became more productive after WTO entry yet these productivity gains did not translate into a higher propensity to export for State-owned enterprises.
Emily Blanchard, Xenia Matschke, 30 April 2015
Recent decades have witnessed a dramatic shift in the nature of world trade brought about by the unbundling of international production. One implication is that lobbying by a nation’s firms can be partly influenced by a desired to protect their production facilities abroad. This column presents evidence that US imports from countries and industries with greater offshoring activity by US multinationals face distinctly lower trade barriers.
John Whalley, Daqing Yao, 23 February 2015
Since September 2013 China has been operating a new form of free trade zone based in a small area of Shanghai. This column describes the implied new trade and investment policies in detail and concludes that the new special zone is likely to be a first step towards a floating exchange rate, free capital account and independent monetary policy.
Magnus Lodefalk, 16 January 2015
The manufacturing sector in OECD countries increasingly buys, produces, sells and exports services. This is now known as the servicification of manufacturing. This column, using firm-level data from Sweden, shows that as firms’ share of in-house services increases, so does their export intensity. The increasing complementarities between services and trade in goods thus imply that the different trade policies for goods and services are an antiquated divide.
Lucian Cernat, 08 December 2014
The world of international trade has been in constant evolution since the rise of containerisation. This column makes the case for the need to upgrade our toolbox for trade policy analysis. An upgraded "Trade Policy Analysis 2.0" would be based on firm-level statistics and a much more refined product disaggregation, both of which are now becoming widely available.
Atsuyuki Kato, 25 November 2014
A large literature shows the importance of firm heterogeneity in determining trade patterns. This column discusses policy implementation issues related to the ‘new new trade theory’. The nature of an export good – be it consumption or production oriented – influences the importance of firm productivity in the export decision. The relationship between productivity and markups also varies across industries; pro-export policies must take account of this, lest they exacerbate distortion.
Kym Anderson, Maros Ivanic, Will Martin, 03 August 2013
Food prices in international markets have spiked three times in the past five years. Most governments responded by altering trade restrictions to insulate the domestic market. Did this work? This column presents new research suggesting that altering trade restrictions has less impact than is commonly thought. Since there are other options – such as conditional cash transfers – that could better, more efficiently and more equitably protect against poverty, it is time we sought a multilateral agreement to desist from changing restrictions on trade when international food prices spike.
Peter Egger, Georg Wamser, 07 June 2013
Free trade agreements are often signed in conjunction with other bilateral economic agreements such as investment agreements, double taxation treaties, or even currency agreements. This column argues that this trend reflects the greater complexity of 21st century economic integration – especially the intertwining of FDI and trade in goods and services. Economists should analyse the effects of all such agreement conjointly. Failing to do so may result in attributing trade booms to the wrong policies.
The course is open for applications and is suitable for government officials, NGO staff and private sector professionals from both the developed and developing world.
- Participants will familiarise themselves with key conceptual issues and with a clear framework for the analysis of a range of trade policy issues.
- Participants will be trained in the use of the TradeSift software to effectively interrogate data on trade in goods and services, in order to support their analysis
Peter Draper, 16 July 2012
Fundamental changes to global value chains are afoot. This column argues that over the next decade the underlying cost structures driving their location could change dramatically. It presents a recent report on the political economy of value chains and the implications for developing countries and trade policy.
Richard Baldwin, 30 May 2012
In the late 1980s, developing nations that had eschewed all forms of liberalisation began to cut their import tariffs unilaterally. This column explains how the communication-technology revolution was the shock that altered the political-economy equilibrium against infant-industry protection and in favour of joining international supply chains which involved tariff liberalisation.