Wednesday, August 30, 2006

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Gone to APSA -- go read something else I've written.

I'll be at the American Political Science Association annual meeting for the next couple of days. Posting may be light. Rookie APSA attendees should read click here.

In the meantime, devoted fans of can click here to read my just-released book from the Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Trade Strategy: Free Versus Fair. From the press release:

While policymakers agree that promoting trade expansion serves U.S. national interests, they disagree on how to accomplish this goal. U.S.Trade Strategy: Free Versus Fair, by Tufts University’s Daniel W. Drezner, is a primer on trade policy. Written as a policy memo to an American president, this Council Critical Policy Choice (CPC), published by CFR press, does not argue for a particular policy but outlines two distinct options.

The “free trade” approach seeks to ensure the full realization of the economic and political benefits of free trade. It recommends a renewed commitment to the success of the Doharound of trade negotiations through top-level U.S.involvement in the negotiations and a willingness to resist domestic political pressures regarding issues such as outsourcing, textiles, and agriculture.

The “fair trade” approach seeks to balance the economic benefits of free trade with other values—community stability and income security, for instance—even at the cost of foregoing some of the benefits of trade. This approach recommends a tougher stance, in trade negotiations and in Congress, to ensure receptivity to American exports and to stem the tide of outsourcing and other potential threats to U.S.interests.

“Trade has become one of the most significant and controversial subjects in the international arena,” said Council President Richard N. Haass. “It is also one of the most complex. This book provides students, professors, and others a basic text that will help them better understand the many dimensions of trade policy and help them sort out where they stand on this critical issue.”

In addition to presenting these two alternatives, the book includes background papers on four recurring challenges to U.S. trade policy: balancing America’s trade and current account deficits, managing the intersection of trade policy and issues such as intellectual property and labor standards, supporting workers adversely affected by trade, and harmonizing the multiple tracks of trade diplomacy. The resulting product is a compact, accessible volume on the substance and politics of trade policy.

If you want to save yourself some dough and download the whole thing as a .pdf file, then click here.

Curious Fletcher students who have stumbled onto the blog can also get a sneak preview of my (still subject to last-minute changes) syllabus for DHP P217 -- Global Political Economy -- by clicking here.

posted by Dan on 08.30.06 at 06:22 PM


Here's a question I hope Dan's book answers: what is his conception of "top-level involvement" in Doha Round negotiations?

There are two distinct possible modes of involvement at the Presidential level (or conceivably just below it. This is more conceivable in this administration than it would have been in most others). One involves direct Presidential discussions with other heads of state, either to resolve disagreements the parameters of which are well understood by everyone or to ratify an agreement already substantially concluded at lower levels and requiring for political reasons the public blessing of heads of government. We'd not likely see this kind of involvement from President Bush, if only because disagreements standing in the path of a Doha accord are both deep and numerous. Bush is also, to be sure, no negotiator and especially no trade negotiator, but with the Doha round in the state it's in that is a moot point.

But Bush (or any President) could also become effectively and deeply involved in trade negotiations simply by empowering his USTR. On one level this ought to be easy; Bush has had USTRs of unusual ability throughout his tenure in the White House. If he let current USTR Susan Schwab devise a new American negotiating platform on key issues relating to agriculture trade, for example, and backed her up when she took the inevitable criticism from Congress, from interest groups and from foreign governments, that could roust some of our interlocutors on trade out of the trenches they have dug and prompt them to come up with new ideas of their own.

Would it be enough at this point? My sense is, probably not. America is a convenient scapegoat in many countries for the evident failure of the Doha Round, but it is not the primary cause. It is also true, though, that a USTR crafting negotiating positions that would require politically painful steps from the administration could not expect any support from this President. This was pretty much the case even when Bush's appoval numbers were high, and is likely even more true now. From a more traditionally Reaganite Republican perspective, the Doha Round had some value just because it offered potential political cover for cuts in (for example) farm subsidies that ought to be made anyway. But George W. Bush is not Ronald Reagan. Reagan was no more engaged in the details of trade negotiations than Bush is, but he knew he wanted trade liberalization and was prepared to let his appointees incur some political risk to get it. That kind of "top-level US involvement" could have been helpful earlier in the Doha Round. I suspect it is too late now.

posted by: Zathras on 08.30.06 at 06:22 PM [permalink]

Congratulations on the book.

And the Rustbelt thanks you for being fair and realistic.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 08.30.06 at 06:22 PM [permalink]

“Trade has become one of the most significant and controversial subjects in the international arena,” Richard Haass

Has become? Where has Haass been for the past 40-50 years? A blurb like that can kill a book, especially when combined with the stale "fair" vs. "free" angle in the title.

It may be a great book and it may offer a terrific strategy, or it may simply be a decent text-bookish introduction to the subject. But the CFR press release makes it sound like the rediscovery of an ancient text.

posted by: Gene on 08.30.06 at 06:22 PM [permalink]

I'm disappointed that strategy 3 was not included--unilateral free trade. UFT gets most of the benefits of free trade (cheaper imports that raise the standard of living by enabling better specialization) without holding the US hostage to foreign countries' internal political problems. UFT avoids employing the "crowbar" theory of prying open foreign markets and thus drastically increases diplomatic captial available for other international economic issues. Finally, UFT clarifies the debate over cushioning citizens from creative destruction by putting trade shocks, domestic relocation shocks, and technological/organizational shocks on an even footing.

Of course, UFT is politically difficult to implement and would require lots of leadership, persuasion, and education. But the political ease of pulling off Doha-style agreements has been greatly exaggerated. The "fair" trade posiiton, of course, is just a fancy way of slowing growth in the standard of living.

posted by: srp on 08.30.06 at 06:22 PM [permalink]

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