Future of the world trading system: Asian perspectives

World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy answers a question during a news conference following a Trade Negotiations Committee meeting, at the WTO Headquarters, in Geneva. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute, and Masahiro Kawai and Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI

The WTO risks losing its centrality in the world trading system due to its focus on 20th century trade issues and lack of progress in the Doha Round.

Asia, meanwhile, has built a deep network of supply chains and is experimenting with new forms of regional trade governance. Read more…

The WTO and global supply chains

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy speaks during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland on 16 December 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute, Geneva and University of Oxford

The cross-border flows of goods, investment, services, know-how and people associated with international production networks — call it ‘supply chain trade’ for short — has transformed the world. But the WTO has not kept pace. Read more…

World trade regime at an historic choice point

Filipino activists wear colorful masks during a rally against the economic liberalization policies pushed by the World Trade Organization at the Mendiola bridge, Manila, Philippines. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett, Vox EU

The world trade system is at an historical fork: WTO members must make a choice.

Key decisions will be taken in discussions that start with the 29th April 2011 meeting of the Doha Round’s steering committee and that will continue for the coming weeks (assuming that this Friday’s meeting avoids an acrimonious breakdown). Read more…

Global trade talks: Doha is doable this year

World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Pascal Lamy looks on during a press conference after a meeting of leading trading nations on the sidelines of the Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 29, 2011 in Davos. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard Baldwin, The Graduate Institute and CEPR

Incredible but true — the Doha Round is likely to conclude this year. The WTO’s current episode of global trade negotiations (a.k.a. the Doha Round) have careened between retrenchments, setbacks, and failures since their launch in November 2001. The reasons for the long delay are complex, but they never included irreconcilable differences. Pareto-improving packages have always been possible; the hard part was deciding among them.

But all that is history. The negotiations are proceeding full speed. The plan is to have the basic political compromise in place by spring and the full package before summer. Read more…

Trade and the G20 Agenda


Author: Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute, Geneva

The G20 agenda seems oddly out of line with the way the global economic crisis is affecting most G20 members. At their November 2008 meeting, leaders thought of this as a financial crisis – and mostly confined to the G7 economies. The crisis was a landmine that the US and European economies had stepped on. As the landmine had been planted by US and European financial markets, the non-G7 members Brazil, India, China, South Africa and other emerging nations seemed only indirectly concerned.

In the past six months, the ‘landmine crisis’ has become a ‘cluster-bomb crisis’ – throwing recession-inducing projectiles in every direction. The Washington declaration matched G7 priorities in what was then mostly a G7 problem. Working with the declaration as a blueprint for the London Summit is no longer good enough. The emerging economies are now directly implicated; their economies are being damaged by a decade of G7 governance failures in financial markets. This changes the type of political guidance that is needed from the G20.

Read more…