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Trading Promises for Results: What Global Integration Can Do for Latin America and the Caribbean

Mauricio Moreira (), Ernesto Stein (), Kun Li, Federico Merchán, Christian Volpe Martincus, Juan Blyde (), Danielle Trachtenberg, Jorge Cornick, Jeffry Frieden (), Marisol Rodriguez Chatruc, Razvan Vlaicu, Víctor Zuluaga, Tomás Bril-Mascarenhas, Sergio Ardila, Piero Ghezzi and Thomas Reardon

No 9822 in IDB Publications (Books) from Inter-American Development Bank

Abstract: Thirty years after the region embarked on large-scale liberalization, trade policy could have been expected to become all but irrelevant. Instead, a mismatch between expectations and what could realistically be delivered set the stage for much of the disappointment, skepticism, and fatigue regarding trade policy in the region, particularly in the early 2000s. By setting the bar unrealistically high, governments and analysts made trade policies an easy target for special interests that were hurt by liberalization and for those ideologically opposed to free trade. The most immediate victims were the more tangible growth and welfare gains, whose relevance was lost amid the noise of grandiose visions. Liberalization made most countries better off, on the back of substantive productivity gains. The growth results are also impressive. On the other hand, the employment and inequality outcomes fell short of expectations. Acknowledging these lessons on the limits of trade and investment policies and the need for complementary action is important, but putting together an effective policy agenda for the future involves other challenges—some old, some new—brought on by geopolitical and technological changes. Trade is a hot issue in today’s world, and this book provides informed suggestions on how Latin America and the Caribbean can successfully confront this heat.

Date: 2019-09
ISBN: 9781597823654
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