Services Domestic Regulation — Locking in Good Regulatory Practices

Services is the fastest-growing sector of today's global economy and trade in services is the most dynamic segment of world trade. However, its potential remains constrained by a variety of barriers: trade costs are estimated to be almost double those in goods, and more than 40% of trade costs are accounted for by regulation-related factors. Regulatory measures related to the permission to supply a service, i.e. those related to licensing and qualifications requirements and procedures, and technical standards, can particularly affect service suppliers' ability to trade. With a view to mitigating the unintended trade-restrictive effects of such measures, since 2017, a group of Members has bee..

WTO > Working papers

Assessing the Supply Chain Effect of Natural Disasters — Evidence from Chinese Manufacturers

This paper uses Chinese firm level data to detect the international propagation of adverse shocks triggered by the US hurricane season in 2005. We provide evidence that Chinese processing manufacturers with tight trade linkages to the United States reduced their intermediate imports from the United States between July and October 2005.

WTO > Working papers

Buena Vista social corporate responsibility provisions in Regional Trade Agreements

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral part of many companies' business strategy. A detailed analysis of 579 RTAs, including 305 agreements currently in force and notified to the WTO (as of December 2020), reveals that a limited but increasing number of RTAs, namely 65 agreements, refer explicitly to CSR. These CSR-related provisions are particularly heterogeneous in terms of location in the RTA, language, scope and commitments.

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“Agricultural products” and “fishery products” in the GATT and WTO: a history of relevant discussions on product scope during negotiations

The WTO Agreement on Agriculture applies to those “agricultural products” as defined in its Annex 1. This definition expressly excludes “fish and fish products” from the scope of application of the Agreement. In light of this exclusion, the paper is intended to provide a historical account of the relationship between agricultural products and fishery products in the context of the negotiations leading to and during the GATT period up to the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, and some of its implications for WTO negotiations.

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Africa's integration in the WTO Multilateral Trading System: academic support and the role of WTO Chairs

The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO recognizes the need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries and especially the least developed among them secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.This article discusses how the WTO contributes to facilitating Africa's integration into the WTO multilateral trading system. It is argued that, while African countries are actively engaged in the work of the WTO, securing their economic and policy interests, some main challenges remain. These include the need to further diversify production, linking to the Global Value Chains and developing adequate infra-str..

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The Impact of Services Liberalization on Education: Evidence from India

This paper studies the impact of services liberalization on education and the gender education gap at the district level in India. We focus on the time period 1987 to 1999 and three services sectors - banking, insurance and telecommunications - which were all state monopolies, have been heavily liberalized in the time frame studied, have relatively high shares of female employment and require high education investments. Our hypothesis is that the national-level liberalization spurred higher investment in education, particularly girls? education, in districts with higher employment growth in these key services sectors.

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COVID-19 AND GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS - A discussion of arguments on value chain organization and the role of the WTO

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a discussion among researchers and policy makers about changes to global value chains, both about expected changes and changes that should be promoted by government policies. In this paper we conduct an in-depth analysis of the reasons for changes in global value chains as a result of COVID-19 both from a positive angle, analysing expected changes in the behaviour of firms, and from a normative angle, assessing the different arguments for policy interventions by governments. After this analysis international cooperation of trade policies and the role of WTO in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic is explored.

WTO > Working papers

Trade finance, gaps and the covid-19 pandemic: a review of events and policy responses to date

Developments in trade finance in 2020 were largely driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve years after the great financial crisis of 2008-09, the issue of trade finance re-emerged as a matter of urgency. While the current pandemic-related crisis did not have a financial cause, one of its results has been that many countries are experiencing difficulties in accessing trade credit. This is occurring notably in countries ? particularly developing countries ? in which structural trade finance gaps were high even before the pandemic.

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The WTO Global Trade Costs Index and Its Determinants

This study provides a decomposition of the WTO Global Trade Costs Index into five policy-relevant components: transport and travel costs; information and transaction costs; ICT connectedness; trade policy and regulatory differences; and governance quality. The WTO Global Trade Costs Index is based on a new methodology by Egger et al. (2021) that delivers directional trade cost estimates and sector-specific elasticities which are crucial for inferring trade costs from trade flows data. The resulting measure of trade costs includes all factors that burden foreign sales more than domestic ones. In this study, we run a sectoral regression analysis to determine what drives trade costs variation a..

