Management of pressures for protection: Formal versus informal procedures 15
3.The Evolution of Trade Policy in Peru, 2001-2011 15
Reform that has taken root 16
Positive results 16
Asian economies as example 18
INDECOPI and the professionalization of management of pressures for protection 18
Trade agreements enter the arsenal of policy management 19
Double strategy with double objectives 20
New government ministry orientated toward integration into the world economy 20
Role of FTA negotiations in forming Peruvian trade policy 20
The momentum of the FTA carries beyond its ‘requirements’ 21
A policy blueprint emerges 21
Change is a cumulative process 22
4.Import Substitution under the WTO: Argentina 22
Return to import substitution 23
Return to informal governance of trade controls 24
Import licenses as import restrictions 25
Industry support at high cost 25
Export restrictions 26
Domestic political support 26
WTO discipline 26
Reversion to the old policy culture 27
The Statement 28
Argentina’s Response 28
5.Argentina and Peru: Different Paths 29
The differences 29
Accounting for the differences 30
6.Conclusions and Recommendations 31
Liberalization is a national decision 31
“Commitment” is effective when it creates “interested party” rights in national law and regulation 32
Maintaining the momentum of liberalization 34
Focus on national process 34
Elias A. Baracat was the founding President of the Argentine International Trade Commission. He is currently a prominent consultant on Argentine Commercial Policy and the administration of that policy. Email: email@example.com
J. Michael Finger organized the first trade policy research unit at the World Bank. He has also served as Visiting Professor in universities in Australia, China, Sweden and Texas. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raúl León Thorne was a founding Member of the Commission on Antidumping and Safeguards in Peru. He has also served as a Member of important WTO Dispute Panels. Email: email@example.com
Julio J. Nogués: Member of National Academy of Economy, Argentina; has served as Trade Representative of Argentina to the US and Undersecretary in the Economics at Ministry of Argentina. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Francis Ng, TTL of the World Bank’s International Trade and Integration Team (DECTI), has provided substantive and the administrative support throughout the preparation of this study. He guided preparation of the proposal and as the study was conducted he provided data and other information that were critical to the conduct of the work. He has also managed the preparation of a final manuscript and has been an efficient interface between the authors and the publications process.
The authors wish to express their appreciation for the support he has provided. Likewise, we wish to express our appreciation for the support provided by Aaditya Mattoo, Manager of the International Trade and Integration Team of the World Bank.
Financial support from the World Bank’s Research Support Budget is also gratefully acknowledged.
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions in this study are those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries that they represent and should not be attributed to them.
Factually, the principal finding of this study is that the trade policy reforms introduced by Peru in the 1990s have continued over several changes of president, while similar reforms in Argentina have been reversed. In both countries the reforms included introduction of new mechanisms for managing trade policy as well as reduction of restrictions. Through the decade beginning 2000, Peru’s liberalization has expanded. The new institutions have become more robust and through them pressures for protection have been effectively contained. At the same time Argentine trade policy has returned to the high-protection, import substitution regime in place before the 1990s reforms. Multiple restrictions have been imposed; mostly through a reversion to informal methods that abjure the governance characteristics the 1990s reforms introduced.
Explaining the difference between the two cases is not a matter of economic parameters such as resource endowments or external shocks. Peru’s reforms manifest the buoyant and confident attitude toward the global economy that reform leaders were able to introduce into Peruvian politics. In the words of former president Alan Garcia, an eagerness is to “climb up on the wave of growth.” In comparison, Argentina’s current development strategy sees international trade only as “the second avenue of transmission of the global crisis.”
The Peruvian case provides examples of successfully managing the politics of reform and of managing the technical aspects of policy so as to establish transparent and participatory processes that weigh accurately the impact of trade policy on all affected domestic parties. The Argentine case demonstrates that the WTO legal system is not an effective restraint on a government that wants to revert to an import substitution regime. International cooperation has been useful when it has recognized and influenced domestic sovereignty over economic regulation, not useful when approached as a matter of international regulation of national actions.
Systems determine outcomes. Public policy will only get the economics it needs, or indeed that society needs, if the processes, the institutions and the individuals responsible for developing it are receptive to good economics, and responsive to it.1