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“Relevant” Regulation of Food Derivatives

This paper examines how the current WTO negotiations propose limits or disciplines on governmental regulations. The paper focuses on regulations that limit or discourage speculators from participating in commodity markets, which contributes to volatility in the prices of food commodities. To demonstrate this point, the paper presents a case study of a specific policy option for regulation of derivatives. It concludes with a description of options for resolving the ambiguity of selected disciplines.

Could a Foreign Investor Use GATS Disciplines in a BIT Claim?

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation that could be more powerful than negotiators realize. They could transform the GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, into the first trade agreement that foreign investors enforce through claims against governments for hundreds of millions of dollars. If so, the magnitude of disputes could change the course of development for a small state or a vulnerable economy.

“Pre-established” Regulations and Financial Services

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, one of which requires regulations to be “pre-established.” Established before what? If this means, before government can apply regulations to an existing financial institution, the discipline would limit the government’s authority to change “too big to fail” policies or increase developmental lending mandates to serve businesses that are rural, small, or owned by women.

“Pre-established” Regulations and Development Permits

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, one of which requires regulations to be “pre-established.” Established before what? If this means, before a development permit is sought, the discipline would limit the government’s authority to change environmental or community impact standards before a permit is issued. If so, this discipline could constrain changes in climate policy or environmental regulation of existing extraction industries.

Plain Language Guide: GATS Negotiations on Domestic Regulation

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, which is essential for both development and environmental protection. Often ambiguous, some of the draft disciplines can be interpreted as a radical departure from the practice of most nations. They could change the course of regulation and development, particularly within federal systems and in small and vulnerable economies, where government systems are changing.

Free Trade Agreements Versus Bilateral Treaties

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the changes that are taking place in the international normative framework on investment through surveying the European Union and United States’ Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with developing countries.

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

As with many of the other WTO negotiating areas, talks on “trade in services” present serious challenges to developing countries. One challenge is the fact that – whereas tariffs are a primary barrier to trade in goods – domestic laws and regulations are the primary barrier to trade in services. Hence, when governments make commitments to liberalize services in different sectors such as, energy, environment, basic services, domestic laws and regulations governing these services need to be re-examined to ensure that they do not conflict with WTO rules.

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