Resources

2 April 2008

REGIONALISM OR MULTILATERALISM: A POLITICAL ECONOMY CHOICE. By Giorgia Albertin, IMF, March 2008. This paper provides a political economy analysis of the incentives underpinning a country's decision to enter a regional trade agreement when a multilateral free trade agreement is available, and of how entering a regional trade agreement affects the incentives to pursue multilateral trade liberalization. Taking into account the influence exerted by organized interest groups in the formation of trade agreements, the authors derive a formal condition under which a regional trade agreement is preferred to a multilateral one. Furthermore, they show that a country's decision to enter a regional trade agreement unambiguously undermines the incentives towards multilateral trade liberalization. The paper is available online at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.cfm?sk=21821.0. FROM DECLARATIONS TO ACTIONS ON COMMODITIES: MAKING THE TURNING POINT AT UNCTAD XII. South Centre Policy Brief, March 2008. With the multilateral trade negotiations at an impasse, with the rising concern on climate change and energy insecurity, rising international food prices which disproportionately affect the poor, the time is ripe for all concerned on development to start taking concrete actions to address the plight of the commodity crisis. This paper sets out a number of goals for UNCTAD XII delegates to consider before the meeting later this month. The time is high for translating pledges and action plans on commodities into concrete actions. Given UNCTAD's historical role, there is no better framework other than UNCTAD XII for gathering the steam for this. The brief is available online at http://www.southcentre.org/info/policybrief/14UNCTAD_Commodities.pdf. TROPICAL AND DIVERSIFICATION PRODUCTS: STRATEGIC OPTIONS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. By Santiago Perry for the ICTSD Programme on Agricultural Trade and Sustainable Development, March 2008. The purpose of this Issue Paper (No. 11) is to identify options for liberalising trade in tropical and diversification products. The paper seeks to balance the position of a group of Latin American countries that are seeking fullest liberalisation of trade in tropical and diversification products under the World Trade Organization (WTO) with that of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that have expressed their concerns that a multilateral elimination of tariffs might result in their loss of preferential access to the markets of developed countries. A possible methodology to help developing countries identify the tropical and diversification products of major interest to national development is proposed. The paper is available online at http://www.agtradepolicy.org/output/resource/Tropical_and_Diversification_Products_Perry08.pdf. THE LEGALITY OF PPMs UNDER THE GATT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE TRADE POLICY. By Jason Potts, IISD, 2008. Since the Tuna-Dolphin cases in the mid-'90s, the treatment of process and production methods (PPMs) under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and subsequently the World Trade Organization (WTO), has been a pivotal point of debate and controversy for environmentalists, policy-makers and industry alike. And while governments and other stakeholders have since openly recognized the importance of policy which takes into account the nature of the processing and production methods, a general myth on the illegality of PPM-based policies within the WTO has persisted. Following an examination of the alleged grounds for this conclusion, as well as recent decisions by the WTO Appellate Body, the paper concludes not only that there is no basis for the assumption that PPM-based policy is a priori illegal under the WTO, but also that the legality of any given measure is favoured by taking guidance from basic principles of sustainable development such as economic efficiency, science-based decision-making and international cooperation. Building from this observation, the paper concludes by outlining a series of targeted strategies for the design of WTO-compliant PPM policy. The book is available online at http://www.iisd.org/publications/pub.aspx?pno=950.

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19 March 2008
Exceptions and limitations to copyright protection dominated discussions in a key World Intellectual Property Organization committee last week. Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Uruguay put forward a...
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2 April 2008
Three Caribbean leaders last week urged US President George W. Bush to renew Washington's trade preference scheme for exports from Caribbean countries before it expires on 30 September. Bahamian...
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