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贸易自由化带来双赢

发布时间:2020-03-26 11:12:54 阅读: 来源:表盘厂家

文/Cathleen Cimino

Two recent developments have the trade world buzzing and for good reason: the US-China agreement on tariff liberalization as part of the expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the US-India resolution to the impasse over the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). These two agreements, along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) under negotiation by 22 countries, would be genuine accomplishments for the World Trade Organization (WTO) at a time when the post-Bali trade agenda has stalled, throwing its relevance as a negotiating forum into doubt. If successful, the three agreements could add as much as $2 trillion to global income, as the Peterson Institute estimated in a previous research study, “Payoff from the World Trade Agenda 2013”.A Tariff Liberalization Compromise in the ITA

The first breakthrough came on November 10, 2014, after the talks over the expanded ITA stalled for more than a year. The original agreement phasing out tariffs on high-tech goods was signed by 29 WTO members in 1996. Since then, total trade in IT products has tripled, reaching $4 trillion, and the agreement has expanded to 80 countries covering 97 percent of global trade in IT products.

The digital age spurred efforts to expand the ITA to cover new products and new members in 2012. But the talks reached an impasse over China’s refusal to agree to tariff liberalization for a comprehensive list of products. The US-China bilateral compromise centered on more than 200 tariff lines, including such important US exports as advanced semiconductors, MRI machines, video games, and GPS devices. Tariffs are to be phased out over periods up to five years (or seven in special cases). According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the deal would eliminate tariffs on $1 trillion of trade and increase global GDP by $190 billion, supporting an additional 60,000 US jobs. China’s original list of sensitive products numbered close to 140 out of 250, and China sought to fully exclude more than 70 of these products and subject another 70 to long phaseout periods. Given its negotiating history, China demonstrated laudable flexibility on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference summit in Beijing in November.

The deal must now be accepted in Geneva, but the shift in the Chinese position effectively unblocked the ITA talks and they might well conclude as early as December 2014. US-China cooperation on ITA could positively affect other areas, especially TISA, where the United States previously voiced opposition to China’s participation—in part, because China was unwilling to make “de facto down payments” (like the ITA) that showed a commitment to the ambitious liberalization agenda of other TISA countries.Unblocking the Trade Facilitation Agreement

Two days after the technology handshake, on November 12, 2014, the United States and India announced a bilateral compromise to unblock implementation of the TFA. The trade facilitation agreement would reduce transactions costs, red tape, and corruption at sea ports and cargo airports, improving logistics and reducing time and costs in the movement of goods. Last December, WTO members agreed to the trade facilitation deal at the ninth Ministerial meeting in Bali, along with nine other agreements addressing agricultural issues, cotton subsidies and development issues of concern to least-developed countries. Because of the lagging Doha agenda, trade policy experts agreed that TFA was the most important deal of the package of agreements in Bali. But in July 2014, India reneged on the bargain in Bali, insisting that a separate agreement on food security, also part of the Bali package, should be completed before TFA could become a binding part of the WTO. As explained in an earlier PIIE blog post, India demanded that developing country governments be permitted to purchase food at high prices, distribute the food to poorer regions, and export whatever was left over—with no fear of challenges by other WTO members. In response to India’s demand for this exemption, the United States and the European Union offered a “clarification” of the Bali decision, but ruled out an amendment to the agreement. India rejected the offer, prompting the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Canada to suspend further discussion on all “post-Bali” topics on services, development issues, and agriculture until the TFA issue was resolved.

The US-India compromise entails a reinterpretation of the original Bali deal, declaring that food stockholding programs will not be subject to WTO dispute procedures until a permanent agreement is reached. This compromise clears the way for possible approval of the TFA on November 26, opening a path for WTO members to negotiate other post-Bali issues.Opening the Door to Plurilaterals

The successful outcomes of TFA and the ITA could signal a turning point for the WTO. Two key questions are pending. First, will success open the door to put new issues on the WTO agenda, to be negotiated as plurilateral agreements? Second, will other countries be emboldened to follow India’s example and hold hostage future WTO negotiations?

The success of TFA and ITA could revive momentum toward resolving other issues on the global trade agenda, such as services, investment, and environmental goods. We have long argued that the most promising route for such issues seems to be plurilateral agreements that would apply only to signatory members rather than all WTO members (multilateral agreements). Each agreement under WTO auspices should, as a matter of principle, be open to any WTO member that later decides to join—both to accept the obligations and enjoy the rights. But an important technicality must be resolved first: Will future agreements be based on unconditional or conditional most favored nation (MFN) terms? At the moment, conditional MFN agreements, similar to the design of the TISA, seem the likely route.

