inicio | contacto | buscador | imprimir   
 
· Presentación
· Trayectoria
· Artículos y notas
· Newsletter (español)
· Newsletter (english)
· Radar Internacional
· Tesis de posgrado
· Programas de clase
· Sitios recomendados

Publicaciones
· Argentina y Brasil en
el sistema de relaciones internacionales
· Momentos y Perspectivas


  Félix Peña

INTERNATIONAL TRADE RELATIONS NEWSLETTER
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
REGIONAL SPACES AND THE TRANSITION TO A NEW WORLD ORDER:
Their role in the construction of renewed global economic governance.

by Félix Peña
March 2015

English translation: Isabel Romero Carranza


 

The current international period seems to be the end of a very long historical cycle with longstanding roots and that evolved in stages, from the one initiated by the Peace of Westphalia, followed by the Concert of Europe, later the two world wars and finally the Cold War and Post-Cold War. These stages reflect changes in power relations between nations and translate into different ways of ensuring, for a period of time, certain global governance with its own guidelines, rules and institutions.

A common element in the evolution of these stages has been the difficulties of the main protagonists - countries, governments, economic actors and citizens- to grasp the scope of the respective transitions and to perceive the full extent of the deep forces behind the most visible events.

The abovementioned is also seen clearly in three levels where the actions aimed at building new guidelines, institutions and rules to facilitate international economic governance interact today. They are the multilateral global, the interregional and the regional level. When several countries in a region have associated to achieve common goals that transcend the strictly economic, sharing the analysis of the deep trends that are shaping a particular historical moment through these three levels becomes of great importance.

This is currently the case of Mercosur. Among other priority issues that would need to be addressed, if the shared idea were to overcome the current state of relative anomie, the partners cannot continue much longer without defining an effective strategy for concerted action at the global multilateral, interregional and regional level.

Such a strategy should include, among other priorities, concerted actions in the WTO front, in the negotiations of interregional agreements - even in relation to those where Mercosur countries do not participate- and in the immediate region in which Mercosur is inserted, be it South America or Latin American as a whole. It is obvious that any advances in the agendas related to these three external fronts will depend largely on the progress made in the agenda of what we have called the metamorphosis of Mercosur.


Rebuilding the global order is a recurring task, at least when considering long periods of history. Tectonic shifts in global power make it necessary. Adam Tozze in his recent book "The Deluge" (refer to the Recommended Reading Section of this newsletter), examines a particular historical moment of transition in world order, due to its harshness and its aftermath, which spans the years 1916 - 1931. His analysis has a striking validity today, taking into account that since 1989 and especially after the series of events that occurred between 2001 and 2008, we can consider to have entered another period of transition to a new international order whose characteristics and duration are still difficult to pinpoint.

The current period, however, seems to be the end of a long historical cycle with longstanding roots and that evolved in stages, from that initiated by the Peace of Westphalia and continuing with those of the Concert of Europe, the two world wars, the Cold War and the Post-Cold War.

Each of these stages has reflected changes in the power relations between nations and has translated into different ways of ensuring, for a period of time, certain global governance with its own guidelines, rules and institutions. The inflection points have been characterized more by the predominance of sheer force than of reason.

A common element in the evolution of these stages have been the difficulties of the main protagonists -countries, governments, economic actors and citizens- to capture the full scope of the respective transitions and perceive the full extent of the deep forces at play behind the most visible events.

The abovementioned can be seen clearly in three levels where the actions aimed at building new guidelines, institutions and rules for international economic governance interact today. These levels are the global multilateral (in this regard see the February 2015 issue of this newsletter), the inter-regional -expressed by the institutionalization of economic and trade links between relevant regions of the world- and the regional, comprising the different and sometimes overlapping geographical regions that can be identified in the international scenario. The latter appears today as the most relevant.

