Sunday, May 26, 2013

Of negotiated settlements and international economic law

As reports of China, US and EU apparently reaching a settlement on the solar panels trade dispute trickled in, another dispute seems to be making an entry - EU initiating a suo moto anti-dumping and anti-subsidy enquiry into imports of telecommunication equipment from China. 

The EU statement is here:
""The European Commission has today taken a decision in principle to open an ex officio anti-dumping and an anti-subsidy investigation concerning imports of mobile telecommunications networks and their essential elements from China. This decision will not be activated for the time being to allow for negotiations towards an amicable solution with the Chinese authorities. I will revert to the College of Commissioners in due course."
Will this dispute go the negotiated settlement way too? Consultations and negotiations are an integral part of the international trade setting. However, this CATO piece was critical of a negotiated settlement. It highlights the multiplicity of stakeholders - consumers, industry invoked in downstream activities like installation as well as institutional users of these equipments, apart from the producers of these panels ofcourse.

I was just struck by the CATO piece of the usage of the term "un-trade agreement". Can negotiated settlements be contrary to principles of international law? In other words, can there be a settlement that violates the provisions of an Agreement? I am sure countries do it all the time - but strictly in legal terms, isn't it still a violation?


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