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Views from the Center

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Trade at the Seoul Summit: Will the G-20 Finally Move Forward on Improving Access for Poor Countries?

There actually seems to be hope that next week’s G20 summit will move beyond the tired mantra to finish the Doha Round and give a push to the Millennium Declaration commitment to provide duty-free, quota-free market access for the world’s poorest countries. This is an opportunity to contribute to job creation and growth when the global economy is still fragile. Furthermore, it would have minimal impact on importing countries since the least-developed countries account for around 1 percent of global trade.

Multilateralism on Currency Issues

This article also appeared in the Business Standard.

Back in 1971, the then US Treasury Secretary, John Connolly, told his European counterparts that the dollar was “our currency, but your problem”. Today, it seems that China has returned that favour. Its currency has become a problem for the US. Not just the politics but the intellectual climate has become charged with even Nobel laureate Paul Krugman urging strong trade action against China. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has a damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don’t choice facing him in mid-April, when he is required by law to pronounce on whether China is a currency manipulator.

A Development Perspective on China’s Currency—And a Fresh WTO Solution

My colleage Arvind Subramanian published an intriguing Op-Ed in the Financial Times this week. In “The Weak Renminbi is Not Just America’s Problem” Arvind notes that the undervalued Chinese currency is a global problem that requires a multilateral response. He then argues persuasively that neither the United States nor the IMF can be expected to persuade China to revalue its currency. Instead, he says, such action should come from the WTO.