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Elliott was with the Peterson Institute for many years before joining the Center full-time. Her books published there include Can International Labor Standards Improve under Globalization? (with Richard B. Freeman, 2003), Corruption and the Global Economy (1997), Reciprocity and Retaliation in US Trade Policy (with Thomas O. Bayard, 1994), Measuring the Costs of Protection in the United States (with Gary Hufbauer, 1994), and Economic Sanctions Reconsidered (with Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott, 3rd. ed., 2007). She served on a National Research Council committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards and on the USDA Consultative Group on the Elimination of Child Labor in US Agricultural Imports, and is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions in US Free Trade Agreements. Elliott received a Master of Arts degree, with distinction, in security studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors in political science, from Austin College (1982). In 2004, Austin College named her a Distinguished Alumna.
Growing instability in the developing world as the result of rocketing food prices is forcing policymakers to evaluate a range of policy options. Among their first actions, writes CGD senior fellow Kimberly Elliott, should be to end ill-conceived subsidies for biofuels, especially U.S. subsidies for corn-based ethanol, since crop-to-fuel conversions are not only boosting world food prices but may be accelerating climate change.
Read the blog and comment
Policymakers in the U.S. and European Union have responded to rising oil prices, instability in the Middle East, and concerns about climate change by promoting biofuels as an alternative to petroleum-based gasoline and diesel. But biofuels are now getting much of the blame for soaring food prices and questions are being raised about the purported environmental benefits. As shown in the chart, US production of corn-based ethanol surged over the past two years, coinciding with the run-up in food prices. In 2006, ethanol used 20 percent of the US corn crop, but substituted for only a tiny fraction of gasoline use.
While it is hard to know exactly how much biofuels are to blame for rising food prices, especially for wheat and rice, subsidies for biofuel production are one of the few policy levers available in the short run to relieve demand pressures. So it's odd that a new World Bank analysis of responses to rising food prices prepared for the Development Committee stops short of recommending changes in the aggressive promotion of biofuel use. Most of the note focuses on ways that developing countries can cope, and that the World Bank and donors can help. The short discussion of bio-fuels focuses on the bank's role in "informing the discussion" only to conclude:
Trade-offs between energy security, climate change and food security objectives need to be carefully monitored and integrated into both food and bio-fuel policy actions.
This rather tepid response overlooks the many scientific analyses that raise serious questions about the environmental benefits of the current generation of biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol. It has long been known that substituting corn-based ethanol for gasoline does little to cut greenhouse gas emissions because producing it is so resource-intensive. A literature review from the Congressional Resource Service concluded that using corn ethanol cuts net greenhouse gas emissions by only about 20 percent because of the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides, which are themselves energy-intensive and cause water pollution besides.
Worse, recent research published in Science magazine suggests that when land-use changes are taken into account, production of corn-based ethanol actually leads to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Responding to high prices and a congressional mandate to increase the use of ethanol, farmers are restoring production on environmentally sensitive land that had been protected under a land conservation program. Similarly, the diversion of cropland from food to fuel will lead to even more grasslands being plowed up or forests cut down to meet both the growing demand for ethanol and food. One study (subscription required) estimates that, over a 30-year horizon and taking into account these land-use changes, corn-based ethanol doubles the level of greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline. In response to similar concerns, the European Union recently moved to reconsider its promotion of biodiesel because the policy was contributing to the destruction of Indonesian rainforests to produce palm oil for biodiesel. The U.S. Congress, meanwhile, in thrall to the farm and agribusiness lobbies, has yet to take up the issue.
The evidence is increasingly compelling that the current generation of biofuels is contributing to global hunger and worsening, not helping to address, climate change. They are also only economical as long as oil prices stay high. Investing in research and development of a new generation of biofuels that could be grown on marginal lands not useful for food or forests is a worthwhile endeavor. But in the midst of the current crisis, and given the new evidence on the perverse effects on the environment, continuing to subsidize and promote the use of food crops for fuel is simply unconscionable.
The New York Times yesterday (and Paul Krugman earlier in the week) called on rich countries to "step up to the plate" in confronting the food crisis in developing countries -- in the short run by increasing their donations of food aid. and in the medium run by getting rid of economically inefficient, inequitable, and environmentally unsound subsidies for biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol.
