你好,欢迎来到经管之家 [登录] [注册]

设为首页 | 经管之家首页 | 收藏本站


发布时间: 来源:人大经济论坛

第一次翻译,不当之处,多多包涵!嘿嘿!!!! 不妥之处请留言告诉我哦!!!!

World trade世界贸易

Unpredictable tides

Jul 23rd 2009
From The Economist print edition


World trade is no longer collapsing and fears of rampant protectionism have not been realised. Even so, the way to revival looks far from smooth


THE worst global economic slump since the Depression has generated reams of mind-boggling numbers. Among the starkest—and the most worrying—have been measures of world trade. According to the World Bank, the dollar value of trade is about a third lower than it was a year ago. Barry Eichengreen, an economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that trade has contracted by more in this crisis than it had at a comparable stage of the Depression (see article).

自大萧条以来的全球最糟糕的经济下滑已经创造了许多令人难以置信的数字。而最典型也是最让人担心的是世界贸易的方式。按世界银行的数据,贸易的美元价值相比一年前已下降了1/3Barry Eichengreen加里弗尼亚大学伯里克利分校的一个经济历史学家预计,在此次危机中,贸易相比大萧条同期收缩了更多。

Lately the news has been more encouraging. Trade is far from booming, but it has at least stopped declining. The World Bank even detects “hints of an uptick” in early data for June. Bernard Hoekman, director of the bank’s international trade department, has “little doubt that the decline in trade has bottomed out”.

近期消息鼓舞人心。贸易远非增长,但至少停止下降了。世界银行甚至在六月初期的数据中找到上升的迹象。Bernard Hoekman,银行的国际交易部总监,毫不怀疑贸易量已爬出谷底。

Whether global commerce makes a speedy and lasting recovery depends, in the first place, on how quickly and sustainably global demand picks up. But it also depends on two other factors.


One is the reason why trade slumped so badly at the turn of the year. If the main culprit was the drop in global demand, as most economists believe, trade should recover smartly when demand picks up. But if it was an increase in protection, trade will be slow to emerge from the doldrums. Such measures, as past crises show, are easier to put in place than to remove.


The second is global trade politics. Governments will continue to be under pressure to erect trade barriers as unemployment continues to rise and as their room for more fiscal and monetary expansion becomes cramped. Leaders of the world’s biggest economies have repeatedly promised to conclude the Doha round of trade talks, which have already dragged on for more than seven years and been near to death several times. In doing so, they have set themselves an important test.


A hole in the hull

Compared with a year ago, the state of trade is dire. According to the World Bank, the dollar value of exports in the 48 countries for which final data for May are available was still about one-third lower than in May 2008. However, year-on-year data mask recent changes (see chart 1). Month-on-month figures point to a dramatic slump at the turn of the year, but stability since. The bank reckons that the average value of exports (for 44 economies accounting for three-quarters of world trade) dropped by 15.4% in November, held steady in December and plunged by 12.2% in January before flattening out.


The precipitate drop in trade—far more marked than anything that has happened to global GDP—was caused in part by the way production is now organised. Trade has always been more than proportionally affected by fluctuations in output, but the globalisation of the supply chain has increased its responsiveness. Stages of production that were once local are now much more likely to be carried out abroad. Douglas Irwin, of Dartmouth College, estimates that in the 1960s and 1970s, if global GDP increased (or decreased) by 1%, trade would grow (or shrink) by about 2%. In the 1990s, the change in trade was 3.4%.

贸易的加速下降比全球GDP的下降更为显著—部分是由于组织生产的方式。贸易不只是部分地受产出波动影响,但供应链的全球化使之对此反应更激烈。本土化生产如今更有可能变成跨国生产。达特茅斯的Douglas Irwin估计,在20世纪6070年代,如果全球GDP增加(或减少)1%,贸易就会增长(或减少)大约2%。在20世纪90年代,贸易量改变了3.4%.

In recessions, according to a new paper by Caroline Freund of the World Bank, trade contracts even more sharply than it responds in easier times. Using data from the global downturns of 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2001, Ms Freund finds that whereas real income growth was, on average, 1.5 percentage points lower than its pre-recession rate, trade growth stumbled by 7.2 points, or nearly five times as much.

世界银行的Caroline Freund的在一篇新论文中指出,在危机中,贸易比之前减少地更为剧烈。依照19751982199120 01年全球经济下滑的数据,Freund女士发现真实收入增长低于危机前数据,平均1.5%。贸易增长减少了7.2%,几乎少了5倍。

Several reasons why trade should decline so fast in recessions suggest themselves. It could be that, anticipating a sudden slowdown in growth, firms draw down accumulated inventories sharply, causing a rapid contraction of trade. But it is also possible that during downturns governments turn to protectionist policies, heightening the responsiveness of trade to a fall in demand.


Broadly speaking, the timing of the collapse and stabilisation in trade flows, as well as the sectoral and geographical pattern of the decline, suggest that demand and destocking, rather than a retreat into protection, are the chief causes. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) points out that America, which was the first big economy to enter recession, also saw the sharpest contraction of imports last year (see chart 2). Data for America and Japan show that trade in non-durable consumer goods like clothes and food, for which a basic level of demand persists and purchases of which cannot be put off for as long as those of bigger-ticket items, has declined least among main product categories. Exporters specialising in capital goods and durables, such as Germany, have been hit harder than others. And even for cheap non-durables, the early falls were the sharpest, suggesting that retailers were furiously running down their inventories.


Differences in the trends of goods and services trade also support the destocking thesis. Aaditya Mattoo and Ingo Borchert, economists at the World Bank, point to the relative resilience of trade in services, which unlike goods cannot be stored and are therefore immune to the inventory effect. In April America’s imports of goods were 34% lower than a year earlier. Its exports were 27% lower. Both imports and exports of services, however, were down by only 10%. Imports of business, professional and technical services (including information-technology services outsourced to places like India) were 4% higher in the first quarter of 2009 than a year earlier.

