Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time for radical changes in world trade and WTO rules?

The reported lack of intra US (and especially intra-Democratic party) consensus re all existing and on-going trade agreements, including the WTO Doha was IMO to be expected.

Reportedly, some voices in the US (political, activist/trade union) are calling for renegotiation of existing US trade agreements as well as the WTO's!

We do live in interesting times indeed (an Ancient Chinese curse), maybe too interesting and confusing.

"Everything is volatile" ("ΤΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ ΡΕΙ") is an Ancient Greek aphorism. Does that mean that maybe it is time to re-think the whole body of existing WTO rules or even to redefine the role of the WTO?

The anti-globalisation voices re Services are indicative of the pathology of the current dynamics (also see EU problems with its (intra-EU) Services Directive).

Maybe publicly expressed expectations for a WTO Doha agreement in 2010 should cease with a view to waiting until the recession is over. If anything, they are creating public opinion expectations that may lead to a sense of even bigger failure if there is no agreement in 2010, thus making the cost of failure even higher (at least in world confidence/psychology).

Some provocative food for thought:

Consider the following out of the box syllogisms:

A) Maybe a free trade agreement should include a free immigration agreement

B) Maybe a series of Regional Trade Agreements and Organisations instead of global ones and the WTO are a more realistic systemic for the times, or

B) IMO the best solutions are a) much less globalization OR b) much more (+ more balanced one: including services and immigration)!

As I said, we are "cursed" to live in interesting times.

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