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WTO+ Commitments on Services in Asian PTAs: The Role of Regulatory Homogeneity and Goods Trade Complementarity

This paper looks at the role of applied services regulations in accounting for WTO+ commitments on trade in services in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) among Asian economies. The empirical findings suggest that Asian trading dyads with regulatory frameworks that are more similar and more trade-restrictive tend to undertake higher levels of WTO+ commitments on services in their PTAs. There is also evidence in the results for such WTO+ commitments being driven by goods trade complementarities, alluding to the importance of supply chain dynamics in the region. Such results support the hypothesis that the heightened “servicification” of production generates a greater demand for lower services input costs and for certainty against possible new and disruptive services barriers.

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South-South cooperation in the era of Global Value Chains: What can China offer?

China is a success story of inclusive trade growth as a result of its participation in Global Value Chains (GVCs). It is in transition from a processing and assembly hub towards an innovation centre, and is becoming a regional supplier of research and development (R&D) intensive parts and components. The infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a quasi-regional trade arrangement, are helping to improve regional connectivity and production linkage, but Chinese manufacturing also bring shocks to local production and employment.

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Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy

In Straight Talk on Trade, economist Dani Rodrik discusses the danger of hyperglobalization – when the rapid expansion in world trade reaches beyond the boundaries of what the global political economy can sustain. He argues that the imbalance between economic integration and global governance is a root cause of many problems that the world faces today.

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Can the Sustainable Development Goals offer a new lease on life for the World Trade Organization?

Over the past few years, there has hardly been any doubt that the multilateral trading system being governed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been facing an existential crisis. This rather uneasy feeling was reinforced in Buenos Aires in December 2017, after the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) ended without taking decisions on any of the issues on which members of the organisation were engaged for the past several months. What is perhaps more problematic is that MC11 did not provide the organization its future work programme.

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Export restrictions and policy space for sustainable development: Lessons from trends in the regulation of export restrictions (2012-2016)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994) generally prohibits the World Trade Organization (WTO) members from using export quotas and other quantitative restrictions with certain exceptions. By contrast, export duties are not regulated under the GATT 1994 though a few WTO members such as China commit to restricting the use of export duties in their WTO accession protocols. Given the plethora of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the slow progress of the WTO Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, the incorporation of WTO-plus provisions into RTAs that regulate export restrictions in a more effective manner could contribute to a transparent and predictable trade regime.

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A HANDBOOK ON SAFEGUARD RULES FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

Article XIX of GATT (Emergency Action) and the WTO Agreement on Safeguards (1994) allow member States to take safeguard measures to protect domestic producers from serious injury caused by increased imports. These measures can be in the form of an import duty exceeding the bound rate, import quotas (where allowed) or a combination of both as Tariff Rate Quotas.  The measures can only be applied for a limited duration, initially lasting for up to four years, and can be extended to a maximum of eight years (10 years in the case of developing countries, including a least developed country) from the date of their initial imposition.

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