产品与服务贸易的不同也支持了存货减少的理论。世界银行的经济学家Aaditya Mattoo Ingo Borchert,指出服务贸易相对灵活,不像实物商品那样只能被储存,因此不会受到存货效应的影响。服务贸易的出口只低于实物商品的27%。但它的进口与出口只降低了10%。公司的进口,专业服务及技术性的服务(包括将信息技术服务外包给像印度一样的国家)在2009年的第一个季度比上一年高4%

The WTO has analysed trade policies as well as trade flows. There have been several instances of countries raising tariffs, within the limits of their WTO commitments. America, the European Union and Switzerland have all introduced new farm subsidies (or restarted programmes that had been allowed to lapse). The number of anti-dumping cases initiated by WTO members rose sharply in 2008, from a 12-year low in 2007, and continued at a high rate in the first quarter of this year.


Other measures, especially when carried out by sub-national governments (counties and states), are less explicit. Local-procurement provisions attached to several stimulus packages, including America’s and China’s, are intended to favour domestic suppliers over foreigners. Sectoral subsidies, particularly to carmakers, have often come with pressure to ensure that any job cuts take place abroad, not at home.


But changes in trade policy have not all gone one way. Several countries, from Australia and China to Ecuador and Paraguay, have moved in a liberal direction, reducing import duties or removing non-tariff barriers since the beginning of March. Chad Bown, an economist at Brandeis University, points out that the total value of trade targeted by the flurry of new anti-dumping actions is small: less than 0.45% of the total value of G20 countries’ imports.

各国在贸易政策方面变化并非一个模式。一些国家,从澳大利亚,中国到厄瓜多尔,巴拉圭,已朝自由化的方向发展,减少进少税及废除非关税壁垒。因为三月初,Chad BownBrandeis大学的经济学家,新反垄断行动下的贸易总值很小,比G20国家进口总值的0.45%还小。

All this is fairly reassuring. The bottoming-out of trade reflects a slowing of the decline in the world economy. Destocking may have run its course. Given its responsiveness to output, a lively rebound in trade is not inconceivable. Meanwhile, protectionism has not run riot.


But caution is still needed. Several big economies are being supported by expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, which will eventually have to be unwound. Recovery is likely to be sluggish. Unemployment will probably continue to rise—by between 21m and 50m this year, according to the International Labour Organisation. With monetary and fiscal stimulus already near their limits, trade barriers may seem a tempting way to protect jobs. Some countries could raise tariffs substantially without breaking WTO rules. Or stricter buy-local provisions, say, could squeeze trade.


The road back to Doha


This is why the politics of trade—not least the prospects of completing the Doha round—remain important. Some of the round’s doubters have questioned its value because it promises no substantial further reductions in actual tariffs, merely aiming to limit countries’ scope to raise them. The World Bank’s Mr Hoekman is more optimistic. Countries realise that open markets cannot be taken for granted, and few of them want to be seen to fall foul of their international commitments. This makes the “insurance” aspect of the Doha round more attractive than it was just a few months ago.


But the crisis has also revealed the limitations of existing multilateral norms. WTO rules on public procurement do not restrict the ability of local governments to discriminate against foreign suppliers. Countries that have not signed the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement are free to pursue discriminatory policies. This leads Mr Hoekman to argue that another benefit of concluding Doha will be that it will open up the scope for negotiations to establish rules of the game in areas such as international financial sector regulation, government procurement and services trade, where the crisis has revealed scope for protectionism.


Unfortunately, a successful conclusion to the round is still far from certain. The last attempt collapsed in July 2008, when India insisted on more protection for its farmers against sudden surges in imports than America was willing to accept. For all the good intentions of world leaders, hope therefore rests largely on Ron Kirk, America’s new trade representative, and Anand Sharma, India’s new commerce minister, finding common ground. The two have already met several times. Mr Kirk has spoken of the need to conclude Doha in a way that is “balanced and ambitious”. Mr Sharma has stressed that he has a mandate from his prime minister to sign a global trade deal.

这个回合的圆满结束仍遥遥无期。最后的尝试在20087月无果而终,此时印度正坚持着由于进口的突然增加而采取的保护政策,而这超出了美国可以接受的范围。为了实现世界领导的良好心愿,希望就寄托在美国的新贸易代表Ron Kirk,印度新商务部总理Anand Sharma身上。这两人已经会面了不少次。Kirk先生已经谈到以“平衡及宏伟”的方式结束多哈回合的需要。Sharma先生也强调他的总理已下达签订全球贸易合作的命令。

But since his appointment, Mr Kirk has focused mainly on the enforcement of existing trade rules. His latest policy speech, at a steel plant in Pittsburgh, concentrated on detecting violations of labour standards by trading partners and promises to resort to legal action if necessary. Gary Hufbauer, of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, worries that a “fusillade of cases will set Doha back”.

Kirk先生主要关注的是现今贸易条例的实施情况。他最近在彼得斯堡的一个钢铁厂的演讲,则关注贸易伙伴对劳动力标准的违反,并且承诺,如果必要的话,会诉诸法律。华盛顿Peterson学院国际经济学系的Gary Hufbauer,担心“一连串的突发事件会阻碍多哈进程”。

Some argue that by demonstrating that his resolve to a worried domestic audience, Mr Kirk may find it easier to get the authority he needs to negotiate Doha. Those who are hoping for the trade talks to reach a successful end can only hope that this reading is correct. If it is not, an agreement may be no nearer.


  • 扫码加入“考研学习笔记群”