While the sources of current crisis are many -- adverse weather in key producing areas, rising farm costs due to higher oil and fertilizer prices, speculation in financial markets, rising demand, especially for meat, in China, the diversion of crops from food to fuel, and low stocks -- not all of them are amenable to policy changes, at least in the near term.
Rising demand for food in China, India, and other rapidly growing developing countries is the result of reducing poverty and that, of course, is a good thing! Over the longer run, a big part of the answer is for donors and developing country governments to invest more in improving agricultural productivity, as recommended by World Bank President Zoellick in his speech at the Center last week. In terms of what can be done now, this post focuses on the food aid problem and the need to reform US policy. A future post will examine policies to promote biofuels in the United States and Europe.
Food prices are notoriously volatile but the chart shows the magnitude of the present problem, with prices for key grains surging over the past two years to levels not seen in a decade or more and with more recent increases that are off the charts. The human costs of rising prices can be seen in food riots and rising hunger and poverty around the world.
Farmers are responding by increasing their plantings of grains and a US recession should dampen price increases a bit over the next year or so, but immediate and generous action by donors is desperately needed. The World Food Program's call in February for $500 million in increased food aid funds has already been eclipsed by the accelerating price increases. The World Bank study released just this morning also summarizes other safety net and food delivery programs that governments are adopting and that it is supporting in various ways. Strikingly, however, neither the US Department for Agriculture nor the US Agency for International Development had anything on their homepages this morning about the food crisis or plans to increase US assistance.
Beyond the need for an immediate response, the crisis also underscores the need to reform the way the United States delivers food aid. US policy did not create the food crisis but it is making it harder to address. Food aid budgets everywhere are being stretched thin by the escalation in food prices. But US policy compounds the problem by requiring that food aid must be purchased and packaged in the United States and shipped mainly on US-flagged ships. Thus, a good chunk of the US food aid budget gets diverted to higher distribution and transportation costs, which are also going up as a result of oil price hikes and rising freight costs.
Moreover, if the US Congress does not change the farm bill currently being debated, it could make things far worse. Although the House and Senate versions are slightly different, both require that a certain portion of the food aid budget be reserved for longer-term development projects, meaning that less would be available to respond to emergencies. This provision was always problematic but in the current environment, it could be disastrous.
National security has traditionally been the domain of diplomats and military strategists. But as money flows across borders to finance terrorism and weapons proliferation, financial officials and global bankers are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines of national security policy. For the world's financiers, the stakes are high and the risks involve more than the bottom line. Will U.S. foreign policy inform or compete with the profit-driven risk assessments of the world's banking institutions?
The crucial role of the Ohio primary in deciding the Democratic nominee for president is having a regrettable impact on judgment and rhetoric in this campaign, as noted earlier this week by Lawrence MacDonald. But does this necessarily mean that a Democratic president--either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama--along with a Democratic Congress, which has been stubbornly blocking a vote on the trade agreement negotiated with Colombia, would be bad for trade, especially with developing countries?
Not necessarily, at least not relative to a situation where John McCain is president and facing a Democratic Congress (a Republican majority in either chamber seems unlikely at this stage). That political alignment has led to gridlock for the past two years, since the Democrats recaptured both houses of Congress, and the opposite alignment in the 1990s did the same for the last six years of Bill Clinton's presidency. The problem is the increasing lack of trust between the two parties.
Under "trade promotion authority," the US Congress delegates some of its constitutional authority to regulate trade to the executive branch. It allows the president to negotiate trade agreements that the Congress agrees to vote on expeditiously and without amending it. That process requires a certain level of trust on the part of Congress that the president will use the authority in ways that Congress finds acceptable. But increasing political partisanship--generally as well as over trade--has undermined the trust that underpins that process.
There is an even more fundamental reason why a Democratic president and Congress, working together, might do more to put trade back on track. Democrats, at least in their rhetoric, are more committed to working on the domestic policy agenda that is desperately needed to support globalization--from an expanded Trade Adjustment Act, to unemployment insurance reform, and better education and training for workers. And, of course, expanding health care coverage has been a major issue in the campaign.
