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WTO Issues

Another achievement for small states at WTO
It should also be recognised that small, vulnerable economies account for a very small and insignificant share of total world trade. The first came on 10 October 2006 when the WTO General Council agreed for the Pacific Islands Countries to use regional bodies to help them meet their obligations in three WTO Agreements. These are the Sanitary & Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). And to put icing on the cake, the council also agreed to provide technical and financial assistance to such regional bodies.
China, India, and the Law of the World Trade Organization
This article seeks to assess the respective contributions of China and India to the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to gain from a comparative perspective a better understanding on the potential impact of China on the WTO system. It observes that, although China’s share in world trade is more than four times as large as that of India, China has played a much less significant role than India in both WTO rulemaking and adjudicatory processes. To date the major impact of China on WTO law stems from the special terms of its accession, many of which depart from the basic norms and principles of the WTO.
A New Approach to Audiovisual Products in the WTO: Rebalancing GATT and GATS
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions, which recently entered into force, highlights the lingering tensions among WTO Members about trade and culture, most often reflected in disputes and debates concerning audiovisual products. The current treatment of audiovisual products under WTO law (and particularly GATT 1994 and GATS) is far from satisfactory. Problems include the distinction between goods and services, the uncertainty of existing exceptions, and the limitations on liberalization under GATS with respect to audiovisual products.
Can the Trading System Be Governed? Institutional Implications of the WTO’s Suspended Animation
This paper assesses the need for institutional reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the background of the difficulties in reaching an agreement in the Doha round. The author examines the importance of power and participation in WTO negotiations focusing on the critical mass in the WTO and agency in negotiations. Furthermore, he analyzes WTO decision-making principles and the importance of modalities. He then discusses the relevance of internal transparency in the negotiation process to finally address the question whether the trading system can be governed without institutional reform.
Indisputably Essential: The Economics of Dispute Settlement Institutions in Trade Agreements
This paper is a step towards the formulation of a coherent economic theory of dispute settlement. It challenges traditional models of enforcement (primarily concerned with acts of punishment) for being insufficient in explaining the existence of dispute settlement institutions. We perform a comprehensive analysis of the economics of dispute settlement institutions and demonstrate to what extent the literatures of trade cooperation and dispute institutions are (and should be) interlinked. On the basis of these theories, we show that dispute settlement institutions in trade agreements may assume ………
World Trade Organisation at the Crossroads: The Legitimacy Dimension
The World Trade Organisation, created for the specific purpose of trade liberalisation, is faced with multiple problems that undermine its legitimacy. The article addresses this specific issue and delves into the policy initiatives undertaken by the organisation to counter criticism about its lack of legitimacy. There are doubts whether the organisation, with the meaningful participation of stakeholders, will effectively discharge its functions while ensuring that the rules of international trade lead to equitable outcomes.

Regional Economic Cooperation

Harnessing regional co-operation to foster global trade financial scene
The focus of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Trade and Development Report 2007 is seen in its subtitle ‘Regional co-operation for Development’. Developing countries such as India would do well to foster regional co-operation with other countries but should be wary of bilateral agreements with the developed countries and regional preferential trade agreements (PTAs). The PTAs might help in attracting foreign capital and improve market access but they could limit the space available to domestic policy makers in promoting competitive industries at home.
Examining aspects of free trade pacts
A free trade agreement (FTA) is an agreement between designated groups of countries that have agreed to eliminate tariffs, quotas and preferences on most (if not all) goods traded between themselves. It is considered the second stage of economic integration. FTAs help strengthen business climates by eliminating or reducing tariff rates, improving intellectual property regulations, opening government procurement opportunities, easing investment rules and much more. Typically, FTAs can be: bilateral; i.e., an agreement between two countries; or multilateral; i.e., an agreement between several countries.
Trade and Development Report 2007: Regional Cooperation for Development
The 2007 Trade and Development Report focuses on regional cooperation. The report highlights that developing countries should strengthen regional cooperation with other developing countries. The report notes that North-South bilateral or regional preferential trade agreements should not be limited to trade liberalization but extend to policy, monetary and financial arrangements and industrial policies. The report concludes that regional cooperation provides a sound basis for meeting the MDGs.
ASEAN+3 or ASEAN+6: Which Way Forward?
The surge in free trade agreements (FTAs) in East Asia since the Asian financial crisis has prompted a lively debate on the characteristics, impact, and future path of FTAs in the region. This paper maps the salient characteristics of East Asian FTAs using a new FTA database, identifies several key issues to be addressed, and explores economic effects using computable general equilibrium analysis. The paper argues that WTO-plus elements need to be further expanded and the negative aspects of FTAs be minimized. The paper suggests that consolidation of multiple and overlapping FTAs ………..
Towards Greater Economic Connectivity in South Asia
To strengthen economic connectivity in south Asia, members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation should not depend solely on the SAARC framework, and the agreement on the South Asia Free Trade Area. The natural market integration process that started in south Asia with the high growth in India in particular, can give an impetus to strengthening economic connectivity. The private sector in south Asia, through the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has to play a key role as a pressure group to remove impediments for economic integration.
Prospects of India–Bangladesh Economic Cooperation: Implications for South Asian Regional Cooperation
In recent years, South Asia has received growing attention as a region that is integrating successfully into the global economy. To maximize the benefits in terms of faster growth and poverty reduction, the region will need to strengthen regional and bilateral cooperation in several areas. In this context, closer bilateral cooperation and integration between major South Asian countries, such as between India and Bangladesh, will strengthen the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and help ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of their activities.

