Explanations for Slowdown of Global Trade


April 20, 2016, 12:15 PM to 1:30 PM EDT
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
Caroline Freund (PIIE), Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE), Ralph Carter (FedEx) and Aaditya Mattoo (World Bank)

Event Summary

Economists explored explanations for the slowdown of global trade at an event held by PIIE on April 20, 2016. Senior Fellow Caroline Freund presented her view that the slowdown is mostly cyclical (and affected by a topping out of supply chains). Gary Clyde Hufbauer, PIIE's Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, argued that the slowdown is primarily the result of cumulating small, hidden protectionist measures and a lack of liberalization. Also presenting was Ralph Carter, managing director of legal and international affairs at FedEx; Aaditya Mattoo, research manager for trade and integration at the World Bank; and Susan Lund, McKinsey & Company.

Freund, who has been with the Institute since May 2013, was chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank from 2011 to 2013. Prior to that she was lead economist from 2009 to 2011 and senior economist during 2002—09 in the research department of the World Bank. She was also senior economist at the International Monetary Fund during 2006—07 and economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1997 to 2003. Her latest book is Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging-Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms.

Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow since 1992, was formerly the Maurice Greenberg Chair and Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 1996 to 1998 and the Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Finance Diplomacy at Georgetown University from 1985 to 1992. He is the author of numerous influential studies of trade, protectionism, investment, and international tax.

Carter is responsible for FedEx policies on global trade and trade facilitation. Before establishing the FedEx Legal, Trade and International Affairs office in Washington, he was managing director in the legal department of the FedEx headquarters for Europe and the Middle East and Africa in Brussels, Belgium. Before joining FedEx, he worked at the US Department of State, serving as the special assistant to the United States ambassador to the European Union.

Mattoo specializes in trade policy analysis and international trade agreements. Prior to joining the World Bank in 1999, Mattoo was economic counsellor at the World Trade Organization. Between 1988 and 1991, he taught economics at the University of Sussex and Churchill College, Cambridge University.