News: Opinions

The Landing Zone in Trade Agreements for Cross-Border Data Flows

Digitization world economy

Dr Pascal Kerneis, expert in the European services industry in international trade and investment negotiations.
The digitalisation of the world economy is continuing at a fast pace. Its successful progress is dependent on the ability to move data as freely as possible across international borders. Digital trade chapters are therefore becoming a critical part of bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

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Services are essential too! Identifying the missing link in trade policy proposals during the pandemic

DHL Air Bus

Dr Sherry Stephenson, Convenor, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Services Network.
Considerable discussion has been carried out over the past 18 months on how to most effectively address the COVID-19 health pandemic in an international context, particularly the critical role of trade in providing the necessary channels for moving essential medical equipment, vaccines and therapeutics, across borders

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The Topology of E-commerce Governance

Trade in Services

Nicholas Frank, Associate Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, Australian National University.
Global e-commerce is governed by a dense web of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). While the literature on e-commerce governance is growing, our knowledge of the landscape of the e-commerce governance system remains limited.

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China: the Elephant in the Room at Australia’s Africa Week

China

Dr Lauren A. Johnston is Visiting Senior Lecturer, Adelaide University Institute of International Trade and Founding Director, New South Economics
This week the capital of Australia’s Indian Ocean-facing state Western Australia, Perth, hosts Africa Week. Africa Week is an annual event drawing together policy makers, business communities, academics and the citizenry on all things Africa-Australia related.

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India’s reform momentum will define its economic future

India

Natasha Jha Bhaskar is General Manager of Newland Global Group
Thirty years after India’s 1991 economic reforms which ushered a new era of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, the road ahead for a New India will be determined by reforms that deliver equitable growth, meets the aspirations of a young population, and strengthen global economic integration.

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Loss of LDC-Specific S&D Treatment: How Concerned Should Graduating LDCs Be?

International Negotiations

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka, Bangladesh
Before the COVID-19 pandemic had struck in 2020, 12 LDCs had become eligible for graduation by either meeting at least two of the three graduation criteria, or thanks to having crossed the threshold of double the per capita GNI. Graduation during a pandemic raises significant risks in and of itself, but there are other issues too, including that graduation criteria fail to capture many of the underlying causes of vulnerability and institutional weaknesses that persist in the LDCs. Consequently, eligibility of a large number of LDCs for graduation has raised an important development debate as outlined in this article.

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Can progress be made multilaterally on agricultural trade?

Agricultural Trade

The WTO has been experiencing deadlock in its negotiating function since the collapse of the Doha Round. This threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the WTO, and drive Members to seek progress outside the organization. The difficulties of agricultural negotiations offer a microcosm for understanding the wider multilateral universe. Against this background, a group of academics, former high-level officials of international institutions and former negotiators have come together to try to inject some new energy and new ideas into the multilateral process in a project called “New Pathways”.

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“Joint Statement Initiatives” and Progress in the WTO System

WTO members

Andrew Stoler, former WTO Deputy Director-General; former Office of the United States Trade Representative senior trade negotiator.
“Joint Statement Initiatives” (JSIs) are today seen by many governments as crucial to making trade progress, given some WTO Members opposition to further liberalization and rulemaking on a multilateral basis. Two governments that have actively worked to stymie progress, India and South Africa, are currently challenging the legality of JSIs within the multilateral system of the WTO in a new bid to prevent other WTO Members from moving forward on the trade front.
 

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Services Domestic Regulation - Doing the Obvious

cut costs

Markus Jelitto is Counsellor at the Services Trade Division, WTO Secretariat, Geneva. 
Services Trade has been growing continuously over the past three decades and was worth USD 13.3 trillion in 2017. Services value added accounts for almost half of all world trade (goods and services combined). Despite these impressive figures, the 2019 WTO World Trade Report finds that costs of trading services are about twice as high as trade cost for goods. A significant portion of these costs are attributable to regulatory divergence, as well as opaque regulations and cumbersome procedures. Through the development of disciplines on services domestic regulation, a group of currently 63 WTO members has set out to address these cost factors.

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Australia in the African Century

Tsavo East National Park Kenya, Africa, Kenya

Dr Lauren A. Johnston is Research Associate at SOAS China Institute, Visiting Senior Lecturer, Adelaide University Institute of International Trade and Founding Director, New South Economics.
Last month’s inaugural ‘Quad’ – Australia, India, Japan and USA – leaders’ call drew attention to Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategic re-positioning. The “Indo” of that debate has so far focused mainly on ties with Indian Ocean majors - Indonesia and India.

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The views expressed here are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Institute for International Trade.

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