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Currency Undervaluation and Sovereign Wealth Funds: A New Role for the World Trade Organization

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  • Aaditya Mattoo
  • Arvind Subramanian

Abstract

Two aspects of global imbalances - undervalued exchange rates and sovereign wealth funds - require a multilateral response. For reasons of inadequate leverage and eroding legitimacy, the International Monetary Fund has not been effective in dealing with undervalued exchange rates. This paper proposes new rules in the World Trade Organization to discipline cases of significant undervaluation that are clearly attributable to government action. The rationale for WTO involvement is that there are large trade consequences of undervalued exchange rates, which act as both import tariffs and export subsidies, and that the WTO's enforcement mechanism is credible and effective. The World Trade Organization would not be involved in exchange rate management, and would not displace the International Monetary Fund. Rather, the authors suggest ways to harness the comparative advantage of the two institutions, with the International Monetary Fund providing the essential technical expertise in the World Trade Organization's enforcement process. There is a bargain to be struck between countries with sovereign wealth funds, which want secure and liberal access for their capital, and capital-importing countries, which have concerns about the objectives and operations of sovereign wealth funds. The World Trade Organization is the natural place to strike this bargain. Its General Agreement on Trade in Services already covers investments by sovereign wealth funds, and other agreements offer a precedent for designing disciplines for these funds. Placing exchange rates and sovereign wealth funds on the trade negotiating agenda may help revive the Doha Round by rekindling the interest of a wide variety of groups. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 32 (2009)
Issue (Month): 8 (08)
Pages: 1135-1164

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:32:y:2009:i:8:p:1135-1164

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References

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  1. Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2004. "The WTO and the poorest countries: the stark reality," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 385-407, November.
  2. C. Fred Bergsten, 1998. "Fifty Years of the GATT/WTO: Lessons from the Past for Strategies for the Future," Working Paper Series WP98-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  3. Prasad, Eswar & Rajan, Raghuram G. & Subramanian, Arvind, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 3186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kym Anderson & Will Martin & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, 2006. "Distortions to World Trade: Impacts on Agricultural Markets and Farm Incomes," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 168-194.
  5. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Yee Wong & Ketki Sheth, 2006. "US-China Trade Disputes: Rising Tides Rising Stakes," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa78.
  6. Edwin M. Truman, 2007. "Sovereign Wealth Funds: The Need for Greater Transparency and Accountability," Policy Briefs PB07-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  7. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian, 2004. "The WTO and the Poorest Countries," IMF Working Papers 04/81, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Brad Setser, 2007. "The Case for Exchange Rate Flexibility in Oil-Exporting Economies," Policy Briefs PB07-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ho-don Yan & Cheng-lang Yang, 2012. "Does an Undervalued Currency Merit Economic Growth? – Evidence from Taiwan," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(1), pages 37-57, March.
  2. Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Martha Denisse, 2008. "Export surges : the oower of a competitive currency," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4750, The World Bank.
  3. Timilsina, Govinda R. & Shrestha, Ashish, 2008. "The growth of transport cector CO2 emissions and underlying factors in Latin America and the Caribbean," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4734, The World Bank.
  4. Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Déséquilibres globaux, taux de change d’équilibre et modélisation stock-flux cohérente
    [Global Imbalances, Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Stock-Flow Consistent Modelling]
    ," MPRA Paper 51332, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Bernard M. Hoekman, 2013. "Global Governance of International Competitiveness Spillovers," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/33, European University Institute.
  6. Petr Sedláček, 2010. "State-Run Investment Funds: Major Institutional Investors on Global Financial Markets," Acta Oeconomica Pragensia, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(2), pages 3-22.
  7. Arvind Subramanian & Martin Kessler, 2013. "The Hyperglobalization of Trade and Its Future," Working Paper Series WP13-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  8. Helmut Reisen, 2008. "How to Spend It: Commodity and Non-Commodity Sovereign Wealth Funds," OECD Development Centre Policy Briefs 38, OECD Publishing.
  9. Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2008. "Multilateralism beyond Doha," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4735, The World Bank.
  10. Tsani, Stella, 2013. "Natural resources, governance and institutional quality: The role of resource funds," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 181-195.
  11. Schalast, Christoph & Tiemann, Marcel & Tuppi, Pascal, 2009. "Staatsfonds - neue Akteure an den Finanzmärkten?," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 114, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

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