Antonella Nocco, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Matteo Salto, 28 April 2019

Multilateralism in trade is currently under attack. Countries that used to be its most fervent supporters seem dissatisfied with its outcomes and think that they would be better off breaking multilateral agreements. At the same time, faced with the exorbitant market power of giant corporations, governments are increasingly active in unilateral protectionist policies. This column argues that while rising firm market power may weaken the argument in favour of laissez faire, it nonetheless reinforces the case for multilateral policy cooperation. 

Marco Buti, Mirco Tomasi, 20 July 2018

International economic cooperation is in crisis. The global economy faces fragmentation across institutional, economic, and social dimensions. This column argues that the task of the G20 is to revamp international economic cooperation and to promote a multilateral approach that addresses the key concerns of our citizens starting with greater inclusiveness and fairness. Europe can play a leading role in a world in search of a new anchor. 

Richard Baldwin, 12 December 2013

The WTO signed a mini-package of trade initiatives in Bali last week. This column argues that the ‘Bali package’ is welcome but not enough. Without some new initiative or direction, the WTO looks set to drift for the next few years. The WTO cannot move ahead until the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic ‘mega-regionals’ are done or dead. In the meantime, the WTO should promote research and discussion on how 21st-century trade issues could be brought into the WTO when the time is ripe.

Lucian Cernat, 08 November 2013

Trade agenda consists of new and old themes, often closely intertwined. Among the new themes, mega-FTAs– in particular the Trans-Pacific and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – have been especially popular. This column discusses the nature of mega-FTAs and their relationship with the multilateral rules. The column concludes that such FTAs promote deep regional integration, but also have positive impact on non-members.

Dany Jaimovich, Richard Baldwin, 02 September 2010

As WTO trade talks languish, what’s driving the surge in regional trade agreements? This column says that regionalism is being driven in large part by the domino effect, in which nations excluded from a trade agreement launch their own negotiations to redress trade diversion. This dynamic is more of a challenge to the WTO than a threat at the moment, but it should not be neglected.

Caroline Freund, Emanuel Ornelas, 02 June 2010

Regional trade agreements have spread rapidly throughout the world since the early 1990s. This column surveys the latest theoretical and empirical research on regionalism, asking whether we should celebrate or be concerned about this trend. It concludes that although countries should approach regionalism with care, such agreements have been more of a blessing than a burden.

Arvind Subramanian, 14 November 2008

The financial crisis affords India an opportunity to punch above its current economic weight. This column urges India to support globally coordinated actions to help limit the economic downturn. Most importantly, India should call for a strong political commitment by all countries to keep markets open and refrain from taking protectionist action.

Marc Flandreau, 23 August 2008

As WTO negotiations have failed, pragmatists have embraced preferential trade agreements. This column presents new evidence on the Anglo-French treaty of 1860 and argues that, contrary to all conventional wisdom, history’s most celebrated bilateral deal did not stimulate trade. That lesson should give pause to modern advocates of preferential trade agreements.

Antoni Estevadeordal, Caroline Freund, Emanuel Ornelas, 25 July 2008

Multilateral liberalisation is moving at a glacier pace while regionalism spreads like wildfire. Recent research suggests that at least in Latin America, regional tariff cutting induced a faster decline in external tariffs, but regionalism is more helpful precisely in the sectors where the multilateral system works best.

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East Asia is the world’s most dynamic region in terms of the growth of incomes, trade and foreign direct investment. It is also experiencing a rapid growth the number of regional trade agreements. Although the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has emerged as the de facto integration hub for FTAs, the lattice of trade agreements is highly complex – a veritable noodle bowl for agreements. How can East Asia ensure that the region’s noodle bowl of FTAs can be consolidated into a single East Asian FTA—a stepping stone toward global integration?
This conference, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank Institute and the Graduate Institute (Geneva)'s Centre for Trade and Economic Integration considers the way forward for "taming the tangle" of trade arrangements in Asia.

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