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CETA Without Blinders: How Cutting ‘Trade Costs and More’ Will Cause Unemployment, Inequality and Welfare Losses

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  • Pierre Kohler
  • Servaas Storm

Abstract

Proponents of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) emphasize its prospective economic benefits, with economic growth increasing due to rising trade volumes and investment. Widely cited official projections suggest modest GDP gains after about a decade, varying from between 0.003% to 0.08% in the European Union and between 0.03% to 0.76% in Canada. However, all these quantitative projections stem from the same trade model, which assumes full employment and neutral (if not constant) income distribution in all countries, excluding from the outset any of the major risks of deeper liberalization. This lack of intellectual diversity and of realism shrouding the debate around CETA’s alleged economic benefits calls for an alternative assessment grounded in more realistic modeling premises. In this paper, we provide alternative projections of CETA’s economic effects using the United Nations Global Policy Model (GPM). Allowing for changes in employment and income distribution, we obtain very different results. In contrast to positive outcomes projected with full-employment models, we find CETA will lead to intra-EU trade diversion. More importantly, in the current context of tepid economic growth, competitive pressures induced by CETA will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses. At a minimum, this shows that official studies do not offer a solid basis for an informed decision on CETA.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Kohler & Servaas Storm, 2016. "CETA Without Blinders: How Cutting ‘Trade Costs and More’ Will Cause Unemployment, Inequality and Welfare Losses," GDAE Working Papers 16-03, GDAE, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dae:daepap:16-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fritz Breuss, 2017. "A Macroeconomic Model of CETA's Impact on Austria," WIFO Working Papers 532, WIFO.
    2. Alex Izurieta & Pierre Kohler & Juan Pizarro, 2018. "Financialization, Trade, and Investment Agreements: Through the Looking Glass or Through the Realities of Income Distribution and Government Policy?," GDAE Working Papers 18-02, GDAE, Tufts University.
    3. Monica Hernandez, 2019. "The Rising Importance of Non-tariff Measures and their use in Free Trade Agreements Impact Assessments," GDAE Working Papers 19-03, GDAE, Tufts University.
    4. Pierre Kohler & Francis Cripps, 2018. "Do Trade and Investment (Agreements) Foster Development or Inequality?," GDAE Working Papers 18-03, GDAE, Tufts University.
    5. Paul Bogdan Zamfir, 2018. "Reflections On Romania'S Trade With Canada–As Member Of Nafta," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 0, pages 90-97, December.
    6. Katharine Heyl & Felix Ekardt & Paula Roos & Jessica Stubenrauch & Beatrice Garske, 2021. "Free Trade, Environment, Agriculture, and Plurilateral Treaties: The Ambivalent Example of Mercosur, CETA, and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(6), pages 1-24, March.

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