Commentaries

  • Preferential trade agreements and the world trade system: a multilateralist view

    This paper reviews recent developments in international trade to evaluate several arguments concerning the merits of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and their place in the world trade system.

  • India: The Use of Temporary Trade Barriers

    While India did not use antidumping, safeguards, and countervailing measures (temporary trade barriers) prior to 1992, it subsequently came to become the WTO system’s dominant user of those policies. There was also an increase in India’s use of global safeguard investigations as well as China-specific safeguards during the global economic crisis. However, the process of tariff liberalisation continued during such period, and it is possible that India’s use of temporary trade barriers might have helped it move in that direction.

  • Maintaining WTO discipline: Procedural guidelines versus economic substance in GATT/WTO safeguards

    WTO rules for safeguards have helped individual WTO Members to discipline domestic protectionist interests and to advance a generally liberal trade policy stance. This constructive use of safeguards and other trade remedies has been more effectively supported by the parts of the rules that deal with procedure (e.g., participation of interested parties) than by those parts that attempt to specify the circumstances in which an import restriction is permitted (e.g., serious injury to a domestic industry that results from imports). The chapter advances these points by describing how Latin American reformers used safeguards and anti-dumping as part of the liberalizations they have put in place in recent decades.

  • Domestic policies, hidden protection and the GATT/WTO

    As tariff barriers have fallen worldwide, regulation of domestic policy has become increasingly important in international trade agreements. This has led to the emergence of a theoretical literature addressing the integration of perfectly observable domestic policy into trade agreements. However, the assumption that domestic policy is perfectly observable is problematic since the interpretation and enforcement of domestic policy statutes is often non-transparent.

  • Emerging economies, trade policy, and macroeconomic shocks

    This paper estimates the impact of macroeconomic shocks on the trade policies of thirteen major emerging economies over 1989-2010; by 2010, these WTO member countries collectively accounted for 21 percent of world merchandise imports and 22 percent of world GDP.