The distortion of currencies misalignments on trade Instruments: or why currencies wars are not over

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2012
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The negotiations of mega agreements between the US and the Pacific countries (TPP) and between the US and the EU (TTIP) are raising the attention of experts on international trade law and economics. TPP and TTIP are proclaimed to be the designers of the rules for the XXI Century. Old trade instruments such as tariffs are said to be no more important for TTIP because tariffs are negligible among those partners but significant to for TPP. Another relevant agreement in negotiation is between the EU and Mercosul, where tariffs are the most important issue in discussion. The main purpose of this paper is to shows that tariff are important for all these agreements, not because of its nominal value, but because the impacts of exchange rate misalignments on tariffs are so significant that all concessions can be distorted by overvalued and by devaluated currencies. The article is divided into several sections: the first gives an introduction to the issue; the second explains the methodologies used to determine exchange rate misalignments and also presents some results for Brazil, US and China; the third summarizes the methodology applied to calculate the impacts of exchange rate misalignments on the level of tariff protection through an exercise of 'misalignment tariffication' and examines the effects of exchange rate variations on tariffs and their consequences for the multilateral trading system; the fourth creates a methodology to estimate exchange rates against a basket of currencies (a virtual currency of the World) and a proposal to deal with persistent and significant misalignments related to trade rules. The fifth presents some estimates for the main PTAs. The conclusions are present in the last section


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