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
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
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…)
Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines
Most free trade agreements 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. (more…)
Patent Protection for Plants: Legal Options for Developing Countries
The paper examines, first, the exclusion of patent protection for plants, including plant varieties, biological materials, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants. The legal implications of the right – recognized under the TRIPS Agreement – to exclude plants from patent protection are briefly discussed, as well as how the exclusion allowed by article 27.3(b) of said Agreement has been implemented at the national level and, particularly, whether it can be extended to parts and components of plants. (more…)
Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement: The Case of Cameroon
This Note looks at the Costs and Benefits of an EPA for Cameroon if it would ratify the interim-EPA.
The main benefit of the EPA would be the avoidance of duties that EU importers would have to pay. If Cameroon would fall back to EU GSP, these duties would amount to USD 42.5 million / year (top-30 exports under EU GSP). In the case of the GSP+, only two key products will face tariffs: bananas and malt extract/food preparation with low cocoa contents. (more…)