Friday, April 5, 2013

Multilateral action and currency manipulation

A recent op-ed carried in the Peterson Institute for International Economics website by Robert Zoellick in the context of the next WTO chief raises 5 agenda items for the new DG to address. While I am not dwelling into all of them, the last one struck me as particularly interesting:
"Finally, will you agree to launch a discussion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about the application of the existing WTO and IMF rules requiring that exchange rates shall not be manipulated to gain unfair trade advantage? Given the extraordinary monetary policies spawned by the financial crisis—and the risks of competitive devaluations of currencies—multilateral bodies should not abdicate responsibility on these questions. If multilateralism fails, unilateralism may prevail. Brazil has already urged the WTO to discuss these questions."
I have blogged about the issue of currency manipulation and WTO rules compatibility here, here, here and here. Is this gradually finding its way to the centre stage in the discourse in international trade law and policy? What are the implications of this for monetary policy domestic space, interpretation of international trade rules and jurisdiction of international institutions? Complex questions with no easy answers.

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