News: Policy Brief
Anabel Gonzalez -Independent consultant on Trade and Investment. With trade conflicts, new technologies and geopolitical competition reshaping the global economy, the trade and investment policy landscape is rapidly changing. While different scenarios are playing out, managed trade is gaining traction, rules are increasingly fragmented in competing spheres of influence and global trade governance is weakening. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is under strain and the business environment is more uncertain, volatile and increasingly power-driven than before.
Mike Humphrey - Senior Trade Advisor IIT - As most international-trade observers are aware, debate is currently raging about the World Trade Organization’s relevance and role, its need for organisational reform, and the lack of progress in the Doha Round. Special and differential treatment (S&DT) provisions are an important component of this wider debate, and particularly the question of which countries should benefit from them—an issue intimately tied to the matter of self-designation.
Given Australia’s significant economic integration into the world trading system, foreign protectionism poses a genuine threat to Australian living standards. While the current US administration’s trade policy has put the spotlight on protectionism, in fact over the past decade there has been sustained resort to trade distortions by many governments.
The Marrakesh Agreement’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) represented a major step forward in trade dispute settlement from the largely ineffective pre-1995 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) system. Under GATT, dispute-settlement panels’ establishment was frequently blocked; panels that were established frequently had their reports’ adoption blocked by losing parties; timeframes were ineffective; and American dissatisfaction often led to unilateral trade actions implemented pursuant to Washington’s s. 301 statute.