All Trade Content

All Trade Content

The Other Infrastructure Gap: Sustainability

Mega-infrastructure plans and financing and investment policies to promote private investments in the energy, transport and water sectors are on the rise. This publication provides recommendations to policy- and decision-makers on how human rights and environmental benefits can be maximized.

G20 and Trade

Trade has contributed to inequalities in many countries. Therefore the G20 should ensure that its trade agenda does not conflict with that of the WTO or the United Nations. Many processes need to be revised to reduce so inequalities can be reduced.

By Motoko Aizawa

The great revenge of the North? TTIP and the rest of the world

TTIP is an initiative that aims to cement the dominance of the two largest economic powers in the world. Rainer Falk and Barbara Unmüßig consider a topic thus far left out of critical debate: TTIP’s implications for the “rest of the world,” particularly for developing and emerging economies.

By Barbara Unmüßig, Rainer Falk

“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.

Series of Policy Papers on Trade and Investment

The South Centre (Geneva) and the Harrison Institute of Georgetown Law Center (Washington, D.C.) prepared the following six papers which focus on the fact that, whereas tariffs are a primary barrier to trade in goods, domestic laws and regulations are the primary barrier to trade in service sectors.

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.

“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.

“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.

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.

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.

Trade Archive

Intro

Fair and sustainable trade creates adequate and stable prices, thus providing protection against ruinous price fluctuations on the world markets. Fair trade helps to improve the living and working conditions of small producers and workers. However, fair trade models are still a very minor factor on the world markets. Greater global equity requires better consumer information and a reform of the framework governing world trade.

 While the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha round is stuck in gridlock, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a possible free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU, would be unprecedented in size and scope with repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Its potential impacts are important for every stakeholder and citizen to understand.  

Projects

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In July 2013, the EU and the USA started negotiations the created the biggest global Free Trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP Index provides a resource for anyone intersted in learning more about the TTIP to educate themselves, and to create a higher level transparency.