This session will review the trade facilitation elements already included in relevant RTAs, identify the innovative and additional (WTO-plus and WTO-extra) provisions, and consider how to advance these aspects in a Facilitation 2.0 framework. The session will further address conceptual issues related to Facilitation 2.0, delimiting the scope and its relationship with other complementary agendas, including regulatory cooperation and services domestic regulations.
Facilitation 2.0 in Regional Trade Agreements: Enabling Trade in the Digital Age
One year on from its entry into force, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has allowed for sustained momentum on the trade policy reform agenda. However significant, the TFA in its current form extends only to trade in physical goods and is insufficient for the features of the new economy, missing a large part of what increasingly matters to production models and development policy today. Simplified and harmonised procedures in key areas, namely investment, services, and e-commerce are the next step in ensuring that the WTO effectively responds to 21st century economic and developmental imperatives.
This dialogue introduced participants to the concept of Facilitation 2.0 by identifying its components and discussing how each one of them plays a crucial role in the new economy. It then sought to identify relevant provisions in the context of regional trade agreements (RTAs). Four studies were presented on trade-facilitating provisions under RTAs as related to goods, investment, services, and e-commerce, and their connection with WTO covered agreements.
Discussions around existing measures on the four components of Facilitation 2.0 sought to identify areas of convergence and divergence; WTO-plus and WTO-extra elements; remaining facilitation challenges and trade costs; and low-hanging fruit for further rule-making. The discussions also looked at the impact of new technologies on logistical infrastructure, including alternative modes of payment and blockchain, as potential new solutions to facilitate trade.
Participants noted the development potential of Facilitation 2.0 – where big gains are possible, for example, in rural areas in terms of infrastructure related to Internet access, payments and delivery, de minimis for low-value shipments, and coordination between postal and border agencies. In view of the importance of domestic institutions for the effective implementation and enforcement of facilitation measures that deliver on their developmental promise, discussions further drew on the experience of RTAs regarding governance, the rule of law, inter-agency cooperation, and institutional reform.
- Facilitation 2.0 can be a path to speeding up convergence of the Internet of rules, updating frameworks to regulate emerging technologies and touching on areas that include interoperability as well as use of algorithms and data.
- If a country has committed to action or reform in the context of an RTA, it can be beneficial to bring this to the multilateral level – i.e. get other members to commit to something you have already committed to. This will involve an exercise in deciphering which obligations in regional facilitation agreements are difficult to apply on a non-discriminatory basis (and thereby likely to generate higher costs).
- Facilitation 2.0 will need to make data “granular,” parsing through what constitutes restriction and what are necessary measures, based on in depth assessment of specific impacts for countries implementing these measures, with a view to capitalising on the asset value of data, ensuring the right to regulate is preserved and the role of data in trade is unimpeded.
- The development dimension is essential for engaging a significant number of members into a negotiating process. The experience of the TFA is one to look at – it allows for practical differentiation among countries and has mobilised significant financial and technical resources from donor countries and international organisations.
- There is a need for real experiments in the world to develop a history of what works. Developing countries facing the digital divide can observe developed country attempts at regulating the digital economy, learn, and then leapfrog to the most robust solutions that emerge.
- The ecosystem that develops around facilitation agreements ensuring that governments are committed to implementation is as important as the provisions themselves.
The event built on previous ICTSD dialogues and research on these topics. Related opinion pieces include Facilitation 2.0: Enabling trade in the digital age and From Facilitation 2.0 to trade policy 3.0: Opportunities to expand and extend the rules of global trade.
This meeting is part of the RTA Exchange dialogue series aimed at constructing better trade and investment agreements for sustainable development at the regional and multilateral levels.
11 June 2018
14:00 - 14:30
Introduction and Brief Explanation of the Facilitation 2.0 Concept
This session will review the distinct modalities of Facilitation 2.0, considering for each the challenge, including the facilitation needs of business, particularly MSMEs, and the opportunity presented by new trade and investment facilitating rules. The session will assess the measures already in place to address challenges and harness opportunities, and will offer policy solutions to fill the gaps.
16:30 - 16:45
16:45 - 18:15
18:15 - 18:30
This session will review existing disciplines under deep integration RTAs geared towards facilitating trade in goods, cross-referenced with WTO frameworks, including the TFA and the SPS/TBT agreements. The session will seek to clarify the issues at the intersection of these various agreements with a view to further building coherence between them in light of modern terms of production, and leveraging the linkages for effective implementation and streamlined technical assistance.
