Monday, May 6, 2013

Development rights and Doha

An interesting article by Stephen Kim Park on contextulaizing developments rights in the overall debate of international economic law is found here.

Titled "Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk" in the Virginia Journal of International Law, it discusses the failure of the Doha round as well as proposes a new theoretical framework to address the complexities of issues on trade, development and equity.
"From Geneva to Beijing, Brasilia, Brussels, and Washington, D.C., there exists a modicum of consensus on the promise of trade as an engine of economic growth. Nonetheless, gross economic inequality— both between wealthy and poor countries and within individual countries — persists, and various social harms associated with liberalized trade garner significant attention. The collapse of the Doha Round presents new opportunities to consider anew the legal framework and process by which development objectives are identified and addressed in the global trade regime. The increasingly brighter spotlight placed on the WTO is testament both to the growth of cross-border commerce in the developing world and the important role of international trade law in defining the terms of these commercial relationships. 
Based on a model of development rights as institutional communication, this Article raises procedural questions that suggest the value of institutional reforms to the WTO. Turning inward, such reforms may involve a re-thinking of the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Mechanism to promote best practices and the direct participation of NGOs and other representatives of civil society. Enhanced technical assistance and measures to facilitate coalition building among developing countries in all phases of the negotiating process would broaden stakeholder participation and lower information barriers among WTO members. Turning outward, greater use of mechanisms for inter-regime coordination, such as between the WTO and other international organizations (including the World Bank, the WHO, and the development agencies of the United Nations), would enhance the capacity of developing countries to meaningfully participate in discourse regarding trade and development and benefit from decisions that result. Finally, the promulgation of metarights or non-derogable rules, which would replace the aspirational principles of development in WTO agreements, could be considered as a prerequisite to a new round of WTO negotiations. The political viability and economic impact of these prescriptive measures constitute potential testable hypotheses for future empirical inquiry. Likewise, the principles of development rights, from which potential reforms may be derived, could be applied to the regulation of international finance and foreign investment law."
For all those trade negotiators involved in Doha... 


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