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.
This paper discusses the current negotiation issues in the context of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the position the African Group has taken in these negotiations. (more…)
The WTO’s Special and Differential Treatment Negotiations (Paragraph 44)
Paragraph 44 of the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration mandates the ‘strengthening’ of Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) provisions in the WTO Agreement, and making them ‘more precise, effective and operational’. This Note tracks the evolution of these negotiations from the start of the Doha Round in 2001 until the Nairobi Ministerial in December 2015. (more…)
Innovation and Global Intellectual Property Regulatory Regimes – The Tension between Protection and Access in Africa
This paper discusses the participation of African countries in global intellectual property (IP) regimes centred on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the implications of the expansion of the scope of IP regimes through bilateral trade and investment agreements. (more…)
EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements: Current State of Play.
This note provides an overview of the EPA negotiations. It illustrates the fact that the same critical contentious issues persist in the EPAs across various regional blocs. It also highlights the concerns of the highest political authorities of ACP States regarding the EPAs and the inherent dangers for (more…)
Asian Initiatives at Monetary and Financial Integration: A Critical Review.
Whilst the first steps towards Asian trade cooperation stated in 1970s, it was the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 that triggered Asian efforts at monetary and financial integration. This paper argues that the conditions for Asian monetary integration are not conducive but that efforts at monetary cooperation should proceed at three fronts – exchange rate cooperation, coordination of capital flows control, and strengthening of regional financial liquidity management as in the Chiang Mai Initiative and regional surveillance. (more…)
The EPAs and Risks for Africa: Local Production and Regional Trade.
One of the main contentious issues in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and African countries is the level of trade liberalization which Europe is asking for. This issue is certainly one of the most critical for Africa. (more…)
EPAs: The Wrong Development Model for Africa And Options for the Future.
The EPAs provide the wrong development model for Africa, and will jeopardize African countries’ development and regional integration prospects, rather than support them. Until now, only 10 out of 47 African countries have signed the EPA – most are dragging out the negotiations because they are reluctant or are resisting signing, due to their anti-developmental content. (more…)
Analysis of the Draft Interim Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (TSIA) of the EU-Central America FTA.
Currently, the EU and Central American countries are negotiating the Free Trade Agreement. The European Commission commissioned a Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (TSIA) which is estimated to be completed by August 2009. On 6 April 2009, the draft interim technical report was published (in English). (more…)
Article XXIV and RTAs: How Much Wiggle Room for Developing Countries?.
The issue of ‘WTO Compatibility’ of regional trade agreements (RTAs) has been intensely debated ever since the days of the GATT. RTAs are governed by Article XXIV in the GATT. The Article however does not have a development dimension. (more…)
Mercosur’s experience and progress towards true regional integration.
This South Centre Analytical Note provides a background and discussion on the history of the Mercado Común del Sur – Mercosur’s regional economic and political cooperation and the insights it can provide to developing countries seeking to build greater integration in their region. (more…)