Understanding the Role of the WTO in International Data Flows: Taking the Liberalization or the Regulatory Autonomy Path? By Nivedita Sen

Recent years have witnessed a surge in discussions relating to data and data flow in trade fora. This was predictable given the importance of data for trade in the digital economy, especially e-commerce. However, there is a major discord between WTO members on issues relating to data flows and data localization. This article sets out to understand how data flows across borders and the types of trade restrictive data localization measures members use. The analysis of various restrictions on data flows imposed by states reflects the different objectives behind them, targeting all or specific types of data. Such regulations potentially violate existing WTO commitments. The article concludes with a call for issuing a multilateral amendment of existing norms, and undertaking a data differentiated approach to resolve the deadlock at the WTO.

https://doi.org/10.1093/jiel/jgy021

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The Potency of the SPS Agreement’s Excessivity Test: The Impact of Article 5.6 on Trade Liberalization and the Regulatory Power of WTO Members to take Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures by Hanna Schebesta & Dominique Sino poli

The article investigates the current and potential relevance of Article 5.6 SPS in deciding SPS disputes, and its impact on trade liberalization and WTO Members’ power to take sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Article 5.6 of the SPS Agreement states that SPS measures may not be more trade restrictive than required to achieve a Member’s appropriate level of protection. This obligation is self-standing and separate (in Article 5.6) from the necessity test (Article 2.2). We argue that its autonomous nature makes Article 5.6 SPS a distinct type of trade-off instrument (‘excessivity test’).

Using the software ATLAS.ti, we conducted a systematic content analysis of all SPS disputes invoking Article 5.6. In particular, we surveyed the jurisprudential development of the provision (outcomes of 5.6 SPS cases over time, DSB application of the three cumulative conditions and their respective outcome determinacy).

Our findings show that the importance of Article 5.6 has significantly increased over time, and holds immense potential for challenges to WTO Members domestic SPS measures for being excessively trade restrictive.

https://doi.org/10.1093/jiel/jgy003

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Please note that external content will only work for subscribers who have access either using a log-in and password or associated with their IP Address.

No other access is implied or intended.

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Dynamic estimation of the relationship between trade openness and output growth in Asia

This paper studies the relationship between trade openness and output growth for a sample of twenty-three Asian countries using both a static OLS and a dynamic ECM estimation models. At the country specific level, the findings of this study provide robust empirical evidence indicating that higher revealed trade openness is not the main engine explaining the Asian economic-growth miracle.

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The impact of trade openness on growth: The case of Kenya

This paper investigates the effects of trade openness on the level of investment and the rate of economic growth in Kenya using annual time series data. The aggregate trade openness and trade-policy induced openness are evaluated. Controlling for a number of factors, aggregate trade openness is found to have positively affected the level of investment and the rate of economic growth, although the effect on the latter is statistically insignificant. On the other hand, we find trade-policy induced openness to have negatively and significantly affected investment and the rate of economic growth. Granger Causality tests suggest that a change in trade openness influences the long-term rate of economic growth through the interaction with physical capital growth in the case of Kenya.

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Intra-industry Trade Liberalization and the Environment

This paper examines how trade liberalization affects national and global pollution in a multi-country model incorporating monopolistic competition and intra-industry trade as well as inter-industry trade. Each country produces skill-intensive differentiated goods and labor-intensive goods. Pollution is a by-product of production but pollution abatement can be undertaken. Regardless of country characteristics, if the differentiated-good sector is sufficiently cleaner (dirtier) then, without any change in environmental taxes, a multilateral reduction in import protection accorded to the differentiated good or to both goods typically leads to a decline (rise) in pollution in all countries. Pollution havens tend not to arise.

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Constitutional Courts as Bulwarks against the Erosion of Social and Economic Rights through Free Trade Agreements

Over the past decades, the process of untrammelled trade liberalization has engulfed many parts of the world. Albeit the attenuated success obtained on trade facilitation on global trade in Bali 2013, the global proclivity toward bilateral trade deals remains patent. The acceleration of this trend can be explained by the inability of political masters and their economic sherpas to reach a comprehensive global trade deal. Within many bilateral agreements negotiated between industrialised countries, on the one hand, and emerging or developing nations, on the other hand, elastic provisions are included that go far beyond what negotiators contemplate in the Doha Round talks. To our understanding, the expansive content of the trade agreements are both cause and effect of the observable growing politicisation of trade negotiations and trade policy tout court. Some of these expansive provisions that are included in the final agreements often have debilitating effects on the attainment of economic and social rights of citizens in ways unforeseen or simply neglected during the negotiations. Increasingly municipal courts are joining social activists to unequivocally say ‘stop!’ to this trend. This article systematically compares the manner in which the highest courts in Colombia and South Africa have served as bulwarks against the erosion of constitutionally protected economic and social rights through free trade agreements entered with industrialised countries.

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Union wage-setting and international trade with footloose capital

This paper sets up a general oligopolistic equilibrium model with two countries that differ in the centralization of union wage-setting. Being interested in the consequences of openness, we show that, in the short run, trade increases welfare and employment in both locations, and it raises income of capital owners as well as workers. In the long run, capital outflows from the country with the more centralized wage-setting generate winners and losers and make the two countries more dissimilar in terms of unemployment or welfare. Decentralization of wage-setting can successfully prevent capital outflow and the export of jobs.

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