Peterson Perspectives: Interviews on Current Issues


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Audio recordings of Peterson Perspectives interviews with Peterson Institute for International Economics research staff, analyzing current economic and political events.

Episode Date
Trade Talks Episode 93: US Trade Policy Before Trump, with Ambassador Michael Froman
Former United States Trade Representative Michael Froman joins Keynes and Bown to discuss the Obama administration’s approach toward China and the World Trade Organization. On China, they describe the challenge of relying on allies and US companies when using WTO dispute settlement, the utility of the US-China bilateral investment treaty negotiations, and the links between trade and national security. On the WTO, they discuss the deals that were agreed, the decision to end the Doha Round of negotiations, and the Obama administration’s frustrations with the Appellate Body.
Jul 19, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 92: Japan and South Korea: Old Wounds, New Trade Fight
Keynes and Bown are joined by Dukgeun Ahn (Seoul National University) to discuss Japan’s threat to limit South Korean access to inputs needed to make display panels and semiconductors for smartphones. The current dispute traces back to failures to resolve private reparations claims over World War II atrocities. They explain new economic threats to regional supply chains, Japan’s national security justification for its decision, the role of the WTO and a legal decision over the Fukushima nuclear accident, and even implications for the CPTPP.
Jul 15, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 91: Can Trade Adjustment Assistance Work?
Ben Hyman (Federal Reserve Bank of New York) joins to discuss the problem of workers hurt by increased competition arising through trade. They explain the US Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and new evidence on whether it helps workers stay in the labor market, retrain, and keep earning wages by remaining attached to jobs.
Jul 08, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 90: Trade Policy the Asian Way
Former Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu joins Keynes and Bown in a wide-ranging conversation about trade policy and negotiations in Asia. They chat about Indonesia’s episodes of trade liberalization, corruption, and the benefits of losing a WTO dispute. They discuss her experience negotiating ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) free trade agreements with both India and China, as well as the birth of the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) idea. They also explain how Indonesia is caught between China and the United States in the ongoing trade war, and the negotiations Indonesia now faces with the Trump administration under the Generalized System of Preferences.
Jun 12, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 89: The Migration Crisis Behind Trump's Mexico Tariff Threat
Gordon Hanson (University of California San Diego) joins Keynes and Bown to explain the migration and humanitarian crisis at the heart of President Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on imports from Mexico. They discuss the history of undocumented migration arising since the 1960s, as well as how it has been impacted by changes in US and Mexican economic conditions and immigration policies. They also describe how the crisis has been affected by rising violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, as well as the unintended consequences of US and Mexican migration and asylum policies.
Jun 07, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 88: Trump-Mexico Trade War Cheat Sheet
Keynes and Bown describe President Trump’s decision to declare an emergency on the US southern border. On May 30, Trump invoked the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and stated he would impose new tariffs on all US imports from Mexico starting June 10 unless, in his view, the “illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.” They discuss the potential legality of such an action, as well as the likely economic implications for the United States, Mexico, and the trading system.
Jun 03, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 87: Trump Shifts His National Security Threats (Again)
Keynes and Bown explain Trump’s latest trade actions in his national security cases on steel, aluminum and automobiles. They speak with Kristin Dziczek (Center for Automotive Research) about perceived threats to R&D of “American-owned” carmakers, as well as the political and economic implications of Trump negotiating voluntary export restraints on autos from the EU and Japan. They also describe the managed trade implications of the agreement to remove US tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico, as well as the possible resumption of future conflict.
May 20, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 86: When Is Tariff Revenue Bad Tax Revenue?
Lucie Gadenne (University of Warwick, IFS) joins Keynes and Bown to explain when and why some countries use import tariffs as an important source of total tax revenue collections. They discuss her research on the fiscal cost of trade liberalization, what has happened recently when poor countries cut tariffs, and how and why things were different historically when today’s rich countries opened up to trade.
May 17, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 85: Trump-China Negotiating Dramatics and Even More Tariffs
Keynes and Bown update the sudden change in US-China trade negotiations and President Trump’s tariff escalation. They speak with Lingling Wei in Beijing (Wall Street Journal) about misunderstandings and why the two sides remain so far apart. They also discuss the expected economic impact of Trump’s new tariffs, as well as his proposal to buy US farm products and distribute them to poor countries.
May 13, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 84: Brexit, British Politics, and European Parliamentary Elections
Duncan Robinson (The Economist) joins Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown to provide an update on the Brexit process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. They discuss ongoing cleavages in the major British political parties, and implications of the 2019 elections to the European Parliament taking place in the United Kingdom as well as across Europe.
May 07, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 83: Tariffs for Sale and Identity Politics
Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown chat with Gene Grossman (Princeton University) about decades of research on what determines tariffs in the real world. They discuss the role that voters, politicians, lobbyists, and campaign contributions play in setting out the supply of and demand for trade protection. They also describe what political economists may have gotten wrong, as well as the role that identity politics may have played in shaping the recent trade backlash and election of Donald Trump.
May 02, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 82: How Big Is the USMCA? It’s Uncertain
Soumaya Keynes of The Economist and Chad P. Bown of PIIE discuss the hotly anticipated US International Trade Commission economic impact assessment of the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement. They explain the ITC use of economic models to show potential effects on the US economy of changing from the North American Free Trade Agreement to the new USMCA. They describe distributional and overall economic impacts arising through the resolution of uncertainty on data and digital information, new rules of origin for the automobile sector, and other policy changes induced by the USMCA.
Apr 29, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 81: National Security and Trade – The Fear of Imitation
Mona Pinchis-Paulsen (New York University) joins Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown to discuss the historical origins and tradeoffs of justifying trade restrictions under the threat to national security. Sparked by an April 2019 WTO ruling involving combat between Russia and Ukraine, they explain the key fight within the original team of American negotiators that arose in the 1940s when setting up the International Trade Organization at the close of World War II. They discuss whether today’s Article XXI is 'self-judging' and 'non-justiciable,' they foreshadow conflicts around President Trump’s national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, and they describe implications for the future of the WTO.
Apr 18, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 80: Zeroing: The Biggest WTO Threat You’ve Never Heard Of
Keynes and Bown replay episode #45 (July 2, 2018), explaining the outsized importance of "zeroing"—a technical, yet politically controversial method the United States uses to calculate antidumping tariffs. They speak to Thomas Prusa (Rutgers University) about zeroing’s contentious negotiating history, how it works in practice, who is in favor of it, and how much trade is affected by it. They also discuss how the dozens of WTO disputes the United States has lost over this issue set up the current showdown facing the WTO Appellate Body and the future of the trading system.
Apr 09, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 79: A President Explains Mexican Trade
Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo (Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization) joins Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown to chat about Mexico’s history of trade and trade deals. They start in 1980 with Mexico’s closed economy, and then they discuss its entry into the GATT, the NAFTA, Ernesto’s Presidency (1994-2000), Mexico’s negotiations with the European Union, and more. In addition to its contentious relationship with the United States, they also grapple with inequality, investor-state dispute settlement, Mexico’s labor laws, its trade issues with China, and the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Apr 05, 2019