Still the recent rhetoric is troubling and it has costs that the candidates ignore to their peril once we get past Ohio. The Financial Timessummed them up well in an editorial yesterday:
"The next Democratic administration promises to repair US alliances and standing in the world. A worthy aim. Yet its first act, the party says, will be to tell its closest neighbours that the rules they are all agreed to are defunct – and if they do not like it, tough luck."
A distinguished panel of experts will examine a range of issues relating to the new geopolitics of emerging markets, the current state of global trade relations, South-South cooperation, and how to move global trade forward in 2008. Topics to be covered include Brazil and the new South American regionalism, China's role in Africa, Russian outreach to the
Middle East, transnational Muslim networks, and the future of South-South co-operation, among others. The afternoon program will feature a roundtable on the future of global trade relations and new opportunities for progress in the stalled Doha Round.
After seven years of experience with a unilateral trade agreement aimed at stimulating trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan African countries, the Economic Policy Institute will host a day-long conference on the winners and losers under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Please join TheInternational Labor Rights Forum, Global Policy Network and the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations for the release of a report [PDF] produced by the Netherlands-based Center for Research on Multinational Corporations that will provide the backdrop for a broader analysis and debate on the value of linkage and preference programs un AGOA, and the future of global investment and trade under the New Partnership for Development Act (NPDA).
During the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton was pressured to reject the NAFTA trade agreement being negotiated by the first President Bush with Mexico and Canada. Instead of taking the politically easier route, Clinton committed to implement the agreement, after addressing legitimate concerns about worker rights and environmental conditions in Mexico through side agreements.
By contrast, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), in running for the 2008 Democratic nomination, has called for a "time out" on new trade agreements, including the ongoing (barely) Doha Round of global trade negotiations. She is responding, in part, to the extreme unpopularity of the NAFTA agreement with key segments of the Democratic base, even though the actual negative effects of the deal are vastly exaggerated. Nevertheless, a strategic review of US policy with respect to the negotiation of new bilateral trade agreements is probably overdue, especially the impact of some of the provisions on poorer countries, the effects of trade diversion for those excluded, and the broader systemic impact on the fundamental nondiscrimination norm that has long anchored the international trade system.
But in questioning the worth of reviving the Doha Round, as she did in an interview with the Financial Times, Clinton overreacts and comes across as isolationist and completely oblivious to the consequences for the poorer countries in the world. It is correct, as Clinton implies, that the economic benefits of Doha overall would be modest. The US market is already relatively open so the effects here would be small. But they could be important for some low-income countries that pay the highest tariffs remaining in the US schedule. Those tariffs, on less expensive clothing, footwear, and other products, are also regressive in their effects on US consumers, hitting the poorest at home the hardest. Perhaps most important, failure of the Doha Round could undermine support for the multilateral, rules-based system that is the only thing protecting smaller, poorer countries from predatory trade practices by the powerful.
Senator Clinton's comments on environmental provisions are also difficult to understand. There are no provisions being negotiated in the Doha Round that would "prevent countries enforcing stronger environmental and safety rules." Greater clarification of the rules on those issues may be needed, but that will not happen if the negotiations fail. Moreover, potentially important agreements to reduce fishing subsidies and barriers to environmental technologies could be lost.
Americans have real concerns about the effects of globalization, but what they need are real solutions. Clinton has made a good start with her proposal on ensuring universal access to health care. A package of domestic policies to strengthen the safety net for dislocated workers, to ensure that a lost job-whatever the cause-does not also result in lost health insurance and pensions, and to provide effective and accessible training and quality education opportunities would go much further in addressing American anxieties than scapegoating trade.
Internationally, not "pick[ing] up where President Bush left off," by turning her back on yet another multilateral initiative, would probably look to the rest of the world exactly like picking up where Bush left off on a variety of issues. That would not help to repair the US image, nor help to restore America's soft power.
"Today, the Administration has indicated its readiness to begin technical discussions Thursday morning with key congressional staff on the draft implementing bills … for the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama."
