Alessandro Antimiani, Lucian Cernat, 24 June 2021

Many believe that the global trading system could offer little more to least developed countries beyond the various unilateral preferential schemes currently in place. This column argues that there is room for new multilateral initiatives to strengthen the participation of these countries in global value chains. It advocates for a new ‘GVCs for LDCs’ global preferential scheme based on least developed countries’ value added, thereby covering exports by these countries along the entire supply chain. Estimates suggest that such a scheme would increase global trade, improve least developed countries’ value added, and promote further value chain integration between these and other developing countries.

Douglas Irwin, Maksym Chepeliev, 09 December 2020

The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was a significant policy change that led the move to freer trade by Britain. This column assesses the impact of the repeal using a new general equilibrium framework and input-output data from 1841. The aggregate welfare effects of the policy change were negligible, due to an offsetting terms-of-trade impact and static efficiency gains. However, there were notable distributional consequences, as the welfare of the top 10% of income earners declined while the bottom 90% benefited. In line with recent findings, the move to free trade was thus a progressive ‘pro-poor’ 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.

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