Today’s trade policy makers face different priorities than their twentieth-century counterparts. In the past, they needed to focus on how to open their economies to international trade. Today, policy makers must both sustain that openness in the face of political-economic shocks arising at home and abroad and deepen that openness by further negotiating international cooperation over even some domestic policies. Today’s policy makers not only face the daunting complexity of highly legalized international agreements, but their access to policy space is constantly changing as a result of new rules and new legal jurisprudence that reinterprets old rules.
In this talk, Chad P. Bown will discuss the intersection of national policymaking and international trade agreements, highlighting the necessary and yet sometimes uneasy co-existence of friction and cooperation. He will describe how the World Bank’s recent data dissemination initiatives and monitoring of trade policy have contributed to the provision of global public goods, and he examines the implications of recent research in areas such as South-South protectionism, trade disputes, multilateral versus regional approaches to cooperation, and capacity-building of domestic institutions. Finally, he will examine proposals for how the World Bank can collaborate more effectively with policy makers to empower them to better extract the benefits from international agreements and to simultaneously push against the perceived limits of further international cooperation.