events archive

Stay-at-home economics: is world trade in decline?

7:00pm, Wednesday 16 March 2016, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

In October 2015, the US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries agreed – though haven’t yet ratified – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); that same month, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed bilateral agreement between the US and EU, brought 200,000 protesters on to the streets of Berlin against it.

The Doha round of global trade negotiations, begun in 2001, has effectively collapsed. On the other hand, the internet has not yet undergone the Balkanisation that many predicted. This session will look at new forms of protectionism and ask whether the project of global free trade is now in jeopardy.


1) Where have we got to with the TPP, the TTIP and Regional Trade Agreements?

2) States used to impose tariffs and quotas; then they insisted that inward investors make things with high levels of local content. What are tomorrow’s spats likely to revolve around?

3) What do Brussels vs Washington arguments over the ‘tax planning’ of Google and other US tech firms portend?

4) What are the likely impacts of the TPP and the TTIP for participants, and especially countries like China and India that are not parties to these agreements?

5) Whatever happened to the Balkanisation of the Internet?


James Woudhuysen
visiting professor, London South Bank University


The course of world trade, Regional Trade Agreements – and reshoring

Has the Global Trade-Development Link Peaked?, The World Post, 26 January 2016
Regional Trade Agreements Information System (RTA-IS), World Trade Organisation
Is Reshoring Increasing or Declining?, Industry Week, 22 January 2016
Leaked draft of the TTIP document

Supporters and critics

Free Trade Agreement: Impact on US Trade and Implications for US Trade Policy, William H Cooper, Cornell University ILR School (especially pp11-13)
TTIP: the key to freer trade, or corporate greed?, Guardian, 2 January 2016

British critics

The TTIP deal hands British sovereignty to multinationals Owen Jones, Guardian 
This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy George Monbiot, Guardian 
What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you Lee Williams, Independent

Trends in capital flows and foreign-direct investment
Sanctions, and the backfiring of sanctions
Data sovereignty and the Balkanisation of the internet

EU and US reach deal on data sharing, FT, 2 Feburary 2016

Impact on China and India

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,  RIS Discussion Papers (especially pp19-21, 22-28)