10:45 - 11:15
A lack of coherent regulations relating to e-commerce incurs high costs and delays, and can represent an obstacle for MSMEs and erode the appeal of cross-border e-commerce for business to business or business to consumer transactions. This session will examine the main provisions related to e-commerce facilitation included in relevant RTAs, analysing the approaches taken in the design and looking at evidence of convergence. The session will offer options to build on experiences towards regional harmonization, as well as to inform multilateral discussions in this area.
This session will review 21st century RTAs to identify the “families” of disciplines relating to services facilitation, aimed at reducing opaque procedures and other bottlenecks facing services and suppliers in order to boost global services flows. The session will consider how the approaches have evolved over time and which countries are providing leadership in this area. The session will then assess the extent to which a critical mass of countries has already adhered to similar commitments, as well as the degree of coherence with WTO architecture with a view to adapting certain elements multilaterally.
16:00 - 16:15
Flows of foreign direct investment are required to mobilise resources for development, allowing for the diffusion of technology and know-how across borders. Investment facilitation aims to help countries attract and benefit from investment, counteracting unduly excessive regulation, weak legal systems, poor infrastructure, and other challenges. This session will provide an overview of different experiences in how investment facilitation is dealt with in modern deep integration RTAs and international investment agreements to generate food for thought for ongoing discussions at the multilateral trade level. The session will consider the level of homogeneity in the design and content of existing provisions, and will evaluate the critical political factors that might facilitate or hinder multilateralisation.
18:00 - 18:15
Closing Remarks and Next Steps
Ricardo MELÉNDEZ-ORTIZ is founder and Chief Executive since 1996 of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Previously, he co-founded and was General Director of Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Quito). He has represented Colombia as a negotiator in several multilateral fora, including as permanent delegate of Colombia in Geneva and as a negotiator in GATT’s Uruguay Round, the Rio’92 UN Conference process, UNCTAD VIII, the Climate Change Convention, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Montreal Protocol. He acted as spokesperson for the G77 in several fora and served as chair of the UN Standing Committees on Commodities and on Trade Preferences. Earlier, he had served as Principal Adviser to the Colombian Minister of Economic Development and as Chief of Administration of the Office of the President of Colombia.
Since 1997, Mr. Meléndez-Ortiz has been the publisher of BRIDGES and its sister publications, and has edited, authored and published a wide range of books, articles and opinion pieces in English, French and Spanish on economic governance, trade, sustainable development and conflict management.
He has served or currently sits on advisory committees and the boards of a number of global policy initiatives, including as Board chairperson of the Meridian Institute (U.S.); World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-Economy; World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board on Trade and Investment; a Convener of the 'E15 Initiative’, an international undertaking involving over 400 experts seeking options for the global trade and investment system; Member of the Board of Intellectual Property Watch (Geneva); the Operating Board of AccountAbility (London); the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Trade and WEF’s Working Group on Trade and Climate Change; The Pardee Center Task Force on Governance for a Green Economy (U of Boston); The Center for Global Development’s Global Trade Preference Working Group (Washington, DC); The Evian’s Group Brains Trust (IMD); the Global Governance Network of Globus et Locus (Milano); the Steering Committees of DfID’s Global Trade and Finance Architecture Initiative and of UN DESA’s Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership (New York), a Patron of the Earth Focus Foundation (Geneva); in the recent past he served as Chair of the Global Action Network’s Council (Cambridge, MA); and member of the U.N. Secretary General Millennium Project Task Force on Trade; the WTO’s Director General NGO Advisory Group; and the MOFCOM/IISD China Sustainable Development and Global Markets Task Force.
In 2016 he was an advisor to the G20 China Presidency on Trade and Investment, in 2017 co-chair of the T20 Task Force on Trade and Investment during Germany’s G20 Presidency, in 2018 co-chair of T20 Task Force on Trade, Investment and Tax Cooperation during Argentina’s G20 Presidency and in 2018/2019 co-chair of T20 Task Force for Trade, Investment and Globalization during Japan’s G20 Presidency.
Since 2015, he is part of the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Global Digital Futures Policy Forum.