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Press Release, May 4, 2011
I'm encouraged that President Obama and his team are beginning to move on trade policy, but I can't help wondering in what direction they are headed and what it means for development policy. Two of my concerns are highlighted by the timing of USTR's announcement that they will move ahead on the three bilateral trade agreements, though I have no reason to think it was intentional.
First, the USTR announcement comes less than a week after trade negotiators at the World Trade Organization all but nailed the lid on the coffin of the multilateral negotiations known as the Doha Round. The pending bilateral trade agreements will contribute to further fragmentation of the international rules-based system at a time of particular vulnerability, and any weakening of that system is a particular concern for smaller, poorer developing countries.
Second, looking ahead to next week, it is unsurprising but nevertheless distressing that there is no sign U.S. officials will announce plans to open the U.S. market to exports from the poorest countries at the United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul (May 9-13). Extending full market access for LDC exports, which has been on the international agenda since the Millennium Declaration a decade ago, is one of the most obvious deliverables for a conference that will highlight the need for sustainable—and sustained—growth to allow these countries to develop and reduce poverty. Without clear support from the United States, progress on this initiative is unlikely. I’ll expand on my concerns about the direction of U.S. trade policy in a forthcoming CGD note and post-conference blog. Stay tuned.
"Asked how she could justify paying so much money to wealthy farmers when food prices are rising and Democrats are calling for change in Washington, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi listed the bill's nutrition and conservation spending.
"I justify it by saying this is the best farm bill I've ever voted on." - San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2008, p. 1.
In fact, the article on the front page of Speaker Pelosi's hometown newspaper highlights the many reasons that the farm bill passed by the House of Representatives is not a "very big step in the right direction," as Pelosi also claimed. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) agreed that the farm bill "contains many worthwhile polices, including valuable investments in conservation and nutrition programs," but he came down on the other side and was one of only 15 senators voting against the bill today. More than 300 House members voted in favor of the bill yesterday, enough to easily override President Bush's expected—and well-deserved—veto. Reform champions Ron Kind (D-WI), Earl Blumenauer (D-WA) and 13 other brave souls in the majority also deserve kudos for bucking their leadership on this issue.
The absurdities in the farm bill are put in stark relief by reporter Caroyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle article cited above:
"A farm couple will be allowed to earn up to $2.5 million a year before government payments are cut off under new rules that lawmakers called a major reform. An urban couple applying for food stamps is cut off at $17,808 in income and may own only one car."
Yet, this is the best farm bill that Pelosi has ever voted on because, under previous bills, there was no cap at all on the amount of income that a person could earn by farming and still collect subsidies, and individuals could earn as much as $2.4 million in non-farm income and still get a subsidy check from the American taxpayer—that's you and me. Under this year's bill, all subsidies are cut off when non-farm income exceeds $500,000 but, contrary to the Chronicle article, only direct payments, which are paid out no matter how high prices go, are cut off for those earning more than $750,000 from farming. And in each case, a spouse can earn just as much and the household will still be eligible for taxpayer largesse, thus adding up to $2.5 million.
Worse, in order to ensure that farmers selling at the highest prices in decades aren't squeezed too hard, the farm bill cuts funding that had been allocated to provide school lunches for poor kids in developing countries. Even in the midst of a global food crisis, the farm bill also maintains a system for delivering US food aid that means that tens of millions of dollars go to American shipping companies rather than to feeding hungry people. The farm bill also continues policies that have already been found to violate US obligations under international trade rules and, according to the Chronicle, it would allow farmers to collect subsidies for crops grown on newly plowed grasslands, which contributes to global warming.
Relative to past farm bills, maybe you could call this reform. But is it really the best that Congress can do?
Adam Thomson, in today’s Financial Times, writes of the coup in Honduras as an echo of 1980s violence in Central America. But, in fact, the past is not as distant as much of the coverage of the coup suggests and the seemingly forgotten autogolpe, or “self coup” in Guatemala in 1993 may offer some lessons for today.
As documented in the case study in my book on economic sanctions (with Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott for the Peterson Institute), President Jorge Serrano, with the support of the military, dissolved Congress and the Supreme Court, suspended the constitution and arrested political opponents. In less than two weeks, however, both the president and vice president had stepped down and the Guatemalan Congress had appointed the country’s human rights commissioner as interim president until elections could be held.
