Trade Pales Next to Financial Turmoil

Volume
12,
Number
5
-
6 November 2008
6 November 2008
International trade appears to be on a political back burner as WTO Members grapple with a worsening economic climate, but some still hope for a breakthrough in December. Although governments continue to profess their commitment to completing the Doha Round, their focus in recent weeks has been...
6 November 2008
Recent US and EU sabre-rattling over the WTO-consistency of certain Chinese export taxes has raised the question of whether multilateral trade rules allow countries to impose taxes upon the export of raw materials, essentially in order to ensure a price advantage to domestic industries. This...
6 November 2008
Concerned about access to raw materials, the EU and the US are contemplating a WTO case against restrictions imposed by China on key industrial inputs, mainly used in the steel sector. Although neither trading power has yet formally requested dispute settlement consultations, both are looking into...
6 November 2008
China has requested dispute settlement consultations on anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the United States on its exports of several types of steel products, off-road tyres and woven sacks. One of the aspects challenged by China was that US authorities had used the controversial...
6 November 2008
In an important ruling on the long-running beef hormones dispute, the Appellate Body has clarified procedural issues with regard to trade retaliation, as well as the standard of review that panels must apply when hearing cases that involve health risk assessments. The dispute pertains to the...
6 November 2008
Brazil must bring its import restrictions on retreaded tyres into compliance with global trade rules by mid-December, a WTO-appointed arbitrator has ruled. Around the same time, the country will learn the value of trade sanctions it may impose to compensate for the economic damage resulting from US...
6 November 2008
On 24 October, Mexico requested WTO dispute settlement consultations with the US on the eligibility criteria for the dolphin-safe logo granted by the Department of Commerce (DoC). The two countries have a long history of litigation over yellowfin tuna. The crux of the issue is Mexican fishermen’s...
6 November 2008
After years of hesitation, WTO Members have decided to look into private sector product standards, which developing countries in particular blame for penalising their exports. The decision was taken at an October meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS committee),...
6 November 2008
Small group consultations have restarted on non-agricultural market access, but the most divisive issues will not be addressed in the near term. The new chair of the NAMA negotiations, Swiss Ambassador Luzius Wasescha, briefed the membership on 22 October on the consultations he had held with 47...
6 November 2008
Brazil has suggested that the WTO Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance look into ways to mitigate the impacts of the global credit crunch on trade financing. Brazil argued that “vagaries and lack of or insufficient regulation in other regimes, in particular the monetary and financial systems,...
6 November 2008
Despite some indications of increased flexibility, the first cycle of informal farm talks since July did not produce any tangible results. The chair of the agriculture negotiations, New Zealand’s Ambassador Crawford Falconer, reported to the WTO membership in mid-October on the ‘walks in the woods...
6 November 2008
Russia’s on-again, off-again, bid to join the WTO will be discussed again in November, but expectations are low for a quick solution. In the wake of wide-spread Western criticism of its actions in the Caucasian crisis, Russia announced in August that it would withdraw some commitments it had...
6 November 2008
On 25 July, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy suggested compromise figures for the key stumbling blocks that threatened to derail the Geneva mini-ministerial. The document raises a number of questions with regard to market access for sensitive agricultural products. Specifically, the third ‘...
6 November 2008
The experiences of Nepal and Cambodia since their WTO accession give a glimpse of the challenges other least-developed countries could face upon joining the multilateral trading system. Much will depend on their commitment to domestic reform and effective external technical assistance. On 23 July...
6 November 2008
The fundamental aim of aid for trade is to help low-income countries overcome the structural barriers and weak capacities that limit their ability to benefit from emerging trade and investment opportunities. Donors have substantially increased such contributions since 2005. The WTO Aid for Trade...
6 November 2008
In late November, member states of the United Nations will have an important opportunity to rethink how to fulfil the promise they made six years ago to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the multilateral trading system. The Review Conference on Financing for...
6 November 2008
Costa Rica’s accession to the free trade deal it concluded with the US in 2004 has hit another delay, this time over the constitutionality of its implementing legislation. With the exception of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) has already entered...
6 November 2008
The Andean Community is struggling to maintain at least a semblance of unity in the face of fundamental differences regarding foreign trade. The rift deepened further in September when Colombia and Peru formally requested the European Commission to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements with...
6 November 2008
President Bush has signed into law a one-year extension of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) for Colombia and Peru, both of which have concluded free trade agreements with the US. The Colombian agreement is currently stalled in US Congress, while Peru is still waiting for...
6 November 2008
The European Union is in danger of losing its self-assigned role as the champion of climate change mitigation with member states increasingly worried about the economic implications of taking on far-reaching commitments. European heads of state agreed in October to maintain the EU’s current...
6 November 2008
After nearly seven years of negotiations, the Caribbean has become the first region to sign a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union. The EU and thirteen of the fifteen Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states1 formally signed the agreement on 15 October. The...
6 November 2008
Africa’s three largest regional economic communities agreed in October to work toward establishing a free trade area that would span the length of the continent. The ultimate aim is to convert the arrangement into a single customs union. The decision was made at summit of heads of state...
6 November 2008
A new international treaty on the enforcement of intellectual property rights may see the light of day before the year is out despite serious misgivings from the public. Negotiations on the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand,...
6 November 2008
The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) failed yet again to agree on the way forward in October. While a number of countries saw the establishment of the IGC nearly eight years ago as a developed country ploy to...
6 November 2008
Measures taken in recent years to strengthen and modernise the Russian forestry sector have produced some positive results, but they have also aggravated the already precarious situation of the timber cutting industry and complicated relations between the Russian Federation and the EU. Russia...
6 November 2008
As trade integration has intensified over the past decade, market access has ceased to be solely about tariff liberalisation. Non-tariff barriers now pose at least as serious costs to exporters.
6 November 2008
WTO Meetings Nov. 7 Consultations on the Development Assistance Aspects of Cotton Nov. 21 Dispute Settlement Body Nov. 26-27 Committee on Agriculture - regular session Nov. 27-28 Committee on Regional Trade Agreements Nov. 28 Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology Dec. 4 Committee on...
6 November 2008
Selected Documents Circulated at the WTO Dispute Settlement. 29 August 2008. Brazil – Measures Affecting Imports of Retreaded Tyres. Award of the Arbitrator (WT/DS332/6) Dispute Settlement. 4 September 2008. Mexico – Definitive Countervailing Measures on Olive Oil from the European Communities...