How seriously should we view G-20 words on resisting protectionism?

Every declaration by G20 leaders since 2012 has pledged to resist protectionism. Their record has not matched their rhetoric

Advertisements


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 31, 2016 | UPDATED SEPTEMBER 6, 2016

G-20 countries have increasingly introduced protectionist measures, according to a study released on the eve of the elite group’s summit in Hangzhou, China, September 4–5, 2016, by Simon Evenett and Johannes Fritz of St Gallen University in Switzerland.

Evenett’s and Fritz’s latest Global Trade Alert Report highlights the group’s poor record in combatting its members’ own protectionist tendencies, and particularly those of seven key economies, six of the G7 plus Australia. Continue reading “How seriously should we view G-20 words on resisting protectionism?”

Is the UK government planning dodgy ‘access’ to the EU market?

Proposed special deal with the EU on cars or banking could be illegal

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 29, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 30, 2016

Reports this bank holiday weekend of the UK Cabinet’s up-coming deliberations suggest ministers could be in danger of violating international trade agreements.

The Daily Telegraph reported on August 28, 2016 that:

Britain will retain access to the single market for financial sector and the car industry while curbing migration under plans being considered by Theresa May.”

Apart from the fact that this implies the EU has no say in the matter, an arrangement that only applies to cars and banking could infringe World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on free trade agreements. Continue reading “Is the UK government planning dodgy ‘access’ to the EU market?”

Book review: How ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ produced a sound tool for policy-making

This should bury a number of myths. The memoirs of 17 key authors of a WTO agreement plus an editor’s remarks make a unique account of a complex international negotiation almost miraculously producing a deal


By Peter Ungphakorn
FIRST PUBLISHED BY IP-WATCH, OCTOBER 22, 2015 | REPRODUCED HERE AUGUST 26, 2016

International trade agreements are sometimes demonised as the Grand Plan imposed by major powers in cahoots with multinational corporations. Intellectual property rights is a particular target, as is the case currently with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and previously with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

TRIPS book cover_300x456

Watal, Jayashree and Taubman, Antony (eds), The Making of the TRIPS Agreement: Personal insights from the Uruguay Round negotiators, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2015, pp 361 + appendixes.

Authors, and (for most) their affiliation at the time: Antony Taubman (current WTO Secretariat), Jayashree Watal (India), Adrian Otten (GATT Secretariat), Thomas Cottier (Switzerland), John Gero (Canada), Mogens Peter Carl (EU), Matthijs Geuze (GATT Secretariat), Catherine Field (US), Thu-Lang Tran Wasescha (Switzerland), Jörg Reinbothe (EU), AV Ganesan (India), Piragibe dos Santos Tarragô (Brazil), Antonio Gustavo Trombetta (Argentina), Umi KBA Majid (Malaysia), David Fitzpatrick (Hong Kong), Hannu Wager (Nordics), Jagdish Sagar (India), Adrian Macey (New Zealand), Lars Anell (Sweden, TRIPS negotiations chair)

CHF70.– in print. Free to download here

The Making of the TRIPS Agreement, the insightful, unofficial collected memoirs of 17 of the agreement’s key authors, plus one editor, challenges that view in two ways. Continue reading “Book review: How ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ produced a sound tool for policy-making”

This EU tariff takes the biscuit: Annex 1 — a really nerdy look

The complexity of the EU’s tariffs on bakery products, confectionary and food preparations is in its WTO goods commitments, Annex 1 on ‘composite agrigoods’. Want to know how it really works?

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 18, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 20, 2016

UPDATE:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here

OK, you’ve been warned. One expert who actually understands this stuff called it the most “horrendous” and “complex” construction in any country’s WTO commitments. Continue reading “This EU tariff takes the biscuit: Annex 1 — a really nerdy look”

This EU tariff takes the biscuit

If Brexit manages to get rid of this EU monstrosity, it will indeed be an achievement. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 2

EU customs used to have 27,720 categories of these. Now they have 13,608


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 18, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 20, 2016

UPDATE:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here

If you make biscuits in Britain and hope to continue to export to the EU after the UK leaves, you’re in for a treat. Ditto if you make bread, cakes, chocolate, breakfast cereals, food preparations or anything similar. Continue reading “This EU tariff takes the biscuit”

Second bite — how simple is the UK-WTO relationship post-Brexit?

Much of the divergent opinion boils down to differing assumptions. We can probably do better than ‘just take your pick’ because there is evidence available to assess at least some assumptions

The first bite at the cherry is here


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 17, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 20, 2016

Since the June 23, 2016 referendum, the debate about the UK’s post-Brexit status in the World Trade Organization has become more intense.

Back in March, AgraEurope’s first and detailed look at it attracted little attention (part 1 and part 2 are for subscribers; additional facts, free to view).

WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo’s comments before the referendum did raise a few eyebrows — but not much.

IN THIS ARTICLE

ASSUMPTIONS SCRUTINISED
Nothing simple:
• UK revising commitments, some transposed from EU’s
• tough negotiations to keep entitlements to protect agriculture
• current EU commitments not known
• trade continues but possible disruptions

Not complicated (one or several of these)
• “let’s be Singapore” — UK to be a free unilateral free trader (easier WTO talks)
• “we need you” — other WTO members willing to accommodate UK’s demands in order to keep trading
• “call my bluff” — little risk of legal challenge so UK has legal grounds to go ahead and submit its own WTO terms

Even more complicated (one or both):
• “the blank paper” — UK renegotiates everything from scratch, nothing transposed automatically from EU
• “accession route” — UK negotiates new commitments as if a new WTO member

PLUS What Azevêdo said

All that has changed. Demand has risen for what is now part of a special report for AgraEurope subscribers, and a debate has developed in academic and media comment, and on social media. Continue reading “Second bite — how simple is the UK-WTO relationship post-Brexit?”

The Hilton beef quota: a taste of what post-Brexit UK faces in the WTO

Bear with me. This can be pretty complicated, if not downright murky. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 1

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 10, 2016 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Developed from part of an original article in AgraEurope

UPDATE:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here

“Tariff-rate quotas” are among the most difficult challenges facing the UK as it re-establishes its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, the basis of all its post-Brexit trading relationships with the EU, free trade agreement partners and most of the rest of the world. Continue reading “The Hilton beef quota: a taste of what post-Brexit UK faces in the WTO”