News: World Trade System
The United Kingdom (UK) ceased to be a member of Europe’s single market and customs union on 1 January 2021, triggering enormous changes in patterns of trade between the UK, Europe and Australasia, and generating new regulatory and legal barriers between markets that previously experienced almost frictionless movements of goods, services and people.
Australia is estimated to have foregone export revenue of around US$4.9 billion (A$6.6 billion) over July 2020 to February 2021 as a result of China’s restrictions or discriminatory purchasing affecting eight key commodities – coal, copper ores and concentrates, frozen beef, wine, cotton, barley, rough wood and rock lobster.
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.
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”.
This paper explores the impact of Chinese subsidy interventions in the upstream sector on the competitiveness of the downstream sector. In particular, the paper investigates the effect of Chinese subsidies on basic metal products on the export competitiveness of downstream sectors in other major trading countries. To explore the impact of base metal subsidies interventions on the downstream sector of a trading partner, we exploit both temporal variation in subsidy interventions and in base-metal consumption by the downstream sector.
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.
Thursday 6 May, 2021
Over 140 participants from around the globe joined leading experts for an interactive and topical webinar discussing the WTO Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, hosted by the Institute for International Trade. A large high level panel, lead by key note speaker Jaime Coghi Arias - co-ordinator of the Joint Initiative spelled out the benefits of the potential Agreement
Wednesday 5 May, 2021.
Under the Trump administration U.S. trade policy took a decidedly unilateralist turn, which had significant negative effects for multilateralism, referring to cooperation between nations in a rules-based world trading system. IIT’s Executive Director Professor Peter Draper provides probing moderation to draw out the key insights, in a must-watch conversation on U.S. trade policy.
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.
Professor Xiankun LU is former senior trade diplomat of China to the WTO and now Managing Director of the consulting firm LEDECO Geneva.
The polarized positions in the WTO, particularly between the US and China, on developing country status and ‘special and differential treatment’ (S&D), makes it not only difficult to find a solution on this issue, but also impossible to foresee solutions on other issues demanding WTO reform.
This work is licensed under Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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