Trade photo of shipping containers

  Photo: Unsplash


Trade openness can be a powerful driver of economic growth, which is indispensable to reduce poverty and foster development. Trade, however, is not a silver bullet for achieving development. There is no way around the other institutional, macroeconomic, and microeconomic conditions that, along with well designed social policies, must also be met to attain development.

Rebuilding a Multilateral World after Trump

The new U.S. government will need good economic and political arguments to leave behind Trump’s wrongheaded trade war.

In remarks in China in November 2020, and published as an article by the Berggruen Institute in Noema Magazine, Ernesto Zedillo noted that “…a few days ago, China and 14 other nations, from Japan to New Zealand to Myanmar, formally signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This pact was spearheaded by China purportedly, in the view of some observers, as a counterweight to American influence in the region. The successful negotiation of this pact, which is now the largest free trade agreement in the world, truly highlights Trump’s inanity of dropping the TPP for no good reason.” Read More at Rebuilding a Multilateral World After Trump  (external link — opens in new window)

The International Trading System in Prostration, Courtesy of the United States

The international trading system is under an existential threat. This threat stems most directly and urgently from the protectionist US trade policies that have been piling up since early 2017.

In the Introduction to their co-edited book, Trade in the 21st Century: Back to the Past? (Brookings Institution Press, 2021), Ernesto Zedillo and Bernard Hoekman inquire how deep and lasting the dramatic shift that has taken place in US trade policy will be and are the trade actions taken by the US government truly consistent with the country’s economic and geopolitical interests. Read introduction here (PDF — opens in new window)

A President Explains Mexican Trade

Ernesto Zedillo discusses 40 years of Mexico’s trade, the impact of import substitution policies, NAFTA, and the USMCA.

As a guest on “Trade Talks,” the podcast co-hosted by Soumaya Keynes (The Economist) and Chad Bown (Peterson Institute for International Economics, PIIE), Ernesto Zedillo spoke about Mexico’s history of trade and trade deals.

Listen to the podcast (external link — opens in new window)

Globalization, NAFTA and the Wall

A common denominator of developing countries is that those that have been successful in growing faster and in reducing the number of people living in conditions of poverty are precisely those countries that at some point in their recent history decided to insert themselves more actively into the global economy – to be more open, to import, and also to pursue more active export activities.

On the Brookings Institution trade podcast, “Dollar and Sense,” hosted by David Dollar, a Senior Fellow on foreign policy, the global economy and development at the John L. Thornton China Center, YCSG director Zedillo talked about the importance of globalization for developing countries, the erosion of multilateralism, the USMCA and other issues on trade.

Listen to the podcast (opens in new window)