The facts that anticipate the future and that are evident in all three levels call for special attention in the necessary and constant exercise of competitive intelligence that is required today of countries and companies trying to successfully navigate this transition to a new world order and a new international economic governance. Historical experience shows these are moments that always produce winners and losers, usually through very gradual processes, that is, as if in "slow motion". In the period between the First World War and the end of the Second World War, several of the most important protagonists were unable to anticipate the impact that the transition would have on their place in the world. They did not visualize themselves as losers.

The quality of the organization that a country has to follow and understand the deep trends that often shape these facts is today a key factor for an international integration strategy that seeks to be effective (see the considerations made in the January 2015 issue of this newsletter).

But when several countries in the same region have joined forces to achieve common goals that transcend the strictly economic, sharing the analysis of the underlying trends that are operating in a particular historical moment in all the three levels mentioned above becomes of utmost importance. This is currently the case of Mercosur.

In this regard, we should take into account one of the most recent diagnoses on the situation of Mercosur, made by Chancellor Rodolfo Nin Novoa upon taking office in the new government of Uruguay. Among other things he stated (translation is ours): "we are aware that, in recent decades, the contexts that frame the discussions of the strategies for the international integration of national states have varied dramatically. The unstoppable progress of globalization is associated with a visible rebalancing of global power in the Asia-Pacific region, and China in particular has become the major driving factor. While developed countries face often unprecedented challenges, the new emerging countries are starting to affirm their presence, beyond their vicissitudes, in the new "order", or international disorder. With multilateral scenarios questioned, integration processes challenged and a new framework for renewed discussion of the rules and guidelines of international trade and finance, global governance casts uncertainties that are as radical as they are demanding".

He added that "in this context we believe the integration processes in Latin America have not reached their expected development and demand undelayed sincerity in order to live up to the challenges of the current international context. The terms of the real controversy point to how to process the international insertion of a small country such as Uruguay, given the constraints and opportunities presented by the new contexts. We have always been integrationists. From that same conviction we want a sincere Mercosur. We want it to abandon empty rhetoric, to bet on concrete actions and not on speeches that are later unfulfilled. We want a Mercosur that sets viable objectives and agreements, that, if necessary, adjusts its objectives to the current possibilities and that has an active external agenda that breaks from isolation".

He concluded this part of his presentation by noting: "Everything with the region, nothing against the region. But from the demand of sincerity that the current regional and international context compels. For a country such as Uruguay to confront the near future, it is necessary to promote the facilitation of genuine regional agreements with encompassing projections. The world is moving in that direction and we cannot be left out of major trade flows…Our countries can combine the attention for their national interests with real concerted regional strategies for integrated development. Together we can better vie for a more competitive and less vulnerable international insertion in such and unpredictable and demanding world. But if we do not want or cannot go all together, let it be done by those of us who want to do it." (See the full text of Chancellor Nin Novoa's speech from March 3, 2015 on http://www.mrree.gub.uy/).

Among other priority issues on the agenda of Mercosur, which will need to be addressed if the shared idea is to overcome the current state of relative anomie, the partners cannot continue much longer without defining an effective strategy for concerted action at the global multilateral, interregional and their own regional level.

Such a strategy should include, among other priorities, concerted actions in the WTO front, in the negotiations of interregional agreements -even in relation to those where Mercosur countries do not participate- and in the immediate region in which Mercosur is inserted, be it South America or Latin American as a whole.

On the front of the WTO, the expectation of resuming and eventually concluding the Doha Round has been reestablished (on this subject, see the issues raised by Director General, Roberto de Azevedo, in his words to the General Council, on February 20, 2015, on https://www.wto.org/).

This is an expectation that may be fueled by the fact that it has not been possible to confirm the most optimistic forecasts with regards to the progress that might be achieved this year in two of the most important interregional trade negotiations, in particular those of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but somehow also those of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Even when Mercosur countries do not participate in such negotiations, those of the TPP require special attention due to the fact that they involve countries of the region with significant trade and investment flows, especially with Brazil and Argentina.

