Alan Deardorff’s “Decision from G20 leaders could prove the tipping point for free trade,” published by The Conversation and syndicated by the Associated Press, encourages G20 leaders to push for the adoption of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) "in the face of growing anti-globalization forces."
"This agreement could be the tipping point to highlight the importance of global free trade and prevent a revival of true protectionism in the form of increased tariffs and other barriers to trade," writes Deardorff, who describes the TFA as a mechanism for “reduc[ing] the paperwork and bureaucratic delays that hinder and sometimes completely block trade, especially in time-sensitive products.”
“There is growing discontent with various aspects of globalization, including not just trade but also international investment and the reach of multinational corporations,” writes Deardorff. “Many perceive these forces, increasingly permitted by trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the expanded membership of the WTO, to have destroyed jobs in the developed world, thus increasing [domestic] unemployment and lowering wages.” While Deardorff acknowledges that some of these concerns are valid, he cites economic analyses that suggest many are not supported by data.
“The TFA agreement is already well on its way toward acceptance by the required two-thirds of WTO members,” writes Deardorff, “but a strong statement in support of it by the G20 leaders would endorse the liberal trade regime that has contributed so much to [global] prosperity over the last 70 years.”
For more on this topic, read "Comparing the Advantages in International Trade," or watch "Ford Policy Union: Pros and Cons of Free Trade."