A rosy outlook for the WTO is tempered by the challenges of resolving longstanding differences on the issues left over from the Doha agenda. Moreover, the TFA drama casts a negative shadow. It remains troublesome when a country exercises its veto rights to block a declaration signed by all WTO ministers. If future naysayers choose to follow India’s tactics, they could stall almost any WTO agreement.

导读:近期,国际贸易市场展现出较好的态势。信息技术协议(ITA)、贸易促进协议(TFA)和国际服务贸易协定(TISA)都在稳步推进。如果这三个协议顺利达成,将会极大地刺激全球GDP的增长。本文对前两个协议签订过程进行分析和展望。编译如下:

国际贸易市场最近传来了好消息:在信息技术协议(ITA)中,中美已经同意放宽关税;在贸易促进协议(TFA),美国和印度也找到了打破当前僵局的方法。再加上国际服务贸易协定(TISA)的稳步推进,尽管WTO第九届部长级会议的结果并不令人满意,但是WTO 在此之后已经做出了可观的贡献。如果三个协议都成功签署,全球总收入预计会增加2万亿美元。

ITA关税放宽

停滞两年后,ITA在2014年11月10日发生了重要的突破。ITA在1996年由29国签署第一份协议之后,全球高科技产品贸易额增长至原来的三倍,达到4万亿美元。目前这个协议覆盖了80多个国家和全球97%的IT产品贸易。信息时代要求更多的产品与国家参与ITA。但是中国拒绝放宽关税使得谈判僵持不下。中美之间的协定包括了200多种产品,其中有很多重要的美国科技产品例如高级半导体、核磁共振仪等。

在未来5年之内,关税会慢慢放宽(个别情况则是7年)。美国贸易代表(USTR)预计这会减少涉及1万亿美元贸易的关税并刺激全球GDP增长1千9亿美元,让美国增加6万就业岗位。中国最初列举了140种产品作为敏感贸易产品。现在中国排除了其中的70种,并且计划在未来排除剩余的70种。鉴于中国之前在国际贸易协商中的表现,中国在2014年11月APEC展现了很强的灵活性。

虽然协议最终要到日内瓦签订,但是中国态度的转变使得进程大大加快,最早于2014年12月就能够完成。中美此次握手有可能会让其他领域的进展更加顺利,例如TISA。最初美国对于中国参与TISA持反对态度,部分是因为中国原来的态度一直强硬,不愿妥协。

推进TFA

2014年11月12日,在ITA取得成果的两天之后,美国与印度就TFA达成了双边妥协。这会减少贸易中出现的腐败、官僚主义和交易成本,物流速度也会大大加快。2013年12月,WTO在巴厘岛召开第九届部长级会议。会议上成员国已经同意签署TFA。还有另外9个有关农贸商品的协定也一并通过。因为多哈会议进展缓慢,贸易政策专家一致同意TFA是那次会议最重要的成果。但是在2014年7月,印度反悔了,坚持认为在TFA圆满完成并成为WTO中的绑定协议之前,必须达成一个食品安全协定。印度方要求贫穷国家应该可以进口任何高价食物,分发这些食物,然后重新出口剩余部分,在这个过程中不受到任何成员国的挑战。对于印度的要求,美国与欧盟进一步明确了巴厘决定的一些细节,但是拒绝进一步修改协定。印度不接受这个事实,使得美国、欧盟、日本和加拿大不得不搁置关于TFA的进一步谈判。

随着印度和美国解决上面的问题,巴厘协定的原意也将被重新改写。新的解释称,直到达成永久性协议,食物补贴计划都不会服从WTO中的谈判。这也使重新开展巴厘协定的其他议题成为可能。

为多边协定提供可能

以上两个协议的进步让WTO看见了转机。但随之而来有两个问题。重新开展多边协定,增加新的议题是可能的吗?以及,其他国家有可能效仿印度原先的敌意态度吗?

TFA和ITA的成功会为解决其他问题打开大门,例如服务、投资和环境商品。很早之前,我们就认为最有希望的解决方案是多边协定。协定针对签署国而非所有的成员国。原则上,其他的成员国家之后也可以加入。但是首先要解决的技术问题是:未来的协定是基于条件还是无条件最惠国条例?目前,与TISA设计相似的条件性最惠国条例是最有可能的。

解决多哈会谈的分歧带来了很多挑战,这都将给WTO的乐观前景蒙上阴影。进一步,也将给TFA的戏剧性进程带来负面影响。当某一个国家使用否决权的时候,这仍然是个大问题。如果未来有人说不,他们会阻碍所有WTO的协定。

文章PIIE官网 (原标题为《Double Win for the Trade Liberalization in Bali》,本文仅代表作者观点)

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