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  • Author: Jeremy de Beer
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The era of global multilateralism in international trade is coming to an end. The World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Doha Round, which sought to reduce multilateral trade barriers, has been declared “dead and buried” according to certain scholars. New WTO reform efforts may be rekindled; however, the world has shifted toward international economic regionalism. The WTO defines regional trade agreements as reciprocal preferential trade agreements between two or more partners (whether or not from the same region), of which almost 300 are in force. While these agreements can be called bilateral, free, regional or preferential trade agreements, there is a more important issue than naming.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, World Trade Organization, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Robert McDougall
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The impasse in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the appointment of new members of the Appellate Body is just one symptom of crisis in cooperation on trade. Driven by skepticism about multilateralism and binding dispute settlement, and by a growing strategic and economic rivalry with China, the current US administration has elevated longstanding US concerns about WTO dispute settlement to new heights. The inability of WTO members to exercise their collective authority to interpret the meaning of their WTO commitments has meant that the Appellate Body is effectively not subject to any checks and balances. As other WTO members blocked US efforts to negotiate more member control, the United States increasingly turned to unpopular unilateral mechanisms, culminating in the current block on new appointments as part of its more disruptive trade policy. Assuming the United States will eventually return to rules-based trade, restoring the WTO dispute settlement system to full capacity and enhancing its legitimacy will likely require some changes. This might include improving mechanisms for political oversight, diverting sensitive issues from adjudication, narrowing the scope of adjudication, improving institutional support and providing members more say over certain procedures. Preserving compulsory, impartial and enforceable dispute settlement in the WTO will require an accommodation of different perspectives on how the system should function. Achieving this, in whatever form, will contribute to maintaining and even strengthening multilateral cooperation on trade.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Global Political Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Neither the trade regime nor the climate regime has so far displayed any willingness to confront the coming clash between climate ambitions and trade rules. To minimize the economic and political risks of such a collision, the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should adopt a WTO climate waiver. To further carbon pricing and to facilitate the necessary green transition in the global economy, the core of a WTO climate waiver should be a waiver from the applicable trade rules for national measures that: discriminate on the basis of carbon and other greenhouse gases used or emitted in making a product; fit the definition of a climate response measure as defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and do not discriminate in a manner that constitutes a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. A WTO climate waiver should also include support for trade restrictions by carbon markets and climate clubs, trade disciplines on fossil fuel subsidies, and green subsidies that support innovative outcomes rather than particular technologies. Along with a climate waiver, WTO members should also confirm that carbon taxes qualify as border tax adjustments under trade rules. The adoption of a WTO climate waiver is a central and critical part of the overall reimagining of international trade law that is needed to fulfill the stated WTO goal of engaging in trade and other economic endeavours consistently with the objectives of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kodirjon Maxamadaminovich Umarkulov
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: At the current stage of globalization, Central Asia (CA) is becoming a focal point for the political and economic interests of global forces because of its rich natural resources and critical strategic position. From this point of view, the CA countries need to form a joint development strategy for solving regional problems and a strong mechanism for countering the main political and economic conflicts in the region. At the same time, the countries of the region need to choose the path of joint development in order to increase the efficiency of their internal capacities and resources, adapt the domestic social and economic infrastructure to modern requirements and improve the living standards of the population. This is directly related to the progress of regional economic integration in CA. Through this integration, the economies of the countries in the region could complement each other and ensure a high level of development in mutual trade and industrial development. However, there are some obstacles and problems hindering the development of economic integration in the region. Most particularly, the weak infrastructure in the region, its economic-geographical isolation from world markets, administrative barriers and political instability hinder trade between the countries of CA. From this point of view, this study focuses on the problems of general and cross-border trade in CA countries, and the opportunities for economic integration in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Integration, Economic Policy, Exports
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Joost Pauwelyn, Weiwei Zhangb
