Friday, October 29, 2010

Are Trade and currency openness complementary?

The recurring discussion about US-China trade deficit and the resultant "currency war" left me wondering about a different solution. Can we link trade and currency openness?

The principle is simple, a country should be allowed as much freedom in trade as it allows freedom in pricing exchange rates. If a country has restrictive exchange rates, it should have trade restrictions as well. In a sense, this should prevent countries creating too-big-to-fail currency problems like China has.

With its asset boom, ghost cities, empty offices, China should have eased up a lot earlier. Given the artificial controls on its currency, the markets could not (or did not) adjust the balance accordingly. The question I pose, essentially a hypothesis, is, doesn't this indicate that the two freedoms, that of currency and trade, be complementary?




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