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UNCTAD defines NTMs as regulatory and non-regulatory measures that have a de facto impact on international trade, including licencing, procurement practices, subsidies, public SPS standards and voluntary sustainability standards (VSS). A high-level panel at the beginning of the week highlighted concrete cases of how NTMs can have an adverse impact on exports from developing countries. Key points from an ICTSD perspective from the rest of the week include:

  • There should be more transparency in how standards are adopted, regardless of whether they are public or private, so that producers in developing countries know who is blocking their exports and can try to address the problem;
  • Within developing countries, good regulatory practice can streamline the NTMs and reduce the cost of producing and exporting: several countries have participated in World Bank and OECD projects to encourage such practices;
  • At an international level, it’s important to promote regulatory harmonization around NTMs. Within the East African community, for example, there is a mechanism to discuss any new regulations and resolve issues. Using a common NTM classification and mutual recognition of each other’s rules is crucial. Adopting international rules, like from Codex Alimentarius, can help harmonization around standards;
  • A key part of UNCTAD work in recent years has been building an extensive database of such NTMs, covering 109 countries and 90% of trade, based on their statistical classification of each of these measures. This data complements ITC’s StandardsMap, which has info on VSS, and ITC firm-level data on standards adoption;
  • This database is used in the analysis of a new book by UNCTAD and the World Bank, entitled “The Unseen Impact of NTMs: Insights from a new database”. The book focuses on NTMs in the context WTO, TFA and SDGs, and assesses the effects of NTMs on market access.
  • UNCTAD also has a new book “Non-Tariff Measures: Economic Assessment and Policy Option for Development” which provides an overview of the evolving role of NTMs in the multilateral policy framework and how these measures affect development strategies. This book provides an overview of analytical tools for the assessment of how NTMs impact socio-economic development.
  • The UN Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) presented its new 3rdflagship report, which focuses on trade and VSS. The first chapter is by the European University Institute and essentially points out that VSS have a direct influence on sustainable development, by changing the way production is done; and indirectly, because VSS affects trade which affects sustainable development. They then look at all the requirements mentioned in VSS documents using ITC’s standards map, benchmark them against the SDGs, and find that some SDGs are much less represented (eg gender). The second part of the report is on the experience of the UNFSS national platforms.

 

 

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Geneva, Switzerland
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Tuesday, 9 October 2018 - 9:00am to Thursday, 11 October 2018 - 6:00pm

The UNCTAD Global Services Forum (GSF) is convened to advance the development agenda connected to the services’ economy and trade, to raise awareness on the direct and indirect effects of services on inclusive and sustainable development, and to promote and strengthen partnerships between stakeholders.

The GSF 2018 will focus on the important role of knowledge-based services for sustainable development, productive and export diversification, innovation and internationalization.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is a panellist in the session on “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: a services agenda?”

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University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Argentina
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Thursday, 13 September 2018 - 9:00am to Friday, 14 September 2018 - 6:00pm

GVCs  are  a  great  driver  of  international  trade  and  investment  development  in  recent  decades.  But  GVCs  are  largely  controlled  by  a  small  group  of  multi-national  companies  and  benefiting  selected  countries  and  regions.  Electronic  commerce  has  played  a  significant  role  by  lowering  entrance  costs  and  barriers  in  helping SMEs and developing countries to get involved in international trade. Therefore, the inclusiveness of  GVCs  could  be  greatly  enhanced  by  expanding  and  extending  E-commerce  to  more  developing  countries.  In  order  to  make  it  happen,  state  and  private  sectors  should  work  together  to  address  the  economic and policy obstacles restricting the development of E-commerce and GVCs.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is a panellist.

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Thursday, 4 October 2018 - 9:00am to 6:00pm

A Private Conversation with Hon. Rufus H. Yerxa, President of National Foreign Trade Council, Former Deputy USTR and Deputy Director General of the WTO. Under the Trump administration, the international trading order is undergoing profound changes – the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, levied tariffs against its trade partners, most notably China, dismantled the North American Free Trade Agreement, and re-negotiated terms of bilateral trade with the European Union and Japan. All these developments are shaking up the world economy and global value chains, as well as the existing multilateral trading system. Please join us for a roundtable discussion featuring a dialogue between Mr. Rufus H. Yerxa, a senior US trade expert and diplomat, and a group of thought leaders on US and world trade.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, and Shuaihua Cheng, Director of the Global Economic Governance Initiatives at ICTSD, are discussants.

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Beijing, China
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Sunday, 28 October 2018 - 9:00am to 6:00pm

Approved by the State Council, the annual session of China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 will be hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council of China on March 24-26, 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. With “China in the New Era” as its theme, this year’s CDF will address key topical issues, including high-quality development, fiscal and tax systems reform, supply-side structural reform and financial policies, opening-up on all fronts, China’s manufacturing in high-quality development stage, innovation and future development.

2018 marks the first year of implementing the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up policy. The 19th CPC National Congress announced socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and designed a blueprint for China’s development for the next three decades. To make the blueprint into reality, China will remain committed to deepening reform and expanding opening up and make all-round efforts for economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement. In the run-up to a new era for China, what key reforms will be introduced in 2018 has drawn global attention.

As the second largest economy, China has seen its development interconnected with that of the world. Today, the global economy has begun to gradually recover, but uncertainties from geopolitics and economic sectors still loom all over the world. Against this backdrop, it is of wide concern that how China will communicate, coordinate and cooperate with other countries, promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and contribute Chinese wisdom and plans in reshaping global economic driving force, responding to climate change and meeting sustainable development goals.

The CDF is the first major state-level international conference held after the conclusion of the “Two Sessions”, namely the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). With the objective of “Engaging with the World for Common Prosperity”, the Forum is China’s most preeminent platform for dialogue between China’s senior leadership and representatives from global leading businesses, international organisations, and scholars from home and abroad. This year marks the 19th annual session of the Forum. Since its inauguration in 2000, it has promoted international exchanges on development policies and international cooperation.

ICTSD was represented by its Chief Executive, Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz.

 

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Saturday, 24 March 2018 - 9:00am to Monday, 26 March 2018 - 6:00pm