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GTAP Resource #1460

"Trade Policy at the Crossroads - The Indonesian Story"
by Vanzetti, David, Greg McGuire and Prabowo


Following the crises of the late 1990s and the subsequent slowdown of the world economy, many countries in the developed and developing world are at the crossroads in their trade strategy, uncertain whether to advance with trade reforms, to stand still or even to backtrack into protectionism. While the case for liberalisation has been widely accepted as a long- term goal, the gains from trade have not always been forthcoming and macroeconomic crises have exacerbated the situation. The delayed and uncertain benefits of reform, plus the costs of adjustment, the need to offset tariff revenue losses, and the possible benefits of some degree of intervention to foster industrialisation have all contributed to this indecision. Support for the WTO multilateral negotiations now appears half-hearted, and there are even calls for increased protection. Following the failure of multilateral negotiations at Cancún, attention has inevitably turned to regional and bilateral agreements.
Indonesia provides an interesting case study of the potential benefits and costs of alternative trade strategies that are under active consideration in many developing countries. The ASEAN region has recently announced a deepening of its commitments and is considering widening the agreement to include countries such as China, Japan and Korea. A bilateral agreement with the United States is also a possibility. Against this background, Indonesia’s options on trade policy range from reversing previous trade liberalisation to actively pursuing bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives.
The results of a global general equilibrium analysis point to several interesting implications for policymakers. Reverting to protectionism results in economic losses. After undergoing further adjustments, estimated annual gains to Indonesia from a conservative Uruguay Round style outcome within the WTO system adds up to an estimated $380 million (0.22 per cent of GDP). However, annual gains from a completely liberalised ASEAN plus China and Japan, Korea regional trade agreement are estimated at $2.3 billion, again after adjustment. Indonesia could capture half of these benefits by liberalising unilaterally. The major source of the gains from unilateral, regional and multilateral liberalisation is improved efficiency following removal of tariffs on the politically sensitive sectors such as motor vehicles. This improves productivity in many downstream sectors. There are significant trade diversion effects from regional integration, with non-members worse off as a result. The results have implications for other countries having second thoughts about their strategy.

Resource Details (Export Citation) GTAP Keywords
Category: 2004 Conference Paper
Status: Published
By/In: Presented at the 7th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, Washington DC, USA
Date: 2004
Version: 1
Created: Vanzetti, D. (4/29/2004)
Updated: Vanzetti, D. (4/29/2004)
Visits: 1,732
No keywords have been specified.

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