While there are important differences between the situation in Guatemala then and Honduras today, there are also differences in the response of the international community. Then, the United States not only cut off economic aid within 4 days of the coup, it also threatened to revoke Guatemala’s preferential access to the U.S. market for its exports. The OAS, as it has done today, condemned the coup and announced plans to send a fact-finding mission to Guatemala; the European Community suspended aid the day after the United States, and Japan followed a few days after that.
Within days, the Guatemalan military ousted Serrano and, after some confusion, tried to install Vice President Espina. That action was met with protests in Guatemala and a renewed threat from U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher that the U.S. would impose trade sanctions if democracy was not quickly restored. Two days later, the military and Espina gave way and Human Rights Commissioner Ramiro De Leon Carpio was appointed interim president.
The reaction to the coup in Honduras was similarly swift, but somewhat more ambivalent, with the United States suspending disbursements of a small amount of aid but not raising the possibility of trade sanctions, as also noted by Robert Naiman in today’s Huffington Post. There are reasons to be careful in the use of trade sanctions, because they can be perverted for narrow, protectionist purposes and can harm innocent civilians in the target country. But the Guatemalan case shows that just the threat of restricting exports, when made forcefully, can be a powerful tool.
So the zombie that began as the Doha Development Agenda in 2001 continues to loom over the international trade system: neither dead nor alive and with no one willing to drive a stake through its heart. Two-thirds of those who took our little poll last week thought that ministers should bury Doha and move on. Indeed, the ministerial generated so little attention and such low expectations that two-thirds were not even aware that it was happening. An even larger majority—almost 90 percent—did not see the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional negotiations as a good alternative, and I agree.
What was on the table when the Doha Round stalled would have locked in reductions in agricultural subsidies in rich countries and tariffs on industrial goods in developing countries. It would not have done much on services or in some other crucial areas, but it would have been a positive step forward. The process, however, is clearly broken, the agenda is increasingly outmoded, and a fresh start is needed. Here’s hoping for that in 2012!
A report in the Financial Times by John Thornhill leads with a remarkable quote from French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning the EU that he would block a proposed World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on agriculture that would reduce European production incentives:
In a world where there are 800m poor people who cannot satisfy their hunger and where a kid dies every 30 seconds from hunger, I will never accept a reduction in agricultural production on the altar of global liberalism.
President Sarkozy is happy to have French farmers feed poor, hungry people in developing countries, but not happy to have those people improve their livelihoods by competing with French farmers on a level playing field. According to the OECD, between a quarter and a third of European Union farm receipts in recent years are the result of government subsidies and price support programs. Until the recent price spikes, one effect of the generous farm subsidies provided by Europe, the United States, Japan and other rich countries was to push down world prices, thereby depressing the incomes of farmers in countries that could not afford such largesse and reducing incentives for farmers in those countries to produce more domestically. France has been one of the strongest advocates of retaining these trade-distorting policies.
With elections in the United States this fall and in India next year, the barely alive Doha Round of international trade negotiations is facing a long hiatus or even failure if ministers cannot achieve a breakthrough in meetings later this month at the WTO. Success in these negotiations would not have any immediate impact on the current food crisis, both because any agreement would be phased in over a number of years and because feasible reforms are likely to be modest. But an agreement to reduce trade and production-distorting policies in rich countries would create opportunities and incentives for farmers in developing countries to increase production over the longer run. If President Sarkozy succeeds in blocking progress at the WTO in Geneva, no one should be fooled into thinking that failure of the talks is somehow in the interest of poor and hungry people around the world.
The US Senate last Thursday passed a temporary extension of programs providing preferential access to the US market for developing countries. This is better than letting these programs expire but not as good as putting them on a more permanent footing.
The Generalized System of Preferences, which was last extended in 2006, and a regional program covering Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, which has been extended four times in the past two years, were extended for up to one more year. The House followed suit on Friday before leaving town to campaign, and the bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.
