The fundamental goal of any trade agreement is to promote and undergird government adherence to rule of law, which in turn enables private economic activity to thrive. When coupled with commitments to market access, individuals and companies are free to do business anywhere in the world.
With all the focus on tariffs these days, it is easy to overlook the return of another tool used to limit imports: quotas. Both quotas and tariffs are used to protect domestic industries by artificially raising prices in the domestic market. Their administration and effects, however, differ in specific ways.
The concept of creating a generalized, non-reciprocal system of preferences for developing countries dates back to 1968. But enabling legitimate forms of discrimination has predictably had positive and negative consequences and there’s little economic data to demonstrate the programs have accrued significant benefits.
Trade policy is at a historical crossroads — a jump ball, as it were. As we enjoy the NCAA Tournament, let’s look at four similarities between trade and college basketball.
“Ugly” produce is a local trend serving a niche market. But if it does go global, there are a number of changes that would need to be made to standards at international, national and retailer levels on how we define what food “should” look like.
Discussions are now underway as to whether EU antitrust policies need to be relaxed in order to allow greater latitude to meet the challenge posed by Chinese mega-firms.
The current administration’s use of Section 232 to impose trade-restrictive measures on imports of steel and aluminum has become the source of increasing domestic discontent among steel-using industries, farmers who are the target of retaliatory tariffs, and Members of Congress who are reconsidering having delegated powers over trade to the President. It has also put WTO dispute settlement to an unwelcome test.
Domestic competition policies aim to promote equitable opportunities to compete in the marketplace. They are oriented toward fostering the most efficient use of resources and increasing the incentives to innovate, both of which result in lower prices, better quality, and more choice for consumers. But domestic competition policies have limitations when it comes to cross-border transactions.For over two decades in international forums, governments have discussed whether and how to develop common approaches to national competition policies.
The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement contains provisions on macroeconomic and exchange rate policies for the first time in a trade agreement. By setting a precedent, the Trump administration is likely to insist on similar commitments in future trade negotiations.
Trade in hydrocarbons, fissionable materials and cross-border transmission of electricity largely take place outside the multilateral trading system. Two key developments may now lead to convergence between the energy business and the rules of the WTO.