Frihandel i media vecka 25

2019-06-19

Ekonomen Amaku Anku diskuterar i The Africa Report förutsättningarna förutsättningarna för att kontinentens nya frihandelsavtal skall leverera det förväntade välståndet:

“Until we engage with the political ramifications of dropping protection, and remove the other barriers to trade, the benefits of Africa’s Free Trade Zone will be limited.

If, like me, you’ve been wondering what the empirical evidence says about the likely impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on regional African trade, you should read this IMF paper [launches download].

Generally, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) play a much stronger role than tariffs in hindering intra-regional trade in Africa.

These include:

  • quality of infrastructure,
  • poor trade/customs logistics,
  • access to credit/finance,
  • poor education/human capital,
  • the business climate.

So, for example, if you remove all tariffs, you can grow intra-regional trade by 15-25% (with the risk of tariff revenue losses offsetting these gains for certain countries).

But if you reduce NTBs by just 50%, you can grow intra-trade by 35-55%, with a much reduced risk of fiscal impact.

(—)

More diversified and manufacturing-oriented economies are more likely to benefit from trade integration than agricultural and resource-based economies. That means you need significant structural reforms in the latter group to boost efficiency in areas where there is a competitive advantage.

For example, you need to invest in supporting productivity gains, and in helping local firms position to export. This needs to be done before or in conjunction with implementation, otherwise the entire thing will quickly become politically unfeasible
Another area where political caution is needed: the evidence consistently shows that greater trade liberalization comes with an increase in inequality in the short term (arguably also in long term, see current ‘Trumpian backlash’ in the US) as well as a possible decline in income accruing to the poor.

That could exacerbate instability in many countries and eliminate other gains of trade. So again, structural and policy adjustments are really critical to support losers and encourage winners.
Bottom line: How will Africa fund the infrastructure it needs for the AfCFTA to be successful? Or even the tremendous policy coordination required to reduce NTBs? Until and unless we engage with these questions, any real benefits of this agreement will be elusive.”

2019-06-18

Donald Trump och Kinas ledare Xi Jinping kommer att mötas på G20-mötet nästa vecka enligt Washington Post.  Beskedet, som kom tisdag morgon, betyder att hotet om ytterligare tullar på kinesiska varor för 300 miljader, kanske kan undvikas. Det fick börserna i USA att stiga. 

“President Trump said Tuesday morning that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had agreed to meet with him at the G-20 summit next week, a major development amid the ongoing trade war between two of the world’s largest economies.

Trump, in a Twitter post, wrote that he had spoken with Xi by telephone to confirm the meeting. Trump has said for days that he hoped to meet with Xi at the summit in Osaka, Japan, but Chinese officials had not yet confirmed the meeting would occur.

“Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.”

The Twitter post sent the U.S. stocks sharply higher, as investors had long worried that a protracted trade battle between the two nations could damage the U.S. economy and hurt numerous companies.

(—)

The two leaders last met in late 2018, at a G-20 summit in Argentina. At a dinner with top advisers, Trump and Xi agreed to negotiate to resolve the trade battle. But those talks broke down several weeks ago, when U.S. officials accused their Chinese counterparts of backtracking on several commitments.

Among other things, Trump has demanded that China purchase more U.S. goods and create restrictions on the theft of intellectual property. A number of Democrats have supported Trump’s tough tactics, but U.S. businesses have been alarmed that Trump has so far refused to cut a deal with Xi. This uncertainty has led a number of businesses to freeze investment as they wait to see whether the trade war will be resolved soon.

Trump made standing up to China a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign, and he is set to announce his reelection campaign Tuesday night in Orlando.”


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