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Fred Bergsten of Institute for International Economics is pushing for creation of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific Region (FTAAP) -- a plan B to get the world back on track given the faltering Doha Round (See today's Financial Times column.) An FTAAP with the U.S., Japan, and China and the 18 other current members of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group) constitute half the world economy.
He makes a good argument. Doesn't it also apply to the dormant FTAA (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas) negotiations? The U.S. resisted making any deal on agriculture with Brazil and the other Latin American countries pending the Doha deal. Won't the U.S. have to yield on agriculture in an FTAAP, and will whatever the Asians get on U.S. agriculture be enough for the Latins?
With Jim Kim’s abrupt departure from the World Bank, there has been a swirl of commentary on questions of legacy, the best of which aim to answer the question, “how is the bank doing?” For large multilateral institutions like the World Bank, that’s a frustratingly difficult question to answer. Seemingly objective measures like volume of financing or sectoral targets are simplistic and bring their own value judgements about what the institution should be doing. Annual reports give us a narrative about institutional performance, but a heavily biased one.