In recent years, debates on international trade policy have focused on the role of the World Trade Organization and the two big political and economic powers - the USA and the EU. In this book, the author, an expert in trade policy, argues that this focus must change. Large supra-national institutions have become bogged down and are no longer in a position to drive trade liberalisation. Also, the world's fastest growing economies are those Asian economies that have embraced free trade, in many cases going beyond international requirements. Asian countries - China most conspicuously - have been taking the initiative by pursuing free trade unilaterally. This must continue and spread. The Western developed economies should respond by removing their own protectionism. Unilateral action, not trade negotiations, is the key: the world cannot wait for the WTO. If a unilateral commitment to free trade is to stick, it must be fixed in a general attitude of economic liberalism in the domestic economy. This applies as much to newly emerging economies as to the USA and the EU.
In this tour de force of international trade policy, Razeen Sally is realistic about the ability of existing institutions to deliver free trade 'from above', but optimistic about the prospects for the world economy as a result of unilateral liberalisation 'from below'.
Razeen Sally is codirector of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a new international economic policy think tank based in Brussels. He is senior research associate at the South African Institute of International affairs in Johannesburg. He has been a visiting professor at the Institut d'etudes Politiques in Paris; senior visiting research fellow at the Institute of South-East Asian Studies in Singapore; a visiting fellow at the University of Hong Kong and the Australian National University; and director, trade policy, at the Commonwealth Business Council in London. He is on the Academic Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and on the Advisory Board of the Cato Centre for Trade Policy Studies in Washington, DC. Guy de Jonquieres is a senior fellow at ECIPE and is the former world trade editor with the Financial Times.