October 21, 2013 | By

Fixing Trade Policy Post-Shutdown

We are just over a week away from the “Frontiers of Economic Integration” conference in Chicago. We will be fortunate to welcome a number of leading trade policy voices from around the world. As much as we can, we hope to feature their work and provide a public forum for discussion here on the blog.

I wanted to kick things off by highlighting the recent work of two participants. Both based in Washington, Dan Ikenson and Claude Barfield are responding to the turbulent recent weeks in US trade policy. Trade was not center stage in the DC fight over the debt limit and government funding, but it was heavily impacted. I make some arguments about the serious implications for advancing trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), over at Foreign Policy.

Dan Ikenson will offer his TPP thoughts at the conference next week. In the meantime, he last week provided a “Roadmap for Success” for the US negotiations with Europe, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. He emphasizes the need to develop a realistic set of goals for the negotiation and to try for a series of three agreements, rather than a single grand bargain.

Claude Barfield says it is crucial, in the wake of the Washington tumult, for the Obama administration to turn full attention to concluding the TPP. He puts this argument in the broader context of US relations with Asia. At the conference, Claude will be demonstrating another facet of his expertise, speaking on intellectual property issues in trade. He  wrote about those issues last month, in a piece on “Sorting out the high-tech patent mess.” That was in the wake of the US Trade Representative’s decision not to block the import of iPhones over a patent-infringement claim.

More voices from the conference and the world of trade policy soon to come.

About

Phil Levy is senior fellow on the global economy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously he was associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He was formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. From 2003 to 2006, he served first as senior economist for trade for President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and then as a member of Secretary of State Rice’s Policy Planning Staff, covering international economic matters. Before working in government, he was a faculty member of Yale University’s Department of Economics for nine years and spent one of those as academic director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization.

His academic writings have appeared in such outlets as The American Economic ReviewEconomic Journal, and theJournal of International Economics. He is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy magazine’s online Shadow Government section and writes on topics including trade policy, economic relations with China, and the European economic crisis. Dr. Levy has testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, the House Committee on Ways and Mean, and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He received his PhD in Economics from Stanford University in 1994 and his AB in Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1988.

Archive


Why are Trade Deals Complicated?

Why not embrace the one-sentence free trade agreement? Consider three examples of the complications that have arisen over the years.

Just a Flesh Wound?

At the end of July, negotiators for the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries failed to conclude a trade agreement. Was the failure just a flesh wound, or was it something more serious?

It’s all Greek to Me

As the Greek suffering mounts and they careen towards Sunday’s referendum, Senior Fellow Phil Levy has two additional questions surrounding the Greek crisis.

Previously, on Game of Trade…

It is traditional, in intricate ongoing dramatic sagas, to begin a new episode with a recap. If you are just tuning in to trade policy prospects in the US Congress, Senior Fellow Phil Levy breaks it down in his latest post on the World of Cents blog.
 

Venn Will They See How Serious This Is?

After the President’s trade policy was blocked in the US Senate yesterday, there was a divide among analysts over just how serious a setback the vote was. But it is difficult to see how the trade agenda could now advance, and the sensitive timing of trade talks means that a delay could be fatal.

Cities and Trade

Last week, the battle to gain trade promotion authority (TPA) began in earnest in Washington.

China Joins the Monetary Party

This week China took an unusually strong measure to goose its economy. It lowered the amount of money that Chinese banks needed to hold in reserve. In theory, this should allow the banks to take those sequestered funds and use them for new loans, thereby stimulating the Chinese economy.

International Ramifications of the Jobs Report

The big news of the morning was that the US economy created 295,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent. Both numbers were better than expected, which seemed to paint a picture of an economy returning to normal after a long, chilly period of slow growth and painful joblessness.


An Economic Question about the President’s Immigration Action

There is a raging debate about whether the President stretched or exceeded his executive powers, but let us set aside the legal and political questions for the moment and consider a (wonkish) economic one: How does the administration envision the demand for low-skilled labor?

Can We Take a Hint?

Trade impasses between the United States and Japan are eminently predictable. They will continue until the Obama administration shows it has achieved domestic agreement on trade. 

New Deficit Numbers in Perspective

In this week of financial market turmoil, there was a notable bit of good news: the US federal budget deficit shrank to 2.8 percent of GDP, its lowest level since 2007. 

Are EU Sanctions Working?

Are EU sanctions on Russia working? If goal is to annoy Russians and make symbolic gesture, then yes. Otherwise, no.


Phantom French Austerity

The New York Times is reporting a brewing political crisis in France. The Prime Minister is planning to dissolve the government in a battle over budgetary belt-tightening.