November 24th, 2015
* All industrialised countries should extend duty-free and quota-free access not just to least-developed countries, but to all low-income countries.
* Industrialised countries should agree to an accelerated phase out of the Multi-Fibre Agreement, and to cuts in tariffs on textiles and garments.
* Farm subsidies should be restructured to reduce over-production and support less intensive agriculture, with an immediate ban on exports of agricultural goods at prices below costs of production.
* The public health safeguards in the TRIPS agreement should be strengthened and the wider agreement reformed to allow developing countries scope for importing, copying and adapting new technologies.
* There should be no compulsion on developing countries to enter liberalisation negotiations in areas such as services, investment, procurement, and competition policy.
* The IMF and the World Bank should remove trade liberalisation from its loan conditions.…
November 17th, 2015
What does the Doha trade round need to do to deserve to be called a development round, asks Barbara Stocking?
International trade generates extreme views. Globalisation enthusiasts ignore the role of trade in reinforcing global inequalities. They also turn a blind eye to the paradox at the heart of globalisation: the perpetuation of mass poverty amid unprecedented global prosperity. For their part, trade pessimists ignore the enormous potential that trade has to reduce poverty. They also overlook a simple fact: namely, we have the power to change trade relations between countries. Stated bluntly, trade is not inherently anti-poor, but the rules and institutions that manage the global trading system are.
It is these rules and institutions that are at the heart of the legitimacy crisis facing the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the legitimate public protests over globalisation. Last November, …
November 10th, 2015
For once in my life I may be ahead of a trend here. Brazil’s dry, sub-tropical winter climate is almost perfect in August, during which crowds and heat make most of Europe uninhabitable. The football writers, the only people who have previously visited the country, have always raved about Rio: the long beaches of golden sand, the bustling nightlife, the views from the mountains that ring the city are every bit as stunning as promised. But within a few hours’ flying time of Rio, you can also visit, as my wife and I did, the Pantanal, one of the last true wildernesses on earth; Parati, a Portuguese colonial town almost unchanged from the 18th century (except that I doubt the horses roaming its cobbled streets then wore nappies); and the astonishingly beautiful, 3km-long Iguacu Falls, which, according to legend, caused …
November 7th, 2015
IRAQ, IRAQ, IRAQ! That’s all you heard about when the World Economic Forum began this year in Davos, the quaint Swiss skiing village that hosts 2,000 world leaders each year. The only thing worse than hearing this banter was being an American and having to listen to speaker after speaker tell us how miserable we are.
Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell came to the rescue with a stirring keynote that explained a few things that the throngs apparently didn’t understand (or perhaps appreciate). “This is not about inspectors finding smoking guns. It is about Iraq’s failure to tell the inspectors where to find its weapons of mass destruction,” said Mr. Powell, as he laid out America’s case for war. “It is our hope, however–it is our will–that we can do this peacefully. It is our hope that Iraq …
November 4th, 2015
Long sustained very high growth meant very high levels of capacity increases to build critical market share, this high growth financed as it must be by low-cost debt, borrowed from supportive banks. With fund availability greatly increased by a tripling of the value of the yen followed by a massive increase in asset values in the ’80s, companies were able to engage in extensive diversification. Too much capacity; too many competitors in almost all industries; too much diversification; all this too dependent on borrowings–the elements for a wrenching and long period of deflation and restructuring were in place. The end to the bubble of the late ’80s provided the occasion and the tow growth of the economy from 1992 is the evidence.
Industry Reorganization and Company Restructuring
To deal with over-capacity and excessive diversification, much of industry can be seen …
November 1st, 2015
Despite suffering defeat in World War II, both Germany and Japan achieved postwar economic growth described as miraculous. Yet both nations now grapple with longstanding economic stagnation.
The bubble that had levitated the Japanese economy through the latter 1980s began deflating in 1991, with the ensuing economic stagnation dragging on now for over a decade. Since 1991, annual economic growth in Japan has limped along at just 1% year-over-year in real terms. In recent years, moreover, the nominal growth rate has been negative as the nation remains caught in a vortex of deflation.
Stressing that there can be no growth without reform and describing itself as the government “determined to push through reforms,” the administration of Koizumi Junichiro took office in April of 2001. Still, while talk of reform has been plentiful, not much progress has been made in actually …
October 27th, 2015
The greatest corporate factor that supports the steady Chubu economy in Japan is the pyramid-shaped industrial accumulation centered on Toyota Motor Corporation, which recorded consolidated ordinary profit of almost 1,500 billion yen in the March 2003 term, its third consecutive year of record profits for a Japanese company. Toyota has concentrated 12 of its 15 main domestic plants in Toyota City and neighboring regions in Aichiken. Moreover, there is a broad range of subcontractor groups in the area. Among these are nine major keiretsu parts manufacturers including Denso Corporation, Aisin Seiki Co. and Toyota Industries Corporation, in addition to the Kyohokai group formed by about 200 parts suppliers with strong business relations.
Keiretsu has been criticized by overseas business as a factor for non-tariff barriers. Recently, Japanese business operators have also seen it as a factor underpinning Japan’s rigid and …