Very quick tour d’horizon – trade, migration, China

October 16, 2007

I’ve been a bit short and bluntly political lately in my blog.  No time to write longer, more reflective piece these days. Gearing up in a new job swallows lots of energy! But let me try and share what I’ve been trying to keep up with.

Migration and Immigration. A lot is going on here in Europe. France is introducing a restrictive bill on immigration. It will be imposing DNA tests for family members of immigrants who want to join their relatives in France. This is creating a national uproar. There’s enough on this blog about this topic (see this, and this a bit too long post in French)For my French friends: do have a look at Liberation. Alexandre Delaigue has a good post on one of Libe’s blogs too).

At EU level a lot is happeing on migration these days as well (an excellent FT article gives an overview): EU trends on integration are being assessed by the Migration Integration Policy Index. Do have a look! The country that scores best on everything from non-discrimination to access to nationality of immigrants is Sweden. While the Nordics tend to score well in general, when browsing the maps on the website, Denmark clearly stands out as the black sheep. Eastern European countries will need to make some efforts. I was surprised to learn that Germany makes access to its nationality easier than France. The index is managed by the Migration Policy Group in Brussels. In terms of relatively constrictive approaches to immigration, there have been moves this summer by Spain to allow for legal but managed immigration of workers from Africa. The EU Commission is set to launch a “blue card” for skilled migrants next week, so the FT. More background here and here. A very far way off what others propose: see Dolado and Legrain.

International trade. The US is growing more protectionist (see this post). Ben Muse posted Hillary Clinton’s proposals on trade policy as candidate for the US presidency. Trade Diversion has something on how much trade protection has actually cost the US. The EU is going to be sued because its recent decision to raise tariffs on energy efficient lightbulbs from China (how deliciously ironic!). The WTO ruled against the US’s cotton subsidies: efforts on reducing them are insufficient. Oxfam is campaigning in the US against agricultural subsidies (courtesy of the Econoclastes and Trade Diversion).

China. The annual Communist Party Congress usually leads to a flurry of media coverage on already extremely media-covered China. Two pieces I recommend: the recent Analysis by Richard McGregor in the FT, A piece in Die Zeit. China is growing richer and climbing up the value-added ladder. It is now starting to tackle its huge challenges: growing inequality and the environment.

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