Import Ref: 
109
Import Imported: 
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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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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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We participate
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Event
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 9 October 2018 - 9:00am to Thursday, 11 October 2018 - 6:00pm
This fourth meeting of the Gender Research Group will review and gain perspectives on key trade policy lessons stemming from a corpus of analyses related to gender & value chains as developed by ICTSD in the recent years. 
 
The substantive inputs, policy recommendations and expertise that will emerge from the discussions will contribute to, consolidate the analyses currently underway in order to advance international technical discussions on how developing countries can realise women's economic opportunities by harnessing the potential arising from evolving production structures focusing specifically on key trends such as the rise of digital trade and disruptive technologies, the intensification of standards in value chains and, on the other hand foster the dialogue on how to maximize the relationship between women entrepreneurs, financial services  in the context global value chains.
 
Ultimately, ICTSD will leverage the knowledge generated during this meeting to develop and refine a comprehensive African regional engagement strategy on gender and trade so as to ensure that gender can effectively be mainstreamed in the implementation and remaining negotiating phases of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
 
ICTSD gratefully acknowledges funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for part of the research developed under this initiative.
 
This event is by invitation only
 
 
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WTO
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Empowering women in Myanmar’s nascent garment value chainsLooking at Trade from a Gender PerspectiveAborder le commerce sous l’angle du genre
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
Gender
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Partners: 

Date period: 
Monday, 1 October 2018 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Non-state actors have become increasingly important drivers of sustainable trade. The Children’s Rights and Business Principles is an innovative approach for businesses to integrate children’s rights and impact on families into supply chains, product and marketing, and community development. An increasing number of standards are working to mainstream gender equality. These schemes will support millions of children, women, and households, enable businesses to meet their Triple Bottom Line, and contribute to governments’ attainment of the SDGs, especially in relation to SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production) and long-term competitiveness.

This session discussed concrete and practical examples of solutions from company leaders and experts from different parts of the world on how integrating children and women rights can improve brand reputation, risk management, and contribute to the SDGs. The session addressed the impact of global changes, such as rising South-South trade and technology disruptions, on sustainability frameworks for business impact on women and children.

Main takeaways

  • A narrow focus on child labour or gender provisions in standards risks neglecting the myriad other ways that trade affects the welfare of children, women, and other disadvantaged actors in international trade. Trade policy influences a wide range of aspects of child and female welfare, and policymakers and firms should mainstream an understanding of these impacts into how they do business.
  • Companies are learning how to improve the livelihoods of their suppliers, including through partnerships with NGOs that address the real concerns faced by women in their supply chains.
  • Concerns are often raised that providing good conditions for women and children is costly, and that international trade heightens competitive pressures such that those costs become unaffordable, spurring a race to the bottom. This is to be avoided. Using sustainability standards as a way to market compliance with social and labour norms is one way to do so, but it is also true that improving the livelihoods of suppliers does not necessarily increase prices.
  • Trade policy can promote gender equality by focusing on female-dominated sectors; making sure that gender provisions are supported as legitimate in trade dispute settlement mechanisms; and including sections in regional agreements, as in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, that prevent a race to the bottom in tax competition, labour, and related areas.

This event was organised as part of the WTO Public Forum 2018.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is the moderator.

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Place: 
Room S2, WTO
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Updates: 
Looking at Trade from a Gender PerspectiveAborder le commerce sous l’angle du genre
Region: 
Africa
Main Tag: 
Standards
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Partners: 

Date period: 
Tuesday, 2 October 2018 - 11:30am to 1:00pm