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E-commerce provisions in RTAs: Implications for negotiations and capacity building

This paper addresses the regulatory and policy environments conducive for e-commerce to thrive. In particular, as regulatory issues affecting e-commerce have become more prominent in recent regional trade agreements (RTAs), the paper seeks to investigate their role in setting the regulatory standard in this area. Indeed e-commerce- or digital trade-related obligations and commitments have grown deeper and broader in more recent RTAs compared to earlier ones.

Digital trade integration in preferential trade agreements

The growth of digital trade is dependant upon greater interconnectivity across borders. Several countries strive to achieve such interconnectivity and integration in digital trade through international trade agreements. Digital trade integration is a complex, multidimensional process that integrates regulatory structures/policy designs, digital technologies and business processes along the entire global/regional digital value chain.

Addressing non-tariff measures to promote Pakistan’s textile sector

The paper aims to identify the various types of non-tariff measures (NTMs) affecting Pakistan’s textile sector.  The textile industry is of great importance to Pakistan and is a major contributor to its gross domestic product. However, Pakistan’s textile exports are facing market access challenges, in part due to trade barriers of some developed countries.

What role should connectivity play in reenergising South Asia?

South Asia could unleash its full potentials, provided, it improves the infrastructure facilities, which are at present not sufficient to meet the growing demand of the region. The renewed and shared agenda of the South Asian regional cooperation should aim to reduce both intra- and inter- regional trade facilitation gaps as well as to expand the connectivity. South Asia has to enact its own connectivity and trade facilitation arrangement to take forward the agenda of South Asian integration.

Next generation non-tariff measures: Emerging data policies and barriers to digital trade

Trade used to be about goods crossing borders and the instrument of protection was mostly through tariffs. Then there was greater recognition of trade in services, now exceeding the share of goods in global trade. Because of services, the focus of trade protection shifted more towards ‘behind the border barriers’ or domestic regulations that can obstruct services trade. More recently, the flows of goods and services are eclipsed yet again by data flows whose contribution to the economy is projected to reach 11 trillion USD by 2025.

Fostering cross-border twin cities as instruments for sustainable development

Looking closely at borders in South-East Asia reveals the existence of adjacent townships of different nations that develop across the border with varying degrees of parallelism. Such cross-border twin cities act as production, trade, logistics and border nodes, shaping cross-border value chains and concentrating economic activities, industries, resources, labour forces, knowledge and infrastructure in geographical spaces connected by multimodal transport networks. Literature assessing the development of cross-border twin cities generally reveals cross-cutting socioeconomic benefits for the border zones, indicating strong potential for sustainable and inclusive development. This study hence attempts to build a theoretical framework of cross-border twin cities...

Non-tariff measures and sustainable development: The case of the European Union import ban on seafood from Sri Lanka

Non-tariff measures (NTMs) can affect trade performance of trading partners. In addition to trade performance, the NTMs (including sanctions) may have direct and indirect linkages to capacity of trading partners to meet their commitments under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purposes of this research were to explore the performance of exports of seafood industry of Sri Lanka before, during and after the imposition of European Union’s ban in January, 2015 and to develop indicators and measure the impact of the same ban on stakeholders of the seafood industry in Sri Lanka by looking through the prism of sustainable development. More specifically, this study applied composite indicator approach with min-max normalization, arithmetic mean aggregations and weighting techniques to assess impact on several of SDGs. The principal component analysis was performed to identify the best sub-indicators for the composite indicator. During the period when the ban was in force, Sri Lanka seafood industry experienced lower revealed competitive advantage score, market concentration score and growth rate than at other times. Further, the findings revealed that the ban generated mixed effects on SDGs. Due to the ban, SDG 12 (responsible production) and SDG 14 (life below water) have been positively impacted while SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 8 (economic growth) were adversely affected. The research recommends that unilateral and ad hoc decisions should not be taken regarding NTMs because they have very sensitive and invisible linkages with SDGs. Furthermore, when there are legitimate need to impose such NTMs, sufficient time should be given to the trading partners to put in place measures and actions for compliance with such NTMs.

An assessment of fishing vessel capacity on subsidies, non-tariff measures, and attaining Sustainable Development Goals

The members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been continuously involved in achieving a balanced outcome in the area of fisheries subsidies negotiations in 2018. The discussions have been ongoing and will continue in 2019. According to the 11th Ministerial Conference decision of the WTO, members are committed towards securing a deal in 2019. There are various aspects of fisheries subsidies that members of the WTO are presently assessing. The SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Target 14.6 is one of the fundamentals for an outcome in the fisheries negotiations. The SDG Target 14.6 aims to prohibit or reduce fisheries subsidies linked to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). In 2018, in the Rules Negotiating Group (RNG) on the fisheries clusters, members have discussed on overfishing and IUU issues. However, discussions on the overcapacity issue merits further investigations part of the SDG Target 14.6. This paper therefore aims to assess the relationship between fishing vessel capacity and fisheries subsidies as well as non-tariff measures, and provide further policy advice to trade negotiators in relation to the SDGs. In the assessment, we use panel data modelling of select developed OECD member countries that hold current vessel capacity and assess this against subsidies, non-tariff measures, exports and fish landing. The selected OECD member countries comprise of the proponents of the “Friends of fish” group. The finding of the paper provides policy recommendations for negotiators on fisheries subsidies and overcapacity. It also provides suggestions for special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries (LDCs) in the fisheries negotiations.