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  • Author: Antoni Estevadeordal
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On February 22, 2017, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force. The TFA was concluded at the WTO Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013. Since then, countries have been working on implementing the agreement in their domestic markets to reach the two-thirds requirement for implementation.[1] As of March 2017, 113 members (or 69 percent of WTO members) have ratified the agreement—including 19 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries—and another 93 countries have notified the WTO of their timeline for each TFA provision, giving a comprehensive picture of the state of the agreement.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Colin I. Bradford, Roger Burkhardt
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In this policy brief, we discuss the importance of accelerated private investment in skill development of labor as a means to increase the competitiveness of firms, to create value added by workers, and to boost wages and social mobility. This brief was used at the VISION 20 Workshop held at the Brookings Institution on February 27, 2017, to help generate new “big picture” policy approaches for the German G-20 Summit in Hamburg in July. The workshop was sponsored by the University of British Columbia Institute for Asia Research, the Munk School at the University of Toronto, the Boell Foundation, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with the participation of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the German Development Institute.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Social Movement, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: So far, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has defied the odds in its relations with the administration of US President Donald Trump. In contrast to the administration’s at times stormy ride with some other international organizations and agreements, relations have been rather calm — even friendly — between the United States and the IMF. There has been no talk of cutting US funding to the IMF, no threat of pulling out of the organization, no statements casting aspersions on the IMF and no “tweet storms” on specific events involving the IMF. In fact, although not directly from President Trump, statements in support of actions or positions of the IMF have surfaced. Why has the IMF escaped the antagonism of the new administration, and can it continue to do so?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: As mega free trade agreements (FTAs) are reshaping the rules of global governance, there is urgency for member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take proper actions in response to the changing world economic order. On one hand, they should closely observe the progress of negotiations and follow up the issues that are under discussion in mega FTAs. On the other hand, they have to accelerate the pace in concluding the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Fukunari Kimura, Lurong Chen, Maura Ada Iliuteanu, Shimpei Yamamoto, Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is essential for economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness. As the global economy is increasingly organised within global value chains, disciplining and enforcing IPR in a coherent manner internationally has become a critical issue in the 21st century trade system. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement flags America's achievement in setting new standards on international IPR enforcement under a plurilateral framework that involves countries from Asia-Pacific. Yet such standards run the risk of becoming the new norm at the international level. Reaching agreement on the text of the TPP signals emerging Asian economies' heightened commitment to IPR enforcement. Some factors that policymakers may want to consider include the following: Efficient IPR protection at the domestic level is integral to efforts that facilitate technology adoption and stimulate incremental innovations. It is crucial to increase public awareness of intellectual property (IP) in general and its associated rights in particular. IP laws and regulations must at least meet the requirements of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and always aim for higher-level standards. IPR disciplines must be binding and practically enforceable. Asian countries should actively participate in global IPR rule-making. The abundance and quality of human capital will affect not only the level of invention and other innovative activities but also the efficiency of IPR enforcemen
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This paper explores both the role that local content measures can play in advancing sustainable development, and the impact that trade and investment treaties concluded over the past 20 years have had and will continue to have on the ability of governments to employ those tools. Certain local content measures had been restricted under the WTO due to wide agreement by negotiating parties that their costs outweigh their benefits. But the WTO also left a number of local content measures in governments’ policy toolboxes. As is discussed in this paper, however, that is changing, with the range of permissible actions for many countries being significantly smaller than it was even a decade ago. This narrowed policy space, in turn, can limit the steps governments can take to make progress on the universally adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Caroline Freund, Sarah Oliver
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Regulatory standards protect consumers from defective products, but they impede trade when they differ across countries. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) seeks to reduce distortions in the automobile and other industries. Freund and Oliver evaluate the equivalence of automobile regulations in the United States and the European Union in terms of catastrophe avoidance and estimate the trade gains from harmonization. The UN 1958 Agreement on automobiles, which harmonizes regulations among signatories, is used to quantify the trade effect of regulatory convergence. The removal of regulatory differences in autos is estimated to increase trade by 20 percent or more. The effect on trade from harmonizing standards is only slightly smaller than the effect of EU accession on auto trade. The large economic gains from regulatory harmonization imply that TTIP has the potential to improve productivity while lowering prices and enhancing variety for consumers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Manley
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: There has rarely been as large a commodity boom, with such resounding effects, as the one that has recently ended. Policy makers and commentators saw the boom as an opportunity to pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But, after the crash of commodity prices, one might ask whether this opportunity been largely missed. Policymakers and citizens of resource-rich countries should draw lessons from the experience and ascertain what risks and opportunities they now face in a period of depressed prices. To contribute to this thinking, NRGI gathered more than 180 experts for two days of discussion at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in June 2015. Key questions addressed in this conference summary paper include: Were countries prepared for the bust? Was a lack of accountability and transparency really to blame for countries’ poor resource governance efforts? How can transparency be more useful? Has the price slump closed the door on new investment? Is there a “race to the bottom” to stem capital flight? Can we turn the crisis into an opportunity?
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Commodity trading and the activities of trading companies influence economic and governance outcomes in developing countries. Typically privately owned with flexible business models, many trading companies work extensively in “high-risk” environments – including countries with weak institutions, conflicts or other challenges that scare away more risk-averse companies. Given the size of this footprint, and its prevalence in countries with high levels of corruption or poverty (or both), the quality of trading companies’ business practices is of serious concern. Trading companies play several roles through which they influence public institutions and public revenues, and they frequently build close relationships with top officials and political elites. They are major buyers of raw materials sold by governments and state-owned companies worldwide, and these transactions generate significant public revenues. Traders also provide large loans to governments, sell refined products, and enter into joint ventures with state-owned entities. They are expanding their upstream and downstream operations in developing countries as well.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aaron Sayne, Erica Westenberg, Amir Shafaie
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Global interest in ownership transparency is growing, with the G8 adopting principles on beneficial ownership; a dozen EITI countries participating in a beneficial ownership pilot; and the US, UK and EU taking steps toward making more beneficial ownership information available. The aim of such initiatives is to shed light on secret ownership structures that enable some extractive companies to evade tax payments or hide improper relationships with government officials. While a complex and opaque ownership structure is no sure sign that an extractives company is engaging in financial misconduct, the publication of beneficial ownership information can help to deter improper practices and enable detection. This briefing explores options open to countries for collecting, publishing and using information on the beneficial owners of oil, gas and mining companies. It provides background on how beneficial ownership works in the extractive industries and why it matters. The briefing also offers governments, companies and civil society members a framework for deciding what information to publish, and considers the critical question of what more disclosure could realistically achieve.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus