A few hours after the beginning of 2010, here are a few thoughts of the state and future of inter-national trade (global-WTO, regional, etc) and globalisation's systemics and dynamics in general, inpired by the entry into force today, Jan. 1, 2010, of a free trade area between China and 6 of the 10 ASEAN countries.
1) The free trade area between China and 6 of the ASEAN 10 (more of the ASEAN members may join within 5 years) that eliminates tariffs in 90% of products. Is it another "nail in the coffin" of the WTO and Doha?
The 6 are: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and happen to be the founding members of ASEAN!
2a) Was the Trojan War, circa 1300-1100 BC, a result of a trade pact between the city-states of Ancient Greece (and thus Homer, pop story teller rather a historian, a few centuries later, used, in his stories re the Iliad and the Odyssey, "Helen" as a poetic license type of proxy for trade)?
2b) Were the Hellenistic Times (after the death of Alexander the Great, 4th century BC, probably the most "balanced" globalisation that humankind has seen so far? IMO, yes!
3) Does Regional free trade make more sense these days than the Global (WTO) one?
4) Should the EU and the USA leave the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and base their trade on existing + future bilateral and regional agreements? More thoughts on the rationale for such a scenario coming in future posts.
For previous posts on this and related matters check the posts labelled "globalisation" and "WTO" in this blog.