The Politics of Trade in the Era of Hyperglobalisation: A Southern African Perspective
About the Book:
Matters of international trade are increasingly widely recognised as major shapers of global politics. News bulletins are giving more and more coverage to matters like the so-called “trade wars” between the United States and China. These are, indeed, increasingly defining relations between the two largest economies in the world and could well underpin a multi-dimensional rivalry that could be a central feature of international relations for many years to come. Brexit is dominating and indeed re-shaping politics in the United Kingdom. By definition a rejection of a regional integration arrangement, Brexit has also revealed under-currents profoundly shaped by the outcome of a broader trade-driven process called “globalisation”. Just as regional integration is weakening in Europe, African countries have taken decisions that could lead to the most profound and ambitious step forward in African regional integration – the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This study seeks to present an analysis of the political economy of trade negotiations over the past quarter century on two main fronts: the multi-lateral and those pertaining to regional integration on the African continent.
Author: Rob Davies is former South African Minister of Trade and Industry.
‘Phase 1B’ of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations
By Peter Lunenborg
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which entered into force on 30 May 2019, represents a unique collaborative effort by African countries to bolster regional and continental economic integration, in a world marked by increasing protectionism and use of unilateral trade measures.
In order to make the agreement operational for trade in goods, negotiations on tariff concessions need to be concluded and negotiating outcomes need to be inserted into the agreement. This policy brief focuses on the expected economic impacts of tariff liberalization under the AfCFTA, the tariff negotiation modalities and discusses some legal and practical issues related to the implementation of these modalities.
The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Putting Profits Before Patients
By Maria Fabiana Jorge
In the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA, NAFTA 2.0), the U.S. Trade Representative negotiated intellectual property provisions related to pharmaceuticals that would enshrine long and broad monopolies. This policy brief focuses primarily on the negative effects of the USMCA intellectual property provisions on access to medicines in the U.S. Such effects may be even worse for Canada and Mexico. The impact of this trade agreement goes well beyond the three countries involved as this is the first one negotiated by the Trump Administration and is likely to set a precedent for future trade agreements. A careful review of the USMCA text raises very serious concerns about the impact that this agreement would have on the generic/biosimilar industry and therefore on access to more affordable drugs throughout the world.
Eleventh World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (Buenos Aires, December 2017) in the context of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Continental Free Trade Area
This present policy brief has been made available by the African Trade Policy Centre of the Economic Commission for Africa to provide background information on the key issues expected to be discussed at the eleventh World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. It is based on a series of discussion papers developed by the African Trade Policy Centre in collaboration with the South Centre. Full papers are available upon request.
Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines (revised)
Most free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (more…)
The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements
A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment. This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. (more…)
Reflections on the Discussion of Investment Facilitation
‘Investment facilitation’ is a concept repeated in discussions pertaining to investment policies and treaties, including those addressing the reform of investment treaties. The discussion on investment facilitation is taking place in various fora and contexts. (more…)
Mitigating the Regulatory Constraints Imposed by Intellectual Property Rules under Free Trade Agreements
IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines. (more…)
On World AIDS Day, threat to access to medicines looms large
By Shailly Gupta
Today millions of people living with HIV in South-East Asia are receiving treatment and leading healthy lives thanks to affordable generic antiretroviral (ARVs) medicines. Governments and treatment providers across Asia, such as the government of Indonesia and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), patients across our missions in many countries, depend on an uninterrupted supply of affordable generic HIV medicines to reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in the region. But as the trade negotiators from 16 countries gather in Indonesia next week to deliberate the terms of a trade agreement — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP), access to low-cost generic medicines is under grave threat. (more…)
The implementation of bilateral free trade agreements, the FTAs, began 25 years ago, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The European Union, which was initially reluctant to sign bilateral FTAs, also adopted them. In our region, Chile was the first South American country to sign an FTA with the US. Then came Peru and Colombia. (more…)
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has become a political football in the US Presidential elections and with the public mood so against trade agreements, the TPPA faces the real possibility of being discarded. No country was more active in pushing for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the five years of negotiations, the United States cajoled, persuaded and pressurised its trade partners to take on board its issues and positions. (more…)