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bilateralism & multilateralism


Regional integration is a pipe dream
Those who favour a big push for regional integration in Asia now have their day in the sun. They say that the global economic crisis has accelerated the decline of America and the rise of China, India and other emerging powers. Power is shifting inexorably from the West to Asia.
WTO voices concern over high tariffs in Sacu states
Members of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) trade policy review committee raised its concern last week over the relatively extensive use of antidumping and other tariff measures by SA on behalf of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).
Asia-Pacific businesses losing interest in Doha
Businesses are becoming less interested in the World Trade Organization’s attempts to forge a global deal as long-standing talks have yet to yield results, a private sector group affiliated with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation warned late last week.
S.Africa, EU sign trade deal, to bridge Doha gaps
South Africa and the European Union on Friday signed an amended trade, development and co-operation agreement and also pledged to intensify work to bridge gaps preventing conclusion of Doha trade talks.
Eastern promises
When the Rubber Bill (intended to amend the Rubber Act, 1947) was presented in Parliament on August 7, the Opposition did not let it through. The reason was, it was presented by Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, and not any minister of commerce and industry, which is the ministry concerned.
Development coherence in trade governance: Key to the rebuilding of the global economy
The global crisis has one positive and liberating aspect—policymakers and even once-arrogant neoliberal economists are now openly questioning the wisdom of untrammeled liberalization. The present global recession has abundantly shown that liberalizing the financial and other economic sectors wholesale sans rules is a formula for disaster, be it applied in a developed market economy like the United States or in a small developing economy like Haiti.
Trade agreements: Doing Doha down
Regional trade deals are no substitute for a Doha agreement. Indeed, they are its enemy, writes The Economist
Bilateral agreements are new messiah for world trade
Despite ongoing efforts to blow some life into the comatose Doha Round of WTO talks, it is the bilateral agreements that have emerged as the new messiah for world trade. The past few years have seen every major economy scrambling to sign a raft of free trade agreements, negotiations for which reached a fever-pitch this summer.
Agreement between MERCOSUR and EU becomes a priority
The negotiation of a free trade agreement between MERCOSUR and the UE has become, for Brazil, a greater priority than the trade liberalization debates at the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Correa says EU must cut banana levy for trade talks to progress
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his country won’t keep negotiating a commercial agreement with the European Union until the trade bloc complies with World Trade orders to cut duties on Ecuadorean bananas.
TWN preliminary report on FTA/WTO and financial crisis
A new TWN report finds that North-South free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties and World Trade Organization commitments often contain a number of provisions that can increase the likelihood of a financial crisis and make it more difficult to take the necessary measures to deal with one once it occurs.
Seoul seeks ‘concrete measures‘ on free trade
South Korea is pushing for the G20 countries to support a moratorium on new import tariffs at next month’s meeting, according to President Lee Myung-bak.
EU-ASEAN proposals on intellectual property too sweeping, say consumers
The proposed EU-Asean free trade policy on intellectual property rights protection is too sweeping, says a consumer group.
Asean urged to reject EU piracy pact
A consumers’ group on Saturday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to turn down the EU-Asean free trade policy on intellectual property rights protection which, if ratified, could affect the Asean agriculture, biodiversity and public health access.
Closer ties, larger markets: Examining the ASEAN FTAs
Background paper on the ASEAN free trade agreements with special focus on the ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand FTA. Soon to be published in the Philippine Natural Resources Journal of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Philippines
Trade roller-coaster: The ups and downs in 2008 and the road ahead
It was a dizzying roller coaster-year for trade. As the multilateral trade talks faltered, bilateral and regional free trade and economic partnership agreements on the other hand surged, fueled mainly by the aggressive push by the most powerful economies - the US, EU, Japan and China - of their respective brands of commercial diplomacy.
WTO launches new database on regional trade agreements
The WTO has launched a new database on regional trade agreements (RTAs). This contains all the relevant documentation received by the WTO following notification by a WTO member that an RTA has been established.
Intellectual property in free trade agreements
FTAs often include intellectual property protection that is stronger than the World Trade Organisation requires (known as ‘TRIPS-plus’ protection). This book highlights the likely effects on developing countries of agreeing to these TRIPS-plus provisions, particularly those in US FTAs.
Bilateral and regional free trade agreements: Some critical elements and development implications
This book argues that the comprehensive and strict obligations these FTAs impose will seriously constrain the developing-country party’s policy-making capacity to pursue national socioeconomic and development goals.
The trouble with our Africa trade negotiators
Agricultural and development economies in Sub-Saharan Africa are the flavour of the month. The global credit crisis, wide-scale economic meltdown and financial recession have sparked a wave of interest about the implications for Africa. It is crucial that this discussion happens.