The Flawed Logics of Current Trade Reform Efforts

International Journal of Applied International Business (ISSN: 1743-2111) Volume 1 Issue 1 - Download PDF

Mark McGovern
School of International Business, Queensland University of Technology


Major flaws lie at the heart of current thinking promoting agricultural deregulation and trade liberalisation. Welfare effects associated with market stabilisation go unappreciated. There is failure to meet Walras' necessary conditions for general equilibrium. Perverse effects from tariffs and other changes occur in the presence of multinationals and institutions. Compounding things, in the case of Australia at least, is a failure to appreciate market sizes, relativities and interrelations. Any one of these alone would be a serious challenge to the deregulation and liberalisation orthodoxy. Taken together they appear catastrophic for it, and for the world to which policies so based would be applied. Breakdowns in talks at Seattle, Cancun and elsewhere and the asymmetric realities of bilateral proposals (such as the USAA FTA) add urgency to the need for renewed understanding of production and trade aspects of agriculture, of foundational economic thought and of the various implications. Perhaps a new orthodoxy is needed, one more in keeping with the stated intent of both the GATT and WTO agreements? Such are the issues raised for discussion in this paper.

Keywords : Free Trade, Reform , Australia , Agriculture.

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