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WTO Issues

Multilateralising Regionalism: The WTO’s Next Challenge
The world’s most important trade talks – the Doha Round – appear to be slipping into a coma while key nations play a waiting game. What are they waiting for? Some are waiting to see if Europe commits to unilaterally dismantling the EU’s massively distortionary agricultural policies during its 2008/2009 review. Others are waiting to see if the next US president is more protectionist or more accommodating. And the major developing nations see their exports growing at double-digit rates despite the stalemate, so what’s the rush?

Geneva Rhetoric, National Reality: Implementing TRIPS Obligations in Kenya
At a prima facie level, this article is about translating obligations to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property1 into the architecture of domestic law. On the other hand, the paper seeks to re-direct attention away from Geneva and towards national capitals. What might in Geneva be widely considered to be a valid interpretation of the obligation may not necessarily be either politically feasible or economically attractive in national capitals. More significantly, some interpretations may not even get a mention in domestic debates.

Doha Dealbreaker
In today’s world, having access to world-class service providers can be the difference between economic growth and stagnation. Open markets promote innovation and entrepreneurship, generate lower costs and higher-quality goods, increase the pace of technology diffusion and attract more foreign investment. Reaching a strong outcome in services in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round is so important that the United States and Australia have decided to make our position clear: Like many other WTO members, we will not support………

Developing States and the WTO: What’s Wrong with Inactivity?
How can developing states’ participation at the WTO be accurately measured? What are the benefits and drawbacks of activity? Is inactivity by developing states a rational strategy? This short essay questions conventional wisdom regarding the level of developing state participation at the WTO and the implicit assumption that more activity is desirable. It does so by exploring some of the methodological and normative questions that arise out of the study of developing state participation at the WTO.

Is what is good for ‘sealing’ the Doha talks good for the trading system?
Trade diplomats and negotiators, who have returned to their desks (after the year-end recess) and resumed efforts at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to conclude the Doha Round of trade talks, are facing an existential situation. Every year in January, ministers and policy-makers in charge of the economy or trade make a ‘pilgrimage’ to Davos (the alpine luxury ski-resort town in northwest Switzerland) to concert with ‘movers and shakers’ of global business, finance and industry at the annual World Economic Forum meeting.

Regional Economic Cooperation

Economic Partnership Agreements: A ‘historic step’ towards a ‘partnership of equals’?
This paper argues that the (interim) EPAs initialled between the EU and less than half of all ACP states at the end of last year do not represent a ‘historic step’ in EU-ACP relations. The majority of EPAs concluded to date are neither complete nor comprehensive trade agreements. Almost all signatory states were countries that would bear substantial economic costs if they lost their preferences in the EU market. Many ACP states submitted hastily drawn up liberalisation schedules ………

Government Should Prepare People for Free Trade
After free-trade deals were put aside during the interim government, the government is back at the negotiating table again. This weekend, Asean, Australia and New Zealand are set to conclude a free-trade agreement (FTA). The deal is a part of Asean’s effort to enhance economic ties within the region. Asean members have earlier concluded deals with China, Japan and South Korea. If successful, Asean’s deal with Australia and New Zealand will be the fourth one. In theory, FTAs are supposed to boost trade………

‘Deeper’ Integration Must Go Beyond Asia’s Borders
Asia needs to start considering ways to “deepen” its economic integration while at the same time keeping itself open to parties from outside the region, experts told the March 24 symposium. East Asia has achieved a high degree of “de facto” market-based integration through establishment of cross-border production networks and now backed by institutional frameworks like free-trade agreements. But the Asian countries should also look further than mere tariff cuts, and move toward facilitation of services………

Regionalism or Multilateralism? A Political Economy Choice
This paper provides a political economy analysis of the incentives underpinning a country’s decision to enter a regional trade agreement when a multilateral free trade agreement is available, and of how entering a regional trade agreement affects the incentives to pursue multilateral trade liberalization. Taking into account the influence exerted by organized interest groups in the formation of trade agreements, we derive a formal condition under which a regional trade agreement………

SAFTA: How Successful has it been So Far?
The South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) signed by the members of the SAARC and implemented in July 2006, has since been a matter of concern for the countries involved, regarding how effective it is in increasing the economic wellbeing of the region in general. When it was initially signed, the goals included forming a common currency for the region and forming a Customs Union (CU) which would eventually lead to Total Economic Integration.

Developmental Issues

Accra 2008: The Bumpy Road to Aid Effectiveness in Agriculture
The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness will be reviewed at the Third High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra in September 2008. The Paris Declaration establishes operating principles for donors and recipient governments to improve the effectiveness of aid. These include government leadership of the development process, a focus on policy results, greater alignment by donors with national policies and management systems, harmonisation between donors with………

Commodity Dependence and Development: Suggestions to tackle the Commodities Problem
A positive correlation has been found between dependence on primary agricultural commodities and poverty, as measured by the human development index. This is due to three prominent features of commodity markets: price volatility; the secular decline of long term prices; and market concentration. Commodity price fluctuation is anathema to economic development for commodity –exporting developing countries: it translates into export earning fluctuations. This in turn lead to fluctuations……….

Untangling links between trade, poverty and gender
Latin American experience shows women need support to benefit from trade liberalisation. Links between trade, growth and poverty reduction are under global scrutiny by a broad range of policy and civil society actors, as are gender dimensions of trade liberalisation. Proponents assume that growth will benefit women, given the disproportionate growth of their employment in export-orientated, labour-intensive light manufacturing. Critics, meanwhile, fear that women may be more vulnerable………

Sustainable Development Perspective of Climate Change
Global environmental problems like climate change should be conceptualised as problems of consumption and not production patterns. A consumption rather than a production-based vision for environmentally sustainable economic growth would make the design and implementation of climate protection, as well as other environmental problems, more effective. Moreover, implementation in the context of international burden sharing, where benefits are not equally shared, requires…………

Growth – Building Jobs and Prosperity in Developing Countries
Economic growth is the most powerful instrument for reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in developing countries. Both cross-country research and country case studies provide overwhelming evidence that rapid and sustained growth is critical to making faster progress towards the Millennium Development Goals – and not just the first goal of halving the global proportion of people living on less than $1 a day. Growth can generate virtuous circles of prosperity and opportunity.

Call for Publications

For experts publishing articles in South Asian newspapers/publications, civil society organisations, research institutes and academics, if you would like your publication’s abstract and weblink to distributed to CUTS International network (above 5,000 recipients all over the world) and added to the Economiquity e-newsletter, please forward such details via email to following address:

This e-newsletter is compiled by the CUTS CITEE team, CUTS International

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