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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.
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.
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.
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.