Emerging Trade Issues for Small Developing Countries

Emerging Trade Issues for Small Developing Countries

Scrutinising the Horizon You do not have access to this content

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Teddy Y. Soobramanien, Leah Worrall
12 Sep 2017
9781848599642 (PDF)

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The world economy has undergone tremendous change during the past decade, with a range of emerging issues influencing global trade and coming to the fore in discussions among policy-makers and trade negotiators.

Whether these issues will or should be addressed within the multilateral context as part of a trade agenda is still being debated, but inevitably countries need to engage with these policy issues and the implications for their economies. In light of this changing international landscape, small developing countries need special support to effectively participate in the ongoing discussions on emerging issues in the various international bodies, including the WTO.

This publication seeks to inform and help Commonwealth small developing countries adapt to emerging issues such as climate change, e-commerce, the implementation agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the new role of Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and GVCs within global trade. Finally, it also addresses the systemic issues that impact on the participation of these countries in the multilateral trading system and approaches to advance the WTO negotiations.

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  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contributors
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Emerging Trade Issues for Small and Least Developed Countries – Scrutinising the Horizon

    The aim of this publication is to explore emerging trade issues for small developing countries. The world economy has undergone tremendous changes during the past decade, and a host of emerging issues are now influencing global trade, some of which are surrounded by uncertainty. These issues include the fragmentation of global value chains (GVCs), the digitisation of trade, climate change, growing prominence of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and geopolitical changes such as Brexit.

  • Post-Nairobi: Perspectives on Potential New Issues in the World Trade Organization

    The 10th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15–19 December 2015, adopted a far-reaching ministerial declaration to guide the work of the organisation in the coming years. The last paragraph of this declaration created the possibility of bringing so-called ‘new issues’ to the WTO. This paragraph states, ‘[w]hile we concur that officials should prioritize work where results have not yet been achieved, some wish to identify and discuss other issues for negotiation; others do not. Any decision to launch negotiations multilaterally on such issues would need to be agreed by all Members’ (WTO, 2015, para. 34).

  • The Imperatives of More Effectively Leveraging Trade and Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals in Small States

    The international community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key component of the 2030 Agenda. The 17 goals linked to 169 targets, progress on which will be measured against as many as 304 proposed indicators, provide a global framework of actions over the next 15 years to tackle critical socioeconomic and environmental challenges. The increased number of goals and targets reflects the level of ambition of the SDGs compared with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which had 8 goals, 21 targets and 60 indicators. Building on the initiative implemented during 2000–2015, the new focal point for action by the international community seeks not only to finish what the MDGs started but also to go beyond, including by identifying the ‘means of implementation’.

  • Effectively Influencing Value Chain Governance and Implementing SDG 14: ‘Life Below Water'

    There have been significant structural changes in recent decades in the way trade, production and marketing are organised. There is now wide recognition that global trade increasingly involves spreading the production of a final good over firms in several countries, with each one undertaking what is better described as a ‘task’ in the overall process rather than the production of a discrete good or service (WTO–IDE, 2011). These changes, which result from the internationalisation of global production and the fragmentation of trade across countries, have occurred as capital has become increasingly mobile under the accelerated pace of financial globalisation.

  • Trade Sustainability: Trade, Climate and Biodiversity Policy and Finance Inter-linkages

    There is a wide literature on the inter-linkages between biodiversity and trade, as well as between climate change and trade and biodiversity and climate. An earlier paper by Worrall (2015) focused on the science of climate change and provided brief illustrations of its impacts in select tradable sectors in select Commonwealth countries. This chapter instead provides an introductory summary of the international policy and finance context and theoretical inter-linkages between climate, biodiversity and trade.

  • E-Commerce Development: Policy Considerations for Small Developing Countries

    This chapter explores policy considerations for electronic commerce (e-commerce) development in small developing countries. E-commerce, though not entirely a new subject area in international trade discourse, is coming to the forefront now given its rapid expansion and the need for governments and the global community at large to look more carefully at the implications of this and to come up with relevant policy measures. This chapter does not purport to build the case for a particular stance by these countries on e-commerce, but rather looks at the potential benefits that could accrue from e-commerce development and at the same time the serious challenges they face, given the constraints that exist, as well as ways to address these. While the focus is on small developing countries, many of the issues covered will be relevant to the larger group of developing countries. They may also generally be of interest in shaping up a global agenda on e-commerce with a development dimension.

  • Post-Brexit Trade with Small Developing Countries: Making it Development-Friendly

    On 19 June 2017, almost one year after the Brexit referendum, the UK and the EU formally began negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to terminate the UK’s membership of the EU.2 With the UK having been a EU member for more than four decades, this decision is likely to have considerable political and economic implications for the UK, Europe and affected third countries around the world.

  • The Emergence of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Enhancing their Role in International Trade

    Recent discussions on the new issues in global trade have witnessed more interest in some key elements of the new global economy—micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), services, digital trade and technology. The inter-link between these aspects of international trade is dynamic, and the synergies are undeniable. With the growing acknowledgement of the role of MSMEs in global trade at its core, this chapter seeks to explore some of these synergies, as well as the challenges and the opportunities ahead.

  • The World Trade Organization Post-Nairobi: New Approaches and Architecture

    The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations was carried out (at least towards the end) and concluded on the basis of a ‘single undertaking’ negotiating model, according to which nothing was agreed until, by consensus, everything was agreed. In that round the model had several advantages, including for developing countries, by ensuring their interests remained on the agenda and, at least in theory, the final package was balanced (Rodriguez Mendoza and Wilke, 2011: 492). However, for various reasons, including an increase in the membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), an increase in the relative power of WTO members, greater awareness of the implications of trade negotiations and a certain scepticism about the value of unfettered trade liberalisation, in the Doha Round negotiations the single undertaking model has led to a stalemate.

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