Archive for December, 2008

Obama Picks Ron Kirk as Trade Representative

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The incoming Obama administration has annouced that Ron Kirk will be the new US Trade Representative. (We previously linked to reports that Xavier Becerra would be the new USTR, but apparently he said no.) Kirk is a former mayor of Dallas, Texas, who doesn’t seem to have much of a background on trade issues. But [...]

Asian Monetary Fund?

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Apparently the 10 countries of ASEAN are ready to set up an Asian Monetary Fund – an idea which has been floating around since the 1997-8 Asian Financial Crisis.  AFP is reporting that an “AMF” worth $120 billion will be set up at a regional meeting in February.  The idea for an AMF emerged after [...]

Out of (South) Africa

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Johanesburg’s The Times has a great article this week looking at the way that the IMF & World Bank have influenced the policies of post-aparteid South Africa.  The article is an excerpt from ANC MP Ben Turok’s new book From the Freedom Charter to Polokwane: The Evolution of ANC Economic Policy. And for an amazing [...]

Obama’s Pick for US Trade Rep?

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Apparently Obama is likely to choose Rep. Xavier Becerraas his new Trade Representative.  You can read a bit about him here.

FTAs Badly Failing Australia

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

The Australian Parliamentary Library has released a Background Note analysing Australia’s bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which shows how clearly destructive they have been (although the analysis is only from an economic perspective).  It starts by noting that FTAs aren’t really that much about trade anyway: Research suggests that FTAs offer little in the way [...]

Globalisation & the Decline of the Welfare State

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Dani Rodrik points to some interesting economic research which “suggests that as technological progress and multilateral trade liberalisation have made borders less of a barrier to economic activity, the scope of redistribution policies has become smaller.” Apparently there is a correlation between a more open economy and lower spending on social welfare programs. This makes [...]

Do tariffs matter any more?

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Martin Feil has an interesting article in The Age today criticising “free trade” as not particularly free.  he argues that The global industry protection policy development of the past 30 years has moved light years away from tariffs and has extended into the much broader arena of every other form of government assistance. Our government [...]