Environmental Economics & Policies; Achieving Shared Growth; Payment Systems & Infrastructure; Economic Theory & Research; Export Competitiveness; Free Trade; Globalization and Financial Integration; Trade and Regional Integration
Summary: Emphasizing the importance of evaluating the Uruguay Round in the context of a changing world economy, the authors base their projections on a model that incorporates certain economic shifts: 1) that the center of economic gravity will shift toward the South and toward Asia (a shift that is already under way and shows no signs of abating), and 2) that the pattern of comparative advantage will continue to change, with the East Asian economies gaining comparative advantage in the production of physical and human-capital-intensive products. The authors argue that these changes in the global economy significantly affect their analysis of the Uruguay round reforms, for two reasons. First, with the global distribution of trade and production shifting toward Asia, the deeper Uruguay Round cuts in that region become more important, giving rise to a 17 percent increase in the proportionate welfare gain after implementation of tariff cuts. Second, without the Round, almost all of the bilateral quotas associated with the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) would have become more binding and the resulting distortion would have been significantly greater. In this analysis, the global gain from MFA reform is 60 percent greater than it would have been without taking into account the effects of growth. Of course, procedures for implementation of the MFA reforms are more complex than they have conveyed for purposes of analysis. In practice, one must also consider the impact of accel quota growth under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing. But even when the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing is implemented over the period for which projections were made, quota rents rise for many bilateral flows. This is a consequence both of shifts in comparative advantage toward the supplying countries and of simultaneous cuts in tariffs on textiles and clothing. The projections approach used here may be viewed as a logical extension of the growing econometric literature seeking to explain the determinants of economic growth through regression analysis. By offering a bridge between econometric evidence and computable general equilibrium modeling, the authors hope to combine the two approaches to help shed light on the interaction between trade reform and economic growth.
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