Developmental Issues

Sri Lanka’s Sources of Growth
This paper uses the growth accounting framework to assess Sri Lanka’s sources of growth. It finds that while labor was the dominant factor contributing to growth in the 1980s, labor’s contribution declined over time and was overtaken, to a large extent, by total factor productivity (TFP) and, to a lower extent, by physical and human capital accumulation. A higher growth path over the medium term will depend on securing a stable political and macroeconomic environment; implementing structural reforms necessary to improve productivity and efficiency of investment; attaining fiscal consolidation; and creating space for the private sector.
Commons as insurance: safety nets or poverty traps?
Common property resources are often used by households of developing countries as insurance in case of economic stress. The aim of this paper is to consider the potential poverty-trap implications of this use. If the capacity of the resource is small, or if the population in need of insurance is too large, the households are trapped in CPR extraction activity and cannot get more than their subsistence requirement. In this context, cooperation between households and the introduction of a cooperative insurance mechanism may sustain equilibrium outside the poverty trap and relax pressure on the resource.
Gender Equality, Poverty and Economic Growth
This paper reviews empirical findings from economic analyses of the role of gender equality and women’s empowerment in reducing poverty and stimulating growth. Going beyond the large literature documenting the impact of female education on a range of development outcomes, the paper presents evidence on the impact of women’s access to markets (labor, land, and credit) and women’s decision-making power within households on poverty reduction and productivity at the individual and household level. The paper also summarizes evidence from studies examining the relationship between gender equality and poverty reduction and growth at the macro level.
Diversification of Rural Workforce: Indian Context
It is projected that the proportion of India’s rural population in the working age group of 15-64 years would increase from 62.9 per cent in 2006 to 68.4 percent by 2026 (Economic Survey 2006-2007 p. 215). A diversification of employment opportunities in rural India in conjunction with a larger working age population could offer India the opportunity to benefit from the demographic dividend. However, the employment numbers do not suggest that India might not be on course to reap the demographic dividend. The inability of agricultural sector to absorb workforce …………
The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in Cameroon
This study examines the impact of climate change on crop farming in Cameroon. The country’s economy is predominantly agrarian and agriculture and the exploitation of natural resources remain the driving force for the country’s economic development. Fluctuations in national income are due not merely to the decline in world demand for Cameroon’s traditional agricultural exports or to mistakes in economic policy making, but also to the vagaries of the weather. Based on a farm-level survey of more than 800 farms, the study employs a Ricardian cross-sectional approach …………
Modernizing Unemployment Insurance
In looking toward the future of a modern system, we must have clear goals. In 1936, the federal government powerfully articulated what I believe to be the key goal of unemployment insurance: “to lighten the burden which now so often falls with crushing force upon the unemployed worker and his family.” Seventy years later, the nature of this crushing force has changed. Maintaining living standards immediately after job loss, the original focus of UI, is no longer the major difficulty associated with unemployment. In the twenty-first century economy, the situation has changed in at least three key ways.

Call for Publications

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