In relation to this, we should also bear in mind that some relevant countries in the international food trade, such as Australia, continue to advance their strategy of concluding preferential trade agreements. The most recent was concluded with China, (see http://www.austrade.gov.au/), a country that, at one time, proposed the idea of undertaking a feasibility study for a free trade agreement with Mercosur. It seems that until the present day Mercosur countries have not responded. Can this be considered as one of the pending issues on its agenda for international trade negotiations? Is it not time to give an intelligent answer to this proposal? If well analyzed, the ASEAN-China agreements can offer a valuable precedent in this regard (see http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/).

Finally, in the Latin American regional front -as well as in the South American one- the question raised at the time by the government of Chile in the sense of addressing a strategy of "convergence in diversity", will require operational definitions in the short term in order to translate it into concrete actions, especially within the more comprehensive and flexible scope of the LAIA (see the December 2014 issue of this newsletter).

It is obvious that any advances in the agendas of these three external fronts will depend largely on the progress that can be made in the agenda of what we have called the metamorphosis of Mercosur (see, among other recent publications by the author on www.felixpena.com.ar-, the September 2014 issue of this newsletter).

.



Recommended Reading:


  • Armstrong, Shiro, "The costs of Australia's free trade agreement with America", East Asia Forum, 8 February 2015, on http://www.eastasiaforum.org/.
  • Bartesaghi, Ignacio, "La política exterior de China desde la perspectiva e intereses de América Latina", en León de la Rosa, Raquel Isamara; Gachúz Maya, Juan Carlos (Coordinadores), "Política Exterior China: relaciones regionales y cooperación", Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla 2015, pp. 245-276, on http://www.observatorioasiapacifico.com/
  • Büthe, Tim; Mattli, Walter, "The New Global Rulers. The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy", Princeton University Press, Princeton - Oxford, 2013.
  • Dugin, Alexander, "Eurasian Mission. An Introduction to Neo-Eurasianism", Arktos Media Ltd., 2014.
  • Dugin, Alexander, "Putin vs Putin. Vladimir Putin Viewed from the Right", Arktos Media Ltd., 2014.
  • Fernández Reyes, Jorge E., "El relacionamiento externo del Mercosur", Estudios del Consejo Uruguayo de Relaciones Internacionales - CURI, Estudios n° 0115, Montevideo, February 5 2015, on http://curi.org.uy/.
  • Fukuyama, Francis, "Political Order and Political Decay. From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy", Profile Books, London, 2014.
  • Goh, Evelyn, "The Struggle for Order. Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia", Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013.
  • Heiser, James D., "The American Empire should be Destroyed: Aleksander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Escathology", Repristination Press, Malone, Texas, 2014.
  • Herreros, Sebastián; García-Millán, Tania, "La participación de América Latina y el Caribe en el Mecanismo de Solución de Diferencias de la OMC. Una mirada panorámica a los primeros 20 años", CEPAL, Serie Comercio Internacional 126, Santiago de Chile, February 2015, on http://www.cepal.org/es.
  • Ivereigh, Austen, "The Great Reformer. Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope", Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014.
  • Johnston, Lauren, "China's road to growth in Africa", East Asia Forum, February 7, 2015, on http://www.eastasiaforum.org/.
  • Lanz, Rainer; Maurer, Andrea, "Services and Global Value Chains -Some evidence on servicification of manufacturing and services networks", WTO, Economic Research and Statistics Division (WTO Working Paper ERSD-2015-03), Geneva, March 2, 2015, on https://www.wto.org/.
  • Lavagna, Roberto, "El desafío de la voluntad. Trece meses cruciales en la historia argentina, Abril 2002 - Mayo 2003", Sudamericana, Buenos Aires 2011.

Félix Peña Director of the Institute of International Trade at the ICBC Foundation. Director of the Masters Degree in International Trade Relations at Tres de Febrero National University (UNTREF). Member of the Executive Committee of the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI). Member of the Evian Group Brains Trust. More information.

http://www.felixpena.com.ar | info@felixpena.com.ar


Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a monthly e-mail with the
latest articles published on this site.


 

Regresar a la página anterior | Top de la página | Imprimir artículo

 
Diseño y producción: Rodrigo Silvosa