The goal of these preference programs, along with separate regional programs for sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, is to encourage investment and job creation in poorer countries. The pattern of repeated, relatively short-term extensions undercuts that goal, however, by creating uncertainty among investors and buyers about the stability of the access provided. Congressman Rangel (D-NY), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has announced that he wants to review and reform these programs next year. Making them permanent -- or at least extending them for a longer period, say 10 years- -- should be a central part of that reform.
The Doha Round of international trade negotiations collapsed yesterday and prospects for reviving it are dim. A key factor in the collapse was reportedly the insistence by developing countries, led by India and China, that they need maximum flexibility to protect their agricultural sectors for food security reasons and to protect subsistence farmers. In the end, a more fundamental reason seems to have been that India and China are growing rapidly and had little interest in whether the Doha Round succeeded or not. While those countries are big enough and strong enough to take care of themselves in a power-based trading system, the smaller developing countries that they claimed to represent will pay the price of their intransigence.
Other important issues remained to be resolved, of course, but resistance to agricultural reform was the key stumbling block, as it has been throughout the 7 years of negotiation. In the current environment, this seems odd, as the New York Times noted this morning:
"[S]oaring food prices provided another rare opportunity for a deal, since European and American farmers are prospering. It may never be easier to reduce farm subsidies [in rich countries]… .”
In addition, many developing countries have been unilaterally cutting import tariffs to lower the price of imported food. But instead of making compromise easier, concerns about food security among developing countries, particularly India and China, made them even more reluctant to lock in any tariff cuts in the Doha negotiations. Developing countries with large numbers of rural poor need some policy flexibility, but the broad protection for virtually the entire agricultural sector that was sought by some developing country negotiators was more than what is needed to pursue the stated goals of food security and protection for subsistence farmers.
Moreover, developing countries criticized the US offer to cut agricultural subsidies as insufficient because it would not cut into current payments, which are low because prices are high. In addition, the recent spike in commodity prices came too late in the writing of the US farm bill to reverse Congress's course of increasing subsidies, and that undercut the credibility of US trade negotiators. But the US offer on subsidies would have entailed real restraint on subsidies when it mattered most -- when prices fall. And a successful agreement would have locked in European Union reforms that have significantly reduced trade-distorting subsidies, including the elimination of export subsidies.
The deal that was emerging in Geneva would, thus, have had tangible if modest economic benefits for most developing (and developed) countries. Of more concern than those losses is the risk that smaller, poorer developing countries will suffer if Doha's failure leads to further erosion of the rules-based international trade system and negotiation of yet more bilateral and regional trade deals from which they will mostly be excluded.
How many readers were even aware that a meeting of trade minsters is happening in Geneva later this week? How many care? Two years ago, I wrote a blog post about the 2009 ministerial meeting headlined “to blog or not to blog…” because nothing was expected to happen, and nothing did. This year, I’m reverting to the original expression because it is (past) time for a decision on what to do with the Doha Round—finish it or bury it and move on. Institutional issues at the World Trade Organization, which are supposed to be the focus of the regular biennial meetings of ministers, are being neglected; the US Trade Representative uses the Doha Round as an excuse not to move on duty-free, quota-free market access for poor countries (see my forthcoming CGD note on this); and a variety of changes in the global economy—increased regionalism, the rise of China, the spread of fragmented manufacturing—mean that the negotiating agenda is behind the times.
The Obama administration has done nothing to help revive the Doha Round and is focusing its efforts on negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership with eight relatively small countries, four of which already have bilateral trade agreements with the United States. My colleague Arvind Subramanian and co-author Aaditya Mattoo argued in the Financial Times last week that this priority is misguided because it ignores China, and also that the Doha Round agenda is passé. They argue for a new multilateral effort with an agenda focused on issues raised by China’s growing dominance of the global economy. The details of the argument and the agenda—including manipulation of exchange rates, trade measures and climate change, government procurement, and food and energy access issues—are here. They also call for increased disciplines on regionalism as the only way to ensure that China is embedded in the multilateral trade system. While I might disagree with some of the details, I agree entirely on shifting the focus back to the multilateral forum.
But I’d like to know what you think. Please take a minute to fill out the mini-survey below. I’ll report next week on what our readers think, as well as what did, or didn’t, happen in Geneva.