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Yesterday I attended the launch of a new Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) study on the potential benefits of completing the Doha Round of trade negotiations. While I share that goal, and hope that Gary Hufbauer’s and Jeff Schott’s sharp analysis can help deliver it, it still seems a distant prospect.
As I mentioned in my last post, delegates from the least developed countries (LDCs) are meeting at multilateral institutions in Geneva to determine their priorities and objectives for the upcoming UN MDG review summit in September and the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) conference next May.
On Monday, CGD senior fellow Kim Elliott and I met in Geneva with World Trade Organization (WTO) staff and members of the subcommittee on the least developed countries (known as the LDC group) who are preparing for the once-a-decade United Nations conference focused on least developed countries.
Nearly four months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, and after receiving a letter from former Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress seems prepared to expand access for Haitian apparel exports with the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act. This is important because apparel is one of the few sectors, outside of construction, that can quickly create formal sector jobs for thousands of desperate Haitians, particularly women.
Since the volcanic eruption in Iceland on April 14th, we have been inundated with stories about flight disruptions. Demi Moore can no longer travel to the premiere of her new movie in London. The opening of “Iron Man 2” has been moved from Europe to Los Angeles. Millions of passengers have been stranded in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, as airports from Manchester to Munich to Milan were closed. And now the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging European governments to find ways to “compensate” the airlines for over USD$ 1 billion in lost revenues.
This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post
Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.
But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing this week to discuss motivations and options for reforming U.S. trade preference programs. The session touched on how U.S. trade preferences affect developing countries, and questioned how they could be improved to reflect shifting global challenges.