This surprising 10-year multilateral pact was described by Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China's central bank, as a supplement to his country's traditional lending to Africa, which has consisted mainly of bilateral grants and loans and infrastructure projects financed by Chinese state-owned banks.
America is no longer the world's most connected economy--those laurels go to Germany. Germany ranks first, and the U.S. third, with two smaller economies--Hong Kong and Singapore--coming in second and fourth. The index shows that the trade intensity of the U.S.--the value of flows relative to the size of its economy--is only one-third the intensity of Germany and half that of China.
The agenda of global finance, carried out via "trade" deals, has diverted attention from the real economic issues -- rising inequality and insecurity for ordinary people, the use of globalization as a battering ram to empower capital and weaken labor, and to prevent government interventions from averting financial speculation and collapse. Amid these real crises of neo-liberalism, enhanced trade has been portrayed as a deux ex machina, which will solve our problems if only we get rid of what's left of the mixed economy. It won't. The proposed deals would only make matters worse. The coming collapse of the quarter-century laissez-faire crusade that began with the 1986 Uruguay round, with its license for global financial speculation, is to be welcomed. If we can kill this diversion once and for all, maybe we can start paying more attention to the real economic issues.