Mr. Meléndez-Ortiz, a graduate of Harvard University, has recently co-authored the New Industrial Revolution: Upgrading Trade and Investment Frameworks for Digitalization (21 August 2018) with Axel Berger: this policy brief was produced by the T20 Task Force on Trade, Investment and Tax Cooperation under the G20 Presidency of Argentina in 2018; Renforcer le système international du commerce et de l’investissement au 21ème siècle (1 December 2016) with Richard Samans; The Law and Economics of a Sustainable Energy Trade Agreement (30 August 2016) with Gary Hufbauer, Richard Samans; Envisioning China’s G20 Presidency: Proposals for the global trade and investment regime in the 21st century (19 March 2016); Strengthening the Global Trade and Investment System in the 21st Century, Synthesis Report, under the E15Initiative (22 January 2016) with Richard Samans, Harsha V. Singh, Sean Doherty; Enabling the Energy Transition and Scale-up of Clean Energy Technologies: Options for the Global Trade System, under the E15Initiative (22 January 2016)Envisioning a Sustainable Development Agenda for Trade and Environment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) with A. Najam and M. Halle, and co-edited Rebuilding Global Trade: Proposals for A Fairer, More Sustainable Future(Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford U. and ICTSD, 2009) with C. Deere; Agricultural Subsidies In The WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence With Sustainable Development Goals (Cambridge University Press, 2009) with C. Bellmann and J. Hepburn; Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development, Agendas in a Changing World(Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) with P. Roffe; and, WTO Dispute Settlement: The Developing CountryExperience (Cambridge U. Press, forthcoming November 2010) with G. Shaffer. He holds the Colombian nationality and is a resident of Switzerland where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Marisol Rodríguez Chatruc is an Economics Specialist at the Integration and Trade Sector of the Inter-American Development Bank. Previously, she was a consultant in the same sector. Her research focuses on the impacts of International trade shocks on the labor market and on the impact of virtual platforms on firms' exports. Marisol holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland and a BA in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Anabel González is a global expert in economic development, focused on trade, regional integration and investment. As former Senior Director of the World Bank´s Global Practice on Trade & Competitiveness (2014-18), she led the Bank´s agenda on trade, investment climate, competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship. She previously served as Minister of Trade of Costa Rica (2010-14), where she led the country´s strategy to join the OECD, negotiated and implemented six FTAs, and contributed to attract over 140 greenfield investment projects. She also worked as Director, Agriculture Division, WTO; Costa Rica Chief Negotiator for the Central America-United States-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, Costa Rica Ministry of Trade; Senior Consultant on Trade and Investment, Inter-American Development Bank; and Director-General, Costa Rican Investment Promotion Board. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Trade and Foreign Investment, sits on several boards, and writes and presents on related topics.
Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Mia Mikic is the Director of the Trade, Investment, and Innovation Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). She also coordinates the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an open network of research and academic institutions and think-tanks in Asia-Pacific. Previously, she was Professor of International Economics at the University of Zagreb, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. She is the author of International Trade (Macmillan, 1998), co-authored Trade Statistics in Policy-making (United Nations, 2009) and editor or co-editor of a number of other volumes. She has contributed chapters to several edited volumes and reports and published a number of journal articles and other papers. Her current work focuses on the impacts of preferential and multilateral trade liberalization, services trade liberalization, non-tariff protection, Aid for Trade and evidence-based policy-making in trade.
Professional with extensive experience in trade policy and international development in a variety of environments and organisations with different specialisations. Moshe has provided advisory services in Geneva for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group on development issues; coordinated the African Group; undertook research on Global Value Chains for the ICTSD; worked closely with delegations in the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD), CTD Dedicated Session on Small and Vulnerable Economy (SVE) issues, and Aid for Trade; and monitoring developments on LDC issues within the WTO. Provided advisory service to the Ministry of Trade on EIF project as well as supporting the Permanent Mission of Lesotho in Coordinating the African Group at WTO towards the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. Prior to working as an independent consultant Moshe was Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Lesotho in Geneva where he led the Mission and advanced government policies on trade and development issues within UNCTAD, WTO, ITC and other trade related institutions. This also included negotiating and advising Government on policy issues including assessing their implications on international trends.
Dan Ciuriak is a Canadian economist with wide-ranging interests in trade and economic development, with a particular interest in the interface between law and economics.
Following a 31-year career with Canada’s Department of Finance and Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (from which he retired as Deputy Chief Economist), he has been active in private practice as Director and Principal, Ciuriak Consulting Inc. (Ottawa) and as Associate with BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH (Munich).
He was recently appointed Fellow in Residence with the C.D. Howe Institute (Toronto) and also participated in the expert panel reviewing industrial policy and the WTO in preparation for the WTO’s 20th anniversary in 2015 in the E15 Initiative sponsored by the International Centre for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum.
