Thursday, February 6, 2003

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IS THE U.S. SHAFTING MUSLIM COUNTRIES ON TRADE?: The Progressive Policy Institute just issued a policy report warning that current U.S. trade policy will undermine the war on terrorism. Because the U.S. is actively pursuing bilateral and regional trade deals with much of Latin America, Africa, and East Asia, the Middle Eastern countries are falling behind by standing still: "Of the 70-90 countries covered by U.S. regional/bilateral trade inititatives planned for 2003-2005, only one (Morocco) is in the Middle East." Since these countries have similar export portfolios, the creation of new trade deals will lead to a lot of trade diversion -- with other developing countries replacing Middle Eastern exports to the U.S.

The report overreaches a bit. These countries have brought a lot of this difficulty on themselves, with protectionist, dirigiste policies. Only half of the Arab League's members are WTO members; by one measure, Arab countries are among the least globalized states in the world. That said, it has some decent policy proposals, and is worth a look.

posted by Dan on 02.06.03 at 11:14 AM