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 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
Trade Talks Episode 78: Trade Talks Does Its Taxes
Kimberly Clausing (Reed College) joins Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown to explain international taxation and its impact on multinational corporations. They discuss the economic and policy concerns over profit-shifting, tax havens, and different approaches that governments have taken, including worldwide and territorial systems, to tax the profits of such companies. They explain the US system, how it changed with the controversial Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, as well as continuing challenges to international cooperation. Read Kim’s new book Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press, 2019).
Apr 01, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 77: Happy Tariffversary
One year on from the 2018 national security actions on steel and aluminum, Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown discuss who is paying for President Trump’s tariffs. They speak with David Weinstein (Columbia University) and Amit Khandelwal (Columbia Business School) about two new research studies answering that question, as well as how the tariffs impact the US economy overall, who is winning and losing across America, and whether the tariffs differentially targeted Republican or Democratic voters.
Mar 25, 2019
The Trump administration pulled India and Turkey from the US Generalized System of Preferences, a program that offers zero tariffs to imports from poor countries. Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown explain the decision and how it fits into a broader battle between rich and poor countries around special and differential treatment and how it is holding up progress on WTO negotiations.
Mar 11, 2019
Not to be overshadowed by the Trump-China trade war, this week the WTO issued an important legal ruling on Chinese subsidies. Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown describe how the Americans had challenged Chinese payments to farmers of corn, wheat, and rice, as well as implications of the WTO ruling for US-China trade relations and the international system.
Mar 03, 2019
Keynes and Bown replay their November 2017 interview with Marcus Noland about his research on implementing trade sanctions on North Korea. First up is Noland's recent book with Stephan Haggard "Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements, and the Case of North Korea" (Stanford University Press, 2017) and the evidence behind the effectiveness of using trade policy to bring about change in North Korea. They discuss the implications of North Korea’s periods of autarky, and the commitment and coordination challenges facing countries that seek to implement trade sanctions in the modern economy, even when motivated by geopolitical concerns and the nuclear threat posed by the North Korean regime.
Feb 28, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 73: Soybeans and the Trade War Fallout
Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown discuss the economics of soybeans, a major American export targeted by Chinese tariffs as part of the ongoing US-China trade war. Keynes visits farms in Iowa, and the two explain the impact of competition from Argentina and Brazil, as well as the yo-yo’ing of soybean prices during the ongoing conflict.
Feb 23, 2019
Trade Talks Episode 72: Richard Baldwin on Disruption, Technology and Trade
Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown sit down with Richard Baldwin (Graduate Institute) to talk about centuries of economic and social change resulting from the combined forces of globalization and new innovations. They also discuss his new book "The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work" and about how ICT, digital trade, artificial intelligence, machine learning and tele-migrants may soon create social havoc for a very different type of worker than has been forced to adjust in the past.
Feb 14, 2019