WTO > Working papers

The evolution of gender-related provisions in Regional Trade Agreements

Regional Trade agreements (RTAs) are sometimes considered as laboratories in which new types of provisions are negotiated to address recent trade-related issues. Although the inclusion of gender-related provisions in RTAs is not a recent phenomenon, only a limited but increasing number of RTAs refer explicitly to gender-related issues. These gender-related provisions are highly heterogeneous and differ in terms of location in the RTA, language, scope and commitments. Some of the most detailed gender-related provisions are found in stand-alone chapters on gender. Cooperation provisions on gender-related issues, including labour, health and social policy, remain the most common type of gender-..

WTO > Working papers

Hold the line: the evolution of telecommunications provisions in Regional Trade Agreements

Based on the first comprehensive mapping of telecommunications provisions telecommunications in regional trade agreements (RTAs), this paper shows that telecommunications provisions in RTAs have evolved and expanded significantly over the years. While some provisions focus on information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure, policy and investment, other provisions address telecommunications services as well as standards and conformity assessment procedures of ICT equipment. The most detailed and comprehensive telecommunications provisions are found in stand-alone chapters, sections or annexes on telecommunications services. A network analysis further reveals that telecommunic..

WTO > Working papers

The Shifting Contours of Trade in Knowledge: The New 'Trade-Related Aspects' of Intellectual Property

This paper charts the evolution and diversification of trade in knowledge that has taken place in the quarter-century since the WTO TRIPS Agreement came into force. Entirely new markets have come into being, potentially redefining the very character of 'trade'.

WTO > Working papers

Patent-related actions taken in WTO members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19, caused by SARS-Cov-2, was declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Since then, the issue of the relationship between patent protection and the development of and access to medical treatments and technologies – a longstanding and enduringly important public policy issue – has become central to the debate on the linkages between IP, innovation, access, and public health between stakeholders with divergent interests.

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International trade in travel and tourism services: Economic impact and policy responses during the COVID-19 crisis

In this paper, we investigate tourism-related policy approaches that WTO member countries adopted in the early weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. We highlight the need for stakeholders to coordinate their responses in order to mitigate the negative crisis effects and better prepare the sector for the future. In doing so, we explore the economic impact of potential tourism scenarios, underlining both the demand and supply side effects of the crisis.

WTO > Working papers

Intellectual Property and Digital Trade - Mapping International Regulatory Responses to Emerging Issues

This paper explores how regulatory responses to emerging IP issues in digital trade may develop at the international level and in particular how existing mechanisms might influence the chances of developing internationally agreed rules in this regard. The primacy of state sovereignty in intellectual property up to the late 19th century gave way to the important WIPO treaties, which still retained some independence of member states and based international regulatory responses directly on national experience. While more regulatory sovereignty was ceded in TRIPS, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the adoption of non-binding instruments (such as the WIPO ..

WTO > Working papers

The evolution of services trade policy since the great recession

Are changes in services markets provoking reform, restrictions, or inertia? To address this question, we draw upon a new World Bank-WTO Services Trade Policy Database (STPD) to analyse the services trade policies of 68 economies in 23 subsectors across five broad areas?financial services, telecommunications, distribution, transportation and professional services, respectively.

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Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead for the WTO Trade Monitoring Exercise

A little over a decade has passed since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. Shortly after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, an internal Secretariat Task Force was established by the WTO Director-General to monitor the trade-related developments associated with the crisis. Meeting in London in early 2009, the G20 Leaders mandated the WTO, together with other international bodies, to monitor and report publicly on G20 adherence to resisting protectionism and promoting global trade and investment. Since then, 22 G20 reports and 24 WTO-wide reports have been published.

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An economic analysis of the US-China trade conflict

This paper provides an economic analysis of the trade conflict between the US and China, providing an overview of the tariff increases, a discussion of the background of the trade conflict, and an analysis of the economic effects of the trade conflict, based both on empirics (ex post analysis) and on simulations (ex ante analysis).

WTO > Working papers