Tuesday, October 3, 2006

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What I asked the USTR

When we last left your humble blogger, he was heading to DC to talk about trade with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and a few other folks at an AEI conference.

Alas, I was unable to access the internet this morning, and so had no opportunity to view the range of questions that I could relay one to the USTR (it would have been Zathras'). However, the following exchange did take place:

ME: There seems to be a catch-22 on reviving Doha. Other countries won't negotiate seriously with the United States unless they believe that we can get TPA renewed. At the same time, the only way that TPA is likely to be renewed is if Congressmen seen the outline of a Doha deal. How does one escape this conundrum?

SCHWAB: Good question. [Long pause.]

So, call me skeptical on the odds of Doha being completed anytime soon. I should stress that this isn't Schwab's fault... it's the hand she was dealt.

One last thought: As David Kane has observed, both Schwab and I are graduates of Williams College. When I was intriduced to the ambassador, I mentioned that we shared the same alma mater. And, for just a brief second, the wised-up, cautious face of a politician was replaced by the joyful look of recognition when one Eph recognizes another Eph.

posted by Dan on 10.03.06 at 07:54 PM


Dan, I was there. (Cough, realising about to say something really nerdy) Terrifically entertaining panel. AS you probably will have gathered from the discussion, part of the trade fight is grappling with an almost ceaseless series of catch-22s - development agenda versus a mercantilist, punishing bargain being only one. The point is actually just to keep having the fight, because a compromise eventually comes about that holds and becomes the new orthodoxy, and moves the liberalisation process along. Is there a trade policy structural analysis that approximates Kuhn's "paradigm shift" approach? If not, there should be.

posted by: Sturt on 10.03.06 at 07:54 PM [permalink]

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