U.S. Needs Bold New Strategy To Advance Global Trade Objectives

Feb. 5, 2009
MAPI says existing Doha Round negotiations are no longer in the U.S. interest

In response to the stalemate of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, the Obama Administration has the opportunity to embark upon a new and more effective trade strategy with significant advantages for both industrialized and emerging market nations, according to a new Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI policy review, entitled "A New Trade Strategy: From Here to Multilateral Free Trade."

Ernest Preeg, Senior Fellow in Trade and Productivity and report author, assesses the existing Doha Round negotiations as no longer in the U.S. interest, principally because newly industrialized nations, including China, India, and Brazil, are largely exempt from reciprocal reductions in import barriers.

A new trade strategy is then proposed which would consolidate the now more than 400 bilateral free trade and other preferential agreements into a multilateral free trade agreement for nonagricultural trade, in parallel with agreements for substantial and more balanced trade liberalization for agriculture and services. Preeg characterizes this strategy as "bold and forward looking," while "politically feasible and in the mutual interest of all principal participants."

"It is decision time for trade strategy. A Chinese proverb warns that 'many a false step is taken by standing still.' This could well be the outcome for U.S. trade policy over the next couple of years. Far better would be to reassert a leadership role for multilateral free trade."

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