WTO Public Forum 2022 Working Session: Mainstreaming Development in the WTO
30 September 2022
WTO Room E
Time: 11:30-12:45 CEST
The Global South has a fundamental interest in the WTO. In framing the future of trade, reforming and strengthening the organisation requires mainstreaming development in the WTO. The primary question is how to ensure that the broader development dimension of the multilateral trading system is advanced and not simply relegated to polarising conversations about special and differential treatment. This session explores ways in which the multilateral trading system can meaningfully address the needs of developing countries including LDCs. These include assessing different approaches to build greater equity in the trading regime, considering ways to improve the capacity for developing countries to benefit from trade, establishing a deeper role and voice for developing countries including LDCs in developing balanced trade rules, and examining how they can exercise their right to fully participate in the consensus-based decision-making processes of the WTO.
STATEMENT OF THE CHAIPERSON OF THE SOUTH CENTRE BOARD, THABO MBEKI: COUNCIL OF MEMBER STATES, 24 FEBRUARY 2022
Once again the health, economic and social crisis caused by COVID-19 forces us to hold this meeting virtually. The deterioration of the situation in developing countries, to which I alluded two years ago, has only worsened. The gap between the countries of the North and the global South has widened. The lack of solidarity and selfishness of the countries of the North has led to the inequality in access to vaccines that we all know today.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we must completely rethink the value we place on the health sector. The billions needed to prevent and respond to health crises are nothing compared to the billions lost in business closures, job losses and economic paralysis that are the cost to the global economy of a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South Centre, in this second year of the pandemic, has continued to adapt and innovate in its ways to support and accompany developing countries in this challenging context.
Last chance for the Global South? Pursuing the South’s interests in reforming the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system in the multilateral arena
By Jose Manuel Alvarez Zarate and Maciej Żenkiewicz
The current Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system is mainly criticized for its lack of transparency, unbalanced rights and obligations between State and investors, and the expansive interpretation of arbitrators of the investment protection treaties’ vague rules. Any reform of the ISDS should benefit developing countries that are facing most of the ISDS claims. The decisions taken at the thirty-seventh session of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III (WGIII) on ISDS Reform (New York, 1-5 April 2019) are likely to influence the way in which the discussions about the reform of ISDS at the multilateral level will go. The developing countries should shape their agenda in such a way to facilitate consensus in the context of advancing their collective interests and perspectives. (more…)
E-commerce and Developing Countries: The South Asian Experience
By Rahul Choudhury
The evolution of Electronic Commerce or E-Commerce has brought about a
significant change in the way business is conducted across the globe. The ecommerce which emerged during early 2000 in the United States and other developed parts of the world has expanded to almost all the developing countries by now. Developing countries like India, Brazil, and Indonesia have provided a fertile ground for the growth of this sector and even surpassed many developed countries in terms of market size. There exist a lot of differences in the e-commerce market inSouth Asian countries. Although there has been a significant growth in this sector in the South Asian region, still it has a way to go. (more…)
Digital economy is a given, as much as industrialization was inevitable on invention of means of incorporating steam and later fossil fuel and electric power into manufacturing. It is not a matter of being for or against it. It is about what kind of digital economy we should have. A development agenda for digital economy needs to be articulated, based on a narrative that takes proper account of developing country interests. (more…)
There are increasing warnings of an imminent new financial crisis, not only from the billionaire investor George Soros, but also from eminent economists associated with the Bank for International Settlements, the bank of central banks. The warnings come at a moment when there are signs of international capital flowing out of some emerging economies, including Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia. Some economists have been warning that the boom-bust cycle in capital flows to developing countries will cause disruption, when there is a turn from boom to bust. All it needs is a trigger, which may then snowball as investors in herd-like manner head for the exit door. Their behaviour is akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy: if enough speculative investors think this is the time to move back to the global financial capitals, then the exodus will happen, as it did in previous “bust” phases of the cycle. (more…)
Intellectual Property for the TwentyFirst-Century Economy
By Joseph E. Stiglitz , Dean Baker , Arjun Jayadev
Developing countries are increasingly pushing back against the intellectual property regime foisted on them by the advanced economies over the last 30 years. They are right to do so, because what matters is not only the production of knowledge, but also that it is used in ways that put the health and wellbeing of people ahead of corporate profits. (more…)
Trump’s first 100 days: a serious cause for concern
By Martin Khor
This week, Donald Trump will mark his first hundred days as US President. It’s time to assess his impact on the world, especially the developing countries. It’s too early to form firm conclusions. But much of what we have seen so far is of serious concern. (more…)
Shocks for developing countries from President Trump’s first days
By Martin Khor
His first days in office indicate that President Donald Trump intends to implement what he promised, with serious consequences for the future of the United Nations, trade, the environment and international cooperation, and developing countries will be most affected. Those who hoped Trump would be more statesman-like in style and middle-of-the-road in policy matters after his inauguration had their illusions dashed when the new United States President moved straight into action to fulfil his election pledges. (more…)
Below is a report of the presentation of economics professor Dr. Deepak Nayyar at the South Centre Conference in Geneva. He addresses the situation of developing countries in the aftermath of the financial crisis, while focusing on their real economy variables.
Dr. Deepak Nayyar, emeritus professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and member of the South Centre’s board, addressed the situation of developing countries in the aftermath of the financial crisis, while focusing on their real economy variables. He noted that developing countries on the whole have fared better than industrialized and transition economies in the aftermath of the crisis. Yet, some high-income emerging economies that depend on exports to the United States and the European Union were hard hit, Nayyar noted. In contrast some large developing countries did not fare badly. For example, the growth performance of Sub-Saharan Africa and some least developed countries has been robust. (more…)
North’s policies are exposing South’s economies to shocks
By Kinda Mohammadieh
Since the onset of the global economic crisis, the South Centre in its analysis had indicated that the policy responses to the crisis by the US and EU are exposing developing countries to serious shocks in the future. Dr. Yilmaz Akyuz (Chief Economist of the South Centre) notes that these arguments are no longer predictions but hard reality. He was speaking at the South Centre Conference in Geneva. (more…)
SDGs: Economic Issues at National and Global Levels
The economic pillar of sustainable development is crucial, yet relatively neglected. It should get its proper place in the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper deals with economic issues at national level (as Sustainable Development Goals) and at international level (as part of the new Global Partnership for Development). It is part of the South Centre’s contribution to the United Nations process of establishing Sustainable Development Goals.