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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.


Market Access for Developing Countries Threatened Again

Is Congress about to let the Generalized System of Preferences program expire again? The program, under which the United States offers preferential market access to developing countries, is authorized only through the end of July. The program is not ideal—it excludes important products, such as footwear, clothing, and other labor-intensive goods where developing countries have a comparative advantage. But GSP still provides an important boost to countries that want to use trade as a development tool by encouraging investment and job creation in developing countries.

The G-8 Declaration on Tax and Transparency

This is a joint post with Owen Barder. 

International tax has continued to rise up the political agenda, and the crucial UK-hosted G-8 meeting is now approaching.  We’ve updated our draft declaration that we would like to see from that summit, to reflect discussions that have taken place since then, and many valuable comments from a wide range of contributors.

A Little More Transparency at EITI Can Go a Long Way

The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Global Meeting is underway in Sydney.  Today, EITI Chair Clare Short leads a panel discussion of a fundamental strategy review for the organization.  This a pivotal moment for EITI to take steps to create a level playing field for natural resource investors around the world, so that some outliers from China, Russia, India and elsewhere cannot operate according to different standards of transparency than their rivals.

#AppleTax - It's Not Just Apple

This week the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been grilling Apple (sorry) on its tax avoidance. As with similar investigations in the UK, the subcommittee is asking whether major companies are sidestepping their obligation to pay taxes in countries where they do a great deal of business.  While it’s hard to feel sympathetic to obfuscating witnesses from multinational companies and major accounting firms, the real villain of the piece is nowhere present: the international tax system.

Is a US Carbon Tax Hopeless – Forever?

Recently I participated in a roundtable on the future of carbon markets at the Center for American Progress. The discussion, co- sponsored by Climate Advisers, was co-chaired by former U.S. senator Tom Daschle and former EPA administrator Carol Browner, and included CAP chair John Podesta. Jim Kim, the president of the World Bank, made opening remarks.  In other words, the participants included lots of insiders who know a thing or two about how Washington works—and doesn’t.

Seeing Like a State in Africa: Data Needed

I'm a little late to this, but recently Chris Blattman set off an interesting debate by criticizing Bill Gates' recent interest in the quality of GDP statistics in Africa.  Chris worries that Gates is falling into the trap of "seeing like a state" -- i.e.,  from the top down, obsessing over national statistics -- rather than a bottom-up entrepreneur who, presumably, couldn't care less about aggregate GDP numbers.   

Post-2015: Taking Zero Goals to the Body Shop

Up to now, the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (sadly still not widely AKA the HiPoPoDomAe) has done a pretty good job of displaying public collegiality.  But in the lead-up to today’s Panel meetings in New York, that began to break down.  A story in the Guardian suggested that drafts of the report have been described as “absolutely awful&