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Rights-based trade policy – experiences and perspectives: 

Rights-based trade policy – experiences and perspectives Christian Friis Bach International Director DanChurchAid Former Associate Professor in International Economics.

Rights-instruments in trade policy: 

Rights-instruments in trade policy Trade-/association agreements Preferential agreements Labelling Declarational diplomacy Positive conditionalities Negative conditionalities Trade sanctions Boycot Conditions in international trade agreements

Positive conditionalities have not been effective: 

Positive conditionalities have not been effective Economic effects too small compared to costs (EU 8,5% - 40% for clothing) Political resistance in developing countries Legality within WTO? (preferences should be applied objectively, non-discriminatory and transparent, labels must be voluntary, market based and transparent) Red/green clauses in GSP – only few countries have applied Private initiatives: Social responsibility, Labelling schemes (Ethical Trade Initiative)

Human rights in bilateral trade agreements: 

Human rights in bilateral trade agreements Human rights in most bilateral trade agreements negotiated by the EU, especially the Middle-East agreements. But: Lack of enforcement Lack of dispute settlement ”Carrot” too small Important signal Perhaps new possibilities with the Economic Partnership Agreement. Possible EU association has been a significant tool in promoting human rights – a new expansion agenda? EU-Israel Associeringsaftalen Article 2 Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.

WTO: Who will turn of the light……?: 

WTO: Who will turn of the light……? “We are now in the red zone and not far from the red part of this red zone” Pascal Lamy, Report by the Chariman of the Trade Negotiations Committeee, 15th of May 2006 Will exploit benefits from multilateralism Developing countries weaker Impossible to solve cross-cutting issues, eg. Agricultural support. Negotiations stalemate, the deserted deadlines – no winners in sight, no driving force evident. Bilateralism and regionalism on the rise – from building blocks to stumbling blocks? Negotiations on sustainable development issues downgraded Economic risks expanded, economic gains exhausted…? …..

Human rights in the WTO: 

Human rights in the WTO WTO no human rights clause South Africa faced sanctions despite GATT membership – hower changed since the WTO. China joining the WTO has weakened the human rights focus WTO strong dispute settlement system – can it be used by the human rights regime? Principles: Non-discrimination: Most-favoured nation National treatment Like-products Exceptions: Public morale Protect life and health for plants, animals and people Slave labour Exhaustible natural ressources National security Authorised by the Security Council Extra-territorial actions Least-trade distortive

Perspectives - human rights in the WTO: 

Perspectives - human rights in the WTO Could the WTO system be used to promote human rights? Forced trade actions against countries with human rights abuses Membership conditional on human rights Make it legal but not obligatory to introduced trade measures based on human rights abuses through a link to the international human rights conventions - Success for Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) - Failure for workers rights

The key to success: Rule of the law: 

The key to success: Rule of the law

Examples are plentiful: Disputes : 

Examples are plentiful: Disputes “…the GATT is not to be read in clinical isolation from public international law…” US-Gasoline Dispute, Appellate body, 1996 Beef Hormones Codex Alimentarius Shrimp/Turtle Interamerican Treaty/CITES/… Swordfish UN Convention on the Law of the Sea … ….

Examples are plentiful: Negotiations : 

Examples are plentiful: Negotiations Agricultural export subsidies/food aid WFP Environmental goods and services Basel, UNEP Trade-related intellectual property rights WIPO, WHO, CBD Fisheries subsidies FAO “..negotiations do not any longer take place clinical isolation from other international organisations..” Modified from the US-gasoline dispute ……….. ….. “ pushing new areas into the WTO we essentially get them out of the WTO..” Modified from Svend Auken, former Danish Minister of the Environment

The widening agenda: 

The widening agenda Trade in goods Services Agriculture Technical barriers to trade and food standards Environment Intellectual Property Rights Technology Aid and technical assistance Public procurement Trade facilitation Debt …..

The institution is not kicking but surely alive…: 

The institution is not kicking but surely alive… “The WTO is an engine, a motor energizing the international legal order” Pascal Lamy, Intervention devant la Société de droit international Free trade Interdependency Internationalism Integrated negotiations ”The Global EU” Democracy improving: Group of a still larger number Dispute settlement developing: Faster and facilitated Openness and information widening: Please keep secret and get it settled Constituency broadening: We are all in this together


Dilemmas Is it a human rights violation not to use trade measures against countries with human rights violations? Are trade measures with negative effects for innocent civilians a human rights violation? Is there a dilemma between social/economic and civil/political human rights (China?)? Will you promote human rights most efficiently via increased trade/growth and interdependency or via trade sanctions/measures? Who are you punishing with trade measures those who export or those who imports? “If you like circus, WTO is the only tent in town”


Conclusions Focus on the political effects of free trade: From peace to international policies and human rights There are a number of dilemmas and it is difficult to use human rights actively in trade policy There are some options in preferential agreements and in association/free trade agreements Focus on injecting sustainable development issues and human rights into the WTO by the “Codex” mechanism Keep focus on the WTO – do not give up, do not ease the pressure, do not escape “If you like circus, WTO is the only tent in town”

Economic effects overstated…: 

Economic effects overstated… Source: Harrison, Rutherford and Tarr, World Bank Discussion Paper 307, 1995, samt World Data, 1995

…but political effects understated: 

…but political effects understated

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