Volume 2





WTO Issues

Regional Economic Cooperation

Developmental Issues

CUTS CITEE in Action

Call for Publications

WTO Issues

Making Trade agreements relevant for Poor Countries: Why dispute settlement is not enough
Poor countries are rarely challenged in formal WTO trade disputes for failing to live up to commitments, reducing the benefits of their participation in international trade agreements. This paper examines the political-economic causes of the failure to challenge poor countries and discusses the static and dynamic costs and externality implications of this failure. Given the weak incentives to enforce WTO rules and disciplines against small and poor members, bolstering the transparency function of the WTO is important to make trade agreements more relevant to trade constituencies in developing countries.

EU commercial policy in a multipolar trading system
In recent years the bipolar multilateral trading system of the post-war years has given way to a multipolar alternative. Although many specifics have yet to be determined, some contours of this new trade policy landscape are coming into focus. Here particular attention is given to both the state of business-government relations and the propensity to liberalise under the auspices of reciprocal trade agreements by Brazil, India, and China; the potential new poles of the world trading system.


Doha Round Suspension and MDGs
At present, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is passing through a critical juncture. Since July 2006, the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations has been suspended with no certainty on when the talks will resume. After trade ministers from Australia, Brazil, the European Union (EU), India, Japan and the United States (US), failed to bridge differences in July, WTO Director General (DG), Pascal Lamy had no choice but to recommend the suspension of trade negotiations.

Doha Round: A flicker of hope
One positive outcome of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos was that Ministers from 30 countries made "a commitment to put the Doha Round back on track." What is intended to be achieved is a broader, balanced package among key trading nations involving not only agriculture but also industrial products and services. But it is clear that developing country concerns have not gone away, says S. Sethuraman.

Leader: Multilateral muscle needed for Doha deal
The prospects for rescuing Doha look poor. Informal talks have restarted at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. Washington, Brussels, Brasilia and elsewhere hoarsely insist that a deal is possible. But negotiating positions still appear inflexible, particularly on the sticking point of agriculture, and at present official optimism looks more like blame-avoidance than a serious statement of political will. High on the EU's wishlist are the so-called "Singapore issues".

Regional Economic Cooperation

The ASEAN Experience: Insights for Regional Political Cooperation
In the past, regional integration largely involved the integration of states at similar stages of development to support national economic strategies. Today’s new regionalism or open regionalism, particularly in South-South initiatives, looks very different. As a complement of or alternative to supporting national strategies for development, regionalism in the South is being viewed as a development option in itself. The debate and diversity in ideas about regionalism are reflected in the many forms.


Trade effects of regional standards liberalisation: A heterogeneous approach
This study investigates trade effects of the regional liberalization of technical barriers to trade (TBTs) in the form of harmonization and mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) for testing procedures. The theoretical part of the paper is framed in terms of a heterogeneous firms approach. This paper adds to the existing literature by formalizing the effects of MRAs and harmonization initiatives on bilateral trade flows and by applying this new theoretical framework in the empirical part of the paper.

Do South-South Trade Agreements Increase Trade? Commodity-Level Evidence from COMESA
This paper focuses on the static effects of South-South preferential trade agreements stemming from changes in trade patterns. It estimates the impact of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on Uganda's imports between 1994 and 2003. Based on a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, the paper finds that-in contrast to evidence from aggregate statistics-COMESA's preferential tariff liberalization has not considerably increased.

After the collapse of the Doha round and a fraying multilateral trading system, three priorities are called for. First, a clutch of East-Asian countries plus India should be active in “coalitions of the willing” to set the WTO on its legs again. US leadership and a Chinese helping hand will be crucial. Second, existing FTAs should be cleaned up and new FTA initiatives only launched with sense of economic strategy. Third, it is vital that the engine of Chinese unilateral liberalization does not stall. Further liberalization and regulatory reform is only through competitive emulation, not trade negotiations.


Dispute settlement mechanisms in bilateral and regional trade arrangements
The belief that bilateral trade agreements and various forms of regional trade agreements should incorporate effective methods of dispute resolution, has been gaining ground of late. The existence of a dispute settlement mechanism will ensure that all parties to such arrangements take their obligations seriously and that an effective method of redress exists should they violate or fail to live up to such obligations. COMESA Court of Justice’s website, which argues that “[t]he stronger the Court of Justice, the stronger the foundation upon which the Common Market is built.”

Developmental Issues

Policy space: Are WTO rules preventing development?
This Overseas Development Institute (ODI) briefing paper argues that developing countries need “policy space” to use policy to promote development, but current international rules limit it. The paper indicates that: a) developing countries need ‘policy space’ to use policy to promote development, but international rules limit it; b) the principal areas where trade agreements do or may restrict countries are tariffs, TRIPs, and investment; c) the evidence is that while some ‘space’ has been closed, much remains, and space can cause problems as well as create opportunities.

Global Employment Trends Brief
Strong global GDP growth in 2006 led to a stabilization of labour markets worldwide, with more people in work1 than in 2005. At the same time the total of 195.2 million unemployed was slightly higher than a year earlier, an all time high. The Global Employment Trends 2007 published by the International Labour Organization indicates that the number of people unemployed worldwide remained high in 2006, reaching a global rate of 6.3 per cent, despite global economic growth. The report notes that this trend might continue for 2007.

Trade and Labour Standards: What's the Link?
Much has been discussed about the impacts of free trade agreements (FTAs) on various stakeholders, from farmers to AIDS patients, but the one group that is often missing from the trade debate is one of the largest stakeholder groups on earth: the workers. So why is it that hardly anyone talks about them? Some NGOs say they are not so keen on working with workers groups, because workers are often interested in their own problems and not willing to join others in campaigning for a greater cause: justice for all.


Workers’ Remittances, Economic Growth and Poverty in Developing Asia and the Pacific Countries
This paper examines the impact of workers’ remittances on growth and poverty reduction in developing Asia-Pacific countries using panel data over the period 1993-2003. The results suggests that, while remittances do have a significant impact on poverty reduction through increasing income, smoothing consumption and easing capital constraints of the poor, they have only a marginal impact on growth operating through domestic investment and human capital development.

Lending a hand to the development process
State's Nation Building Bonds, aimed at accelerating the development process in the country, would have many takers. By investing in these bonds, these expatriates would help swell Government coffers, thereby enabling the State to initiate a wide variety of development projects, mainly in the area of infrastructure expansion. We are doing right by continuing our efforts to attract more and more foreign exchange and investments, but such efforts would come to nought without sound and vast infrastructure facilities.

Call for Publications

For experts publishing articles in South Asian newspapers/publications, civil society organisations, research institutes and academics, if you would like your publication’s abstract and weblink to distributed to CUTS International network (above 5,000 recipients all over the world) and added to the Economiquity e-newsletter, please forward  such details via email to following address: citee@cuts.org

This e-newsletter is compiled by the CUTS CITEE team , CUTS International


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Views expressed in these articles and papers are those of the respective authors and in no way reflect the official positions of CUTS and the agencies supporting its projects.