In his public service career, he had a central role in the technical development of Canada’s major financial institutions reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s as Chief of the Financial Institutions Section at the Department of Finance, in which capacity he chaired the inter-departmental working group that developed drafting instructions for the legal reforms, and held the pen on the policy papers that laid the basis for them.
With Canada’s trade department, he participated in a number of WTO and NAFTA trade disputes, developing the economic arguments in major disputes such as the Article 22.6 arbitrations in Brazil – Aircraft, Canada – Export Credits, and the United States – Continued Dumping and Subsidies Offset Act. In the latter dispute, he served as lead economist for the co-complainants (which included, inter alia, Brazil, Canada, the European Communities, India, Japan, Korea and Mexico), and developed the partial equilibrium model adopted by the Panel to evaluate the nullification and impairment caused by the condemned US measure.
A related interest is in quantifying the impacts of trade agreements. In the latter regard, he served as lead economist for Canada in Joint Studies with Japan and the European Union and co-authored numerous quantitative assessments of prospective trade agreements and more recently of agreements “as negotiated”, including of the Canada-Korea free trade agreement and a project in progress on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Partnership, commissioned by the European Commission. These recent studies introduce new methods to translate negotiated text into quantifiable trade impacts based on exact coding of the agreed texts against established indices of trade and investment protection.
He has participated in and led trade-and-development missions in a number of developing countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and the Caribbean Community, and is co-author (with Derk Bienen) of a forthcoming African Development Bank study on manufacturing in East Africa. He has published widely; edited or co-edited numerous trade-related publications, including the Trade Policy Research series (2001-2007 & 2010 editions) published by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and a Guide to International Antidumping Practice (Kluwer Law International, 2013); and served as external referee for publications by the CD Howe Institute, The World Economy, The International Trade Journal, The American Journal of Chinese Studies, The University of British Columbia Law Review, and The African Review of Economics and Finance. Recent contributions include E-15 posts advocating new approaches to facilitate technology acquisition and accelerated private sector development in developing countries (“Transplanting Economic Development: Don’t Pick Winners, Buy Losers!”) and liberalized rules of origin to promote small business utilization of free trade agreements (“Promoting Small Business Utilisation of Market Access under the Mega-Regionals”, an extended version of which, co-authored with Hanne Melin and Derk Bienen, has recently appeared in Pontes.
Director of External Programmes and Academic Partnerships and faculty member at the World Trade Institute (WTI), University of Bern
Pierre Sauvé is Director of External Programmes and Academic Partnerships and faculty member at the World Trade Institute (WTI), University of Bern, Switzerland. He also serves as an academic advisor and as a faculty member of the University of Barcelona’s LLM programme in international economic law and policy (IELPO) and is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, in Bruges, Belgium. He has held visiting professor appointments at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques’ (Sciences-Po) in Paris, France, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He served as a senior economist in the OECD Trade Directorate from 1993–2002, a period during which he was a faculty member of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and was appointed non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the OECD, he served as services negotiator within the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade's Office of North American Free Trade Negotiations. He was previously a staff member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in Geneva, Switzerland as well as the Bank for International Settlements, in Basle, Switzerland. Mr Sauvé was educated in economics and international relations at the Université du Québec à Montreal and Carleton University in Canada, as well as at Cambridge and Oxford universities in the United Kingdom. He has advised the governments of a number of OECD and developing countries and served as a consultant to leading regional and multilateral agencies involved in trade, finance and development. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of International Economic Law and the Journal of World Trade. He was appointed in 2003 as a member of the dispute panel roster of trade specialists established under the North American Free Trade Agreement and served on the Warwick Commission on the Future of the Multilateral Trading System in 2007. He currently serves on the Scientific Committee of the Swiss network for International Studies and on the Advisory Board of the WTO Academic Chairs programme.
Karl P. Sauvant is an ICTSD Senior Fellow - Investment, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scholar, Columbia Law School; Guest Professor, Nankai University, China. Former: Founding Executive Director, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment; Director of the Investment Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Created the prestigious annual World Investment Report, of which he was the lead author until 2004. Authored a substantial number of publications on issues related to economic development, FDI and services. Honors: Fellow of the Academy of International Business and an Honorary Fellow of the European International Business Academy. PhD, University of Pennsylvania.
Anna Jerzewska is a free trade agreements specialist working as a global trade and customs consultant in the private sector. She works closely with clients across a number of industries advising on a wide range of global trade and investment issues: customs classification, customs valuation, origin determination, etc. Anna specialises in FTAs, rules of origin and trading under preferential tariffs. Recently, Anna has been advising clients on the possible trading models post-Brexit. Anna holds a PhD in International Political Economy with a specialisation in Free Trade Agreements in East Asia.
