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WTO Issues

Disconnects at all levels
If even a more than average reader of political, economic and business news and news about the Doha multilateral trade talks at the World Trade Organization feels confused these days, he or she has every reason to be. There are disconnects all around, with too many spins by too many of the leading participants, who are trying to repeat history. Take the simplest ‘disconnect’: the time-span or duration set for the negotiations.
The WTO and Energy: WTO Rules and Agreements of Relevance to the Energy Sector
Energy was not specifically addressed by international agreements for a long time, and was mostly treated in a political context as a special case. It is now commonly accepted that the existing World Trade Organization (WTO) rules apply equally to energy products. These rules are not, however, well designed to address some trade-related issues in the energy sector. The WTO addresses import barriers to a larger extent than export barriers. In the energy sector, the trade restrictions are more pertinent to export barriers.
European Community–Sugar: cross-subsidization and the World Trade Organization
An important recent World Trade Organization dispute settlement case for many developing countries concerned European Union exports of sugar. Brazil, Thailand, and Australia alleged that the exports have substantially exceeded permitted levels as established by European Union commitments in the WTO. This case had major implications for both European Union sugar producers and developing countries that benefited from preferential access to the European Union market.
The World Trade Organisation’s Doha Cotton Initiative: A Tale of Two Issues
Four West African nations have demanded that the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda include a Cotton Initiative that involves two issues: cutting cotton subsidies and tariffs, and assisting farm productivity growth in Africa. This paper provides estimates of the potential economic impacts of (a) complete or partial removal of cotton subsidies and import tariffs globally and (b) cotton productivity growth through the adoption of genetically modified (GM) cotton varieties.
The WTO and its Institutional Impediments
The latest round of multilateral trade negotiations — the Doha Round — initiated a comprehensive negotiating round set out in a complex structure. At the same time, this Round focused attention on a ‘development agenda’, all as part of a ‘single undertaking’ with an ambitious three year deadline. The negotiations were troubled from the start and there are not many signs that agreement will be reached anytime soon. Given the long standing impasse, the time is now ripe to begin evaluating ……

Regional Economic Cooperation

Rules of origin and the web of East Asian free trade agreements
The authors provide an overview of the preferential rules of origin in East Asia, highlighting the aspects that might possibly generate some trade-chilling effects. They review characteristics of existing preferential trade agreements with special emphasis on lessons from the European experience, and analyze some important features of the existing rules of origin in East and South-East Asian regional integration agreements. The empirical analysis of the effectiveness of preferentialism on intra-regional trade flows focuses on the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)…..
Why are Trade Agreements Regional?
This paper shows how distance may be used to coordinate on a unique equilibrium in which trade agreements are regional. Trade agreement formation is modeled as coalition formation. In a standard trade model with no distance between countries, a familiar problem of coordination failure arises giving rise to multiple equilibria; any one of many possible trade agreements can form. With distance between countries, and through strategic interaction in tariff setting, regional trade agreements generate larger rent-shifting effects than non regional agreements……….
Trade and Major Power Alliance Decisions
Why would a major power form an alliance with a much weaker state when such a state can contribute little to the alliance’s military power? Research on asymmetric alliances suggests that the powerful state may receive non-security compensation for these security commitments. This paper presents evidence that trade are one such motive for asymmetric alliance commitments. Just as fear of losing a valuable trading relationship deters bilateral conflict between trading partners, so it also gives states a motive to defend their trading partners from external threats that might disrupt commerce.
Why is this Chapter Different from All the Others? An Examination of Why Countries Enter into Non-Enforceable Competition Policy Chapters in Free Trade Agreements
There has been an explosion in the past 10-15 years of bilateral and regional free trade agreements in Latin America (together preferential free trade agreements or “PTAs”). The purpose of PTAs is to increase trade, regulatory and investment liberalization. As trade liberalization requires more than just a reduction of tariffs, PTAs include “chapters” in a number of areas of domestic regulation. These chapters that address domestic regulation, create binding commitments to liberalize domestic regulation that may impact foreign trade.
Emerging Middle Powers’ Soft Balancing Strategy: State and Perspectives of the IBSA Dialogue Forum
How can weaker states influence stronger ones? This article offers a case study of one recent exercise in coalition building among Southern middle powers, the ‘India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum’. The analysis outlines five major points: first, it argues that the three emerging players can be defined as middle powers in order to frame their foreign policy behavior and options at the global level. Second, soft balancing is a suitable concept to explain IBSA’s strategy in global institutions. Third, institutional foreign policy instruments ………..

Developmental Issues

Linking globalisation to poverty: Is globalisation good for the poor?
Globalisation is a double-edged sword, it offers new opportunities for accelerating development and poverty reduction, but also poses challenges that undermine potential gains for the poor. This Policy Brief examines various transmission mechanisms, through which the process of globalisation affects different dimensions of poverty in the developing world, including the: globalisation–growth–inequality–poverty causal chain; globalisation–capital and labour mobility–poverty channel, etc.
Globalization and Income Inequality: A European Perspective
There is growing concern in Europe over the impact of globalization on high and evenly shared living standards. These concerns have often surfaced in response to falling labor income shares in aggregate national income data. However, these data may tell little about the underlying distribution of incomes based on household disposable incomes. While summary measures of income distributions also suggest that inequality……
What Drives China’s Growing Role in Africa?
What role does China play in Africa’s development? What drives China’s increasing economic involvement in the continent? This paper attempts to provide a quantified assessment of China’s multifaceted influence as market, donor, financer and investor, and contractor and builder. Though in the past official development aid predominated, the paper argues that government policies, markets for each other’s exports, Africa’s demand for infrastructure …..
International NGOs and Poverty Reduction Strategies: The Contribution of an Asset-based Approach
This scoping study has two principle objectives. It provides a summary of current poverty reduction strategies of US and UK-based international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) with a special emphasis on the underlying frameworks that form the basis of their development interventions. Secondly, the study identifies the applicability of an asset accumulation framework to prevailing programmatic and advocacy strategies for poverty reduction employed by INGOs.
Is Food Insecurity More Severe in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa?
This paper uses data from national household expenditure surveys to explore whether food insecurity is more severe in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. It employs two indicators of the diet quantity dimension of food insecurity, or the inability to access sufficient food: the prevalence of food energy deficiency and the prevalence of severe food energy deficiency. It also employs two indicators of the diet quality dimension, indicating lack of access to nutritious food: the prevalence of low diet diversity and the percent of energy from staple foods.

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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