How global trade is getting hammered

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The rich world is great when it comes to lecturing others on openness. When their own interests are at stake, the volte face is unbelievable!


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How global trade is getting hammered



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  1. Shutting the doors : Indian professionals are finding doors across the world shutting, and opportunities to ply their trade shrinking. Promises of free-trade and globalization are steadily weakening. More and more erstwhile propounders of free-trade are erecting walls to stop the flow of professionals and human capital. This exposed them like nothing else!
  2. Trump leading the charge : US President Trump carried out his campaign promise by signing the executive order on April 18 overhauling the H1-B visa regime which allowed foreign professionals to work in the US for six years. Indian IT companies have been the biggest beneficiaries of this programme.
  3. Et tu Australia? Thereafter, Australia followed suit by revamping the immigration law titled “Sub-class 457 visa” which allowed entry of professionals. Incidentally, PM Malcolm Turnbull, during his India visit in April 2017 had signed a joint declaration with the Indian PM welcoming the progress in knowledge partnership, strong links in higher education, skills development and science and technology and innovation. The reality turned out to be the reverse.
  4. CECA in turmoil : This has now jeopardized progress on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) being negotiated. The CECA is wider than the free-trade agreement (FTA) as it also includes issues like investment, government procurement and competition policy.
  5. The flood after the calm : Three other prosperous nations – New Zealand, Singapore and the UK – have also erected barriers of varying degrees. UK Prime Minister Theresa May tightened visa rules for professionals by mandating minimum salary thresholds and language requirements. India has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Singapore. Singapore has not denied work permits outright, but has kept them pending.
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  7. WTO’s Azevedo : This has even compelled WTO DG Roberto Azevedo to issue a caution: “At the domestic level policies are needed to help support the workers of today and train the workers of tomorrow. Closing the borders to trade would only worsen the situation – it would not bring jobs back, it would make more jobs disappear”. WTO estimates world trade in 2017 would grow between 1.8-3.6%, but might settle at 2.4% if world GDP sticks to projections. It also recognizes existence of downside risks, including protectionist measures implemented by the US and Australia.
  8. What is the real reason for the push? The more plausible justification is that these moves are designed to blunt India’s attempts to introduce trade facilitation in services (TFS) agreement, which is similar to TFA in goods. The TFS is also pitted against the TiSA, or Trade in Services Agreement, currently being negotiated outside the WTO by 23 members comprising mostly developed countries. We may expect that trade politics and diplomacy will possibly focus on services trade, especially at the WTO’s December Ministerial in Buenos Aires.
  9. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence and Vocabulary Booster series of learning resources, here
  10. Download Resources : PDFs on immigration etc. available on Bodhi Resources page here. And, here are some facts and images to help the case better.





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Bodhi Saar: How global trade is getting hammered
How global trade is getting hammered
The rich world is great when it comes to lecturing others on openness. When their own interests are at stake, the volte face is unbelievable!
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