The Real Problem with Free Trade Jayati Ghosh

Even if free trade is ultimately broadly beneficial, the fact remains that as trade has become freer, inequality has worsened. One major reason for this is that current global trade rules have enabled a few large firms to capture an ever-larger share of value-added, at a massive cost to economies, workers, and the environment. For full article click here (This article was originally published in the Project Syndicate on September 10, 2018)

Dispute Settlement Becomes Speculative Financial Asset Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) have effectively created a powerful and privileged system of protections for foreign investors that undermines national law and institutions. ISDS allows foreign corporations to sue host governments for supposedly causing them losses due to policy or regulatory changes that reduce the expected profitability of their investments. Very significantly, ISDS provisions have been and can be invoked, even when rules are non-discriminatory, or profits come from causing public harm. ISDS will thus strengthen perverse incentives for foreign investors at the expense of local businesses and the…

Free trade agreements, Trade Policy and Multilateralism

  The rapid, if sometimes unsteady expansion of international trade from the late 1980s came to an abrupt end from 2009[1] as many large developed economies adopted more ‘protectionist’ policies to address balance of payments problems exacerbated by the 2008-2009financial crisis. This U-turn brought a halt to an extraordinary period of rapid trade expansion due to much greater international specialization, especially with the spread of ‘international value chains’ in production.   Free trade agreements Freetrade agreements (FTAs) are generally presumed to promote trade liberalization. While FTAs typically reduce some barriers to the international trade in goods and services, various provisions…

Free Trade Agreements Promote Corporate Interests Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

So-called free-trade agreements (FTAs) are generally presumed to promote trade liberalization, but in fact, they do much more to strengthen the power of the most influential transnational corporations of the dominant partner involved. While FTAs typically reduce some barriers to the international trade in goods and services, some provisions strengthen private monopolies and corporate power.Not surprisingly, FTA processes are increasingly widely seen as essentially corrupt. They are typically opaque, especially to the producer and consumer interests affected. The eventual outcomes are often poorly understood by the public and often misrepresented by those pretending to be experts. For example, many economists…

ISDS Corporate Rule of Law Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in ostensible free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) have effectively created a powerful, privileged system of protections for foreign investors that undermine national law and institutions. ISDS allows foreign corporations to sue governments for causing them losses due to legal or regulatory changes.A law unto themselvesISDS cases are decided by extrajudicial tribunals composed of three corporate lawyers. Although ISDS has existed for decades, its scope and impact has grown sharply in the last decade. As ISDS has been written into over 3,000 BITs and numerous FTAs, the opportunities for ISDS claims are…

Analysis of the Main Controversies on Domestic Agricultural Supports Jacques Berthelot

This paper tries to provide food for thought for the debate in analysing the main controversies around ten methodological issues of opposite concepts such as, agricultural supports vs agricultural subsidies; administered prices vs market prices etc. domestic_agricultural_supports (Download the full text in PDF format)    

CETA without Blinders: How cutting ‘trade costs and more’ will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses Pierre Kohler and Servaas Storm

Contrary to the positive outcomes as projected by the proponents of CETA, this paper shows that it will lead to intra-EU trade diversion and in the current context of tepid economic growth, competitive pressures induced by CETA will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses. ceta (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published as GDAE Working Paper No. 16-03.)

Changing the Investment Policy Menu Smitha Francis

The WIR rightly focussed on the interactions between national investment policymaking and international agreements. But its investment policy reform agenda remains incomplete. Changing_Investment_Policy  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLVIII, No. 05, February 02, 2013.)

Hillary Clinton’s Morally Superior Speech in Africa was Deluded Jayati Ghosh

Reports on Hillary Clinton's trip to Africa describe her as warning African leaders about co-operation with countries that want to exploit the continent's resources. In the pious and slightly smug tone that people in Africa – and, indeed, the rest of the developing world – are only too used to hearing from North Atlantic leaders, Clinton apparently went on to say the US would stand up for democracy and universal human rights "even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing … Not every partner makes that choice, but we…

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