Friday, February 28, 2014

Whither multilateralism?

 Number of countries
% of World Population
 % of GDP
 % of World Trade

 Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

 Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 

 Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

 68 (% of Services Trade)

With these kind of mega deals being negotiated, whither multilateralism in trade rule making?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Now, that is a large team

Russia is one of the new members at the WTO. I have blogged about it here, here and here.

And now it has a large team at the WTO Mission - 32 members proposed for the Russian Mission, as highlighted in this piece in the Moscow Times.
"Having a mission on the ground in Geneva is considered essential for a member country to be able to defend its interests within the WTO. Since joining the organization in 2012, Russia has been embroiled in a number of trade disputes, for example over its attempts to shelter its domestic car industry by forcing foreign manufacturers to pay tariffs not applied to local firms."
Time to cope with the multilateral trade body's membership. As on date Russia was already a complainant in one case, respondent in 2 cases and third party in 8 cases at the dsipute settlement proceeding of the WTO.

Monday, February 10, 2014

India and dispute settlement

A regular follower of Trade Law and Development Journal, here is the latest issue on India and the international economic system. 

A piece on India's engagement with the WTO dispute settlement system by James Nedumpara caught my attention. Highlighting India's experience with the dispute settlement system so far, its engagement with challenges faced thereof, the author does conclude that India would have to sustain the capacity already built:
"India’s challenge in the future will be to sustain the capacity already built. Trade disputes are cyclical and it may require positive intervention on the part of the government to foster and nourish trade-related capacity. This article has highlighted the need to establish better channels of communication between the government and industry. Furthermore, a bottom-up approach to stakeholder participation will be feasible only if the government encourages private sector and educational institutions to take greater interest in international trade issues. A large number of trade-related governmental institutions and adjudicatory bodies in India are yet to achieve a desired level of sophistication in WTO matters. Equipping these agencies with the necessary understanding of WTO matters will be crucial for India’s chances of playing a leading role in WTO dispute settlement." 
The WTO dispute process involves the State as the primary actor. However, the interests are largely those of private businesses and sectors, both small and large. To find that partnership model of India's State capacity, legal brilliance and private sector participation will decide the success of India at the WTO dispute settlement process.