Silvia Sorescu is a Policy Analyst in the Development Division of OECD’s Trade and Agriculture Directorate. She joined the OECD in 2010 and has worked on a variety of international trade and agricultural policy issues. Her main research areas include trade facilitation, agricultural policy and development, as well as aid for trade. In the context of her work on trade facilitation, she has been a core part of the team elaborating the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators for more than 160 countries, as well as identifying and analysing good governance practices adopted by OECD and non-OECD countries in implementing trade facilitation. She also conducted cross-country economic analysis on binding constraints to trade and on the contribution of agriculture to poverty reduction. Ms. Sorescu co-authored OECD reviews of agricultural policies in Indonesia and Colombia and is currently working on evaluating agricultural policy developments in India.
Her experience draws from both an academic and policy-oriented environments. Prior to joining the OECD, she worked as a Research Associate for the World Economy Group, an academic research center at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Paris), on various trade policy and European Union policy issues.
Ms. Sorescu, a French and Romanian national, holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Maria Ptashkina is a Bridges Associate for ICTSD’s Publications and Editorial Team. Currently a PhD student in Economics at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, Maria also holds a Master’s Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis in International Trade, Finance and Development from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
Maria has experience working as a researcher and trade policy analyst at the Russian Foreign Trade Academy affiliated with the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia. Additionally, Maria was a researcher, and then the head of trade policy department, for the Russian APEC Study Center. Her past responsibilities ranged from preparing research and analytical material for the Ministry, to being part of the Russian delegation in the APEC Forum.
Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. Teaches international trade and international economic law. Former: Director for Intellectual Property, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Lead U.S. negotiator for the IP chapters of several free trade agreements; Engagement manager, McKinsey & Company; Economist and Operations Officer, World Bank (China); Economist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (Namibia); Clerk for Judge Pierre Leval, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals; Academic Fellow, Columbia Law School. JD, Yale Law School; MSc in Development Economics, University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar).
Hanne Melin heads up the EMEA arm of eBay Inc.’s Public Policy Lab, where she develops strategy and vision for policy and legislation fit for a technology-enabled and globally connected economy and society. Prior to joining eBay, Hanne was an associate at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where she practiced competition law for five years in Brussels. Hanne is a guest lecturer at the law faculty of Lund University (Sweden) and a member of the European Commission’s Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship. She has written for many legal journals on the topic of online commerce and she is a frequent speaker on the topic of trade policy in the digital economy. In addition to an LLM from Lund University, Hanne holds a Master in International Business Law from King’s College London.
Marta Soprana is a professional with 10 years' work experience both in the private and public sector, including international organizations. A Trade Policy Consultant specialized in international trade, particularly trade in services, institutional support policies for the internationalization of SMEs as well as private sector development towards foreign markets, Marta worked as a consultant, inter alia, for the World Trade Organization, UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
A graduate of the University of Bologna with a degree in International Relations, she earned her Master Degree in Internationalization of SMEs from the Italian Foreign Trade Institute, in Rome, and her Master in International Law and Economics (MILE) from the World Trade Institute, in Bern.
She speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French.
Rodrigo Polanco is a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Luzern, and a Visiting Professor at the Institute of International Studies at the University of Chile. He is also a former Assistant Professor of International Economic Law at the University of Chile Faculty of Law, where he also served as the Director of International Affairs.
Before managing the Academic Coordination of WTI Advanced Master Programmes, he joined the WTI as a researcher/lecturer, and also as coordinator of the SECO Project (which supported development of Regional Competence Centres for Trade Law and Policy in Peru, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia and Chile) and of the SNIS Project (Diffusion of International Law: A Textual Analysis of International Investment Agreements).
Rodrigo is also a published scholar and legal practitioner with experience in both the public and private sectors. He specialises in economic and international law, investment law, trade law, and air and space law. He holds a Bachelor and a Master of Laws from Universidad de Chile School of Law, an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from New York University (NYU) School of Law, and a PhD from the University of Bern, Graduate School of Economic Globalisation and Integration, specialised in international investment law.
Rodrigo is a visiting professor at Universidad Externado Colombia and member of the editorial team of their Law and Economy Review (Con-Texto), and a visiting professor and research external evaluator of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). He is also a co-founder of Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente (FIMA) a Chilean non-profit organisation working in public interest environmental cases, and teaching local communities and members of the judiciary on environmental law. He serves as director of their environmental law journal (Justicia Ambiental).