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that, in recent years, the legalized mechanism of dispute settlement before the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been “busier than ever”, “a victim of its own success”. This paper uses count data to assess the WTO’s current caseload and examines how it has evolved since the WTO’s creation in 1995. We also forecast panel and Appellate Body (AB) caseload ten years from now using different scenarios. WTO dispute settlement does, indeed, currently experience a peak in terms of the total number of cases pending before panels and the AB (as of 30 April 2018, respectively, 18 and 8). However, this is not due to an increase in new cases filed (new consultation requests markedly reduced, from a high of 50 in 1997 to “only” 17 in 2017), but rather because pending cases take much longer to conclude as they have become more complex and are often delayed for lack of human resources. In addition, fewer cases filed get formally settled (from 20% in the first five years of the WTO to almost zero after 2014), appeal rates remain very high (on average 68%), and the share of follow-up disputes over compliance (DSU Art. 21.5) has markedly increased, all three factors leading to more (pending) caseload without actually more (new) cases filed, or more panel or AB reports issued (the number of reports produced per year has actually gone down, dropping from a peak of 26 panel reports and 13 AB reports in 2000, to “only” 13 panel reports and 6 Appellate Body reports in 2017).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Michal Ovádek, Ines Willemynsa
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Relative to the study of free trade agreements, customs unions (CUs) have been neglected in international law scholarship, despite the fact that by no means do they constitute a recent phenomenon. The present article aims to fill this gap by conducting a scoping analysis of the concept of customs union and identifying key issues in CU designs. The article problematizes what is understood by the concept of CU and what is entailed by the foremost definition of CUs, found in Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It further investigates how recurrent design issues are resolved in practice by different CUs considering the inherent tension between the enactment of common rules and institutions and state sovereignty. We find variety in the historical, economic and legal conceptualizations of CUs, flexibility and lacunas in Article XXIV GATT, and diversity of CU designs along with a discernible concern for the legal arrangements’ impact on state sovereignty.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Unions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amalie Giødesen Thystrup
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals' SDG 5 places gender equality front and centre for sustainable development. The Joint Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment on the Occasion of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017 brings gender equality to the forefront of trade policy. In the intersection of trade policy and digital technologies, this paper examines how electronic commerce can work towards gender equality, filling a knowledge gap about gender-inclusive governance. Legal-empirical analysis of key regulatory and policy challenges facing women in e-commerce, and identification of vehicles for gender equality at the regional and multilateral level are followed by policy options for promoting women participation in e-commerce. The paper presents a framework for understanding the multiplicity of gender gaps as they manifest themselves in e-commerce models, suggesting potential but also concerns, and advances a multi-level approach to incorporating gender-inclusive e-commerce regulation into trade policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Women, Digital Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Davide Rigo
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: This paper uses the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys as a sample of 18 developing and emerging economies to investigate the causal relationship between global value chains and the transfer of technology to manufacturing firms in developing nations. It focuses on one specific channel for technology transfer, namely the licensing of foreign technology. By using a propensity score matching difference-in-differences technique, I show that there is a positive and causal impact of being involved in complex international activities (i.e. being a two-way trader) on the licensing of technology. Importantly, domestic firms becoming two-way traders are more likely to acquire foreign-licensed technology than domestic firms starting to either export or import. These findings suggest that the complexity associated with the trading activity determines whether or not foreign technology is licensed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, World Bank, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Leonardo Borlinia, Francesco Montanaro
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: This article examines the recent evolution of the EU anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) legislative framework, focusing on the relationship between the main international standards in the field and the newest EU legislation. It suggests that international soft law norms—in particular, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations—have had a decisive influence on the latest development of legislation at the EU level and within its member states. It further argues that mainly the preventive component of the AML/CTF legislation will be strengthened by the EU instruments adopted in mid-2015. However, this Article concludes that the adoption of global soft standards has posed significant challenges to the EU legislative framework. The arguments are developed in four parts. The Article first highlights the main regulatory prescriptions that stem from the study of the phenomenology and the economics of AML/CTF regulation and underpin the current international regulatory paradigm. Second, it explores the evolution of the main international instruments in the field with a special focus on the role played by the FATF Recommendations. It also illustrates the relation between these instruments and the adoption of the new EU AML/CTF legislation from two different, but complementary, angles: (1) noting that the current international AML/CTF framework has a multidisciplinary approach, the Article focuses on the framework's repressive component and assessing the limits of the EU criminal approach against money laundering and terrorist financing; and (2) examining the recent EU preventive legislation and addressing the main challenges posed to the EU legislative framework when attempting to accommodate global standards, especially regarding tensions with fundamental freedoms and human rights protected within the EU.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Law, Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus