Policy Coherence for development….Trade

27/06/2011 at 12:01 pm 1 comment

Part I

Guest blog by Michael McManus

A couple of weeks back, this blog series claimed it could break down the confusion and complexity which surrounds the policy coherence for development debate with little more than a few hundred words. Today, when faced with explaining how trade and Irish trade policy affect developing countries, I realise that such a promise was perhaps a little ambitious. But, here goes.

(Note agriculture-related trade will be dealt with in a later post)

Understanding Irish trade policy (the boring bit)

Ireland’s trade policy is mostly decided at EU level. It is defined by a single European market allowing for free movement of goods, people and capital. Externally, the EU sets common tariffs for imports into the European Union. This policy is known as the ‘Common Commercial Policy’.

The European Commission implements the Common Commercial Policy. The Commission is advised by various committees such as the Article 113 Committee, made up of senior civil servants from each member state. Decisions on major trade matters can be made without European Parliament consultation, by member state Ministers and where necessary without unanimous support from all EU member states.

European trade policy is, however, largely influenced by agreements reached at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The WTO seeks to promote economic development through the regulation of world trade and the reduction of barriers to trade. WTO agreements focus on trade in products (GATT), services (GATS), Intellectual Property (TRIPS).

How trade policy impacts upon developing countries (a little less boring?)

Irish trade policy has an impact on developing countries at three different levels.

WTO Agreements 

WTO agreements promote trade by seeking, for example, to open up domestic markets to foreign products and services, reduce trade tariffs and end state subsidies. Agreement on new trade rules is reached at so-called trade rounds – negotiation between WTO members – which can continue for years. The current Doha Development Round seeks to address some of the many imbalances in global trade rules but is now in its tenth year.

Ireland’s commitment to policy coherence means that, as a member of the EU, it bears a responsibility to promote pro-development solutions at the current trade negotiations on the following major issues:

  1. Goods – ensuring that barriers to the trade in goods over which developing countries have an advantage (manufacturing of electrical goods, textiles, etc) are reduced;
  2. Services – gaining greater access for developing countries to Western service markets such as Tourism, Software development and maritime transport in particular through temporary free movement of persons;
  3. Access to essential drugs – ensuring that developing countries can access essential drugs for diseases like HIV and Aids at reasonable prices regardless of patents owned by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies;
  4. Protection biodiversity and traditional knowledge  – ensuring that TRIPS does not allow abusive patenting of traditional plants, species and knowledge found in developing countries by multinational companies
  5. Ensuring that patents do not hinder the use of ICT in developing countries

EU General System of preferences

The EU gives preferential access to European markets for developing country goods using two distinct systems – the Cotonou Agreement and the General System of Preferences.

The Cotonou Agreement contains a section dedicated to a non-reciprocal trade agreement between the EU and ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries. It gives these countries access to European markets at lower tariffs than other countries for a large number of manufactured goods (textiles) and primary goods (oil, coal etc). However due to WTO rules, the Cotonou agreement on trade is being replaced by bi-lateral or regional reciprocal economic partnership agreements which have been subject to much criticism.

Under the ‘General System of preferences’ scheme, the EU gives favourable treatment to developing nations in accessing European Markets on three different levels. The GSP applies advantages to all developing countries. The GSP Plus scheme allows additional advantages to mid-level but fragile developing countries such as Sri Lanka and Columbia dependent on Human Rights, Sustainable development, Labour standards and Good Governance conditionalities. Finally, the ‘Everything but Arms’ agreement provides Least Developed Countries tariff-free access to the European Market for a vast amount of products.

The Cotonou Agreement and the GSP scheme aim to compliment the development cooperation efforts of Ireland and the EU. In practice, however, they present a number of policy coherence issues which the Irish Government should seek to influence on behalf of developing countries:

-          The complex arrangement of WTO, regional, bi-lateral agreements make participation in negotiations extremely difficult for developing nations;

-          Stringent EU standards on Rules of Origin greatly limit the potential impact of greater market access for developing country goods;

-          the EU policy on access for non-sensitive goods is welcome but developing country goods competing with sensitive European goods continue to face higher tariffs;

-          advantages given under the GSP scheme may well be used unfairly by the EU as bargaining chips in broader WTO negotiations;

-          Human Rights conditionality for the GSP Plus schemes has only ever been used against Sri Lanka and there is little confidence in its application;

-          Economic Partnership Agreements which replace the Cotonou Agreement reduce the potential impact of the Everything but Arms Scheme. These and reciprocal bi-lateral trade agreements are reached after unbalanced negotiations between the world’s largest trading bloc and some of the world’s poorest countries..

 

Part II discussing Aid for Trade and what NGOs can do in this area will follow tomorrow.

A deeper analysis of some of the above mentioned issues is available in the book Policy Coherence for Development – The state of play in Ireland

 

 —

Other blogs on this topic:

* “Oh No, not Policy Coherence for Development again!

* Reforming the EU’s Agriculture Policy 

* Making Trade work for Development

 

 

 

Entry filed under: EU, Government, MDGs. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Reforming the EU’s Agricultural Policy Talking Development Effectiveness in the Cambodian Jungle…

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 190 other followers

Archives

Dóchas on Twitter

The World's Best News - images

A young group of developers from Uganda built Matibabu, a malaria-detection app. 
Using a Kinect sensor and a mobile device, Matibabu detects a person’s malaria status without even pricking a body part. All of the data is read off the person’s finger. 
Read more: http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2014/09/top-4-applications-solving-real-problems-in-africa/ 
Photo: Simon Lumbambo, Josiah Kavuma, Joshua Mulessi and Brian Gitta, developed Matibabul. The app works by using the phone and a customised hardware (Matiscope) to diagnose a patient of malaria without having to prick the patient in order to test for malaria in the blood. These kids at the Baraka Za Ibrahim Children's Centre in Nairobi line up for their daily school meal. 
Thanks to overseas aid, the World Food Programme (WFP) provides daily meals to about 770,000 students and Kenya, and the Ministry of Education handles meals for another 750,000.
School meals are are major contributor to higher school enrolment rates across the developing world. (Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud, February 19, 2010) #Ethiopia’s ‘African tiger’ leaps towards middle income.

Three decades since Michael Buerk's “biblical #famine in the 20th century” documentary, the country has, “like the proverbial phoenix, managed to rise from the ashes to become Africa’s fastest-growing non-energy-driven economy.” One effect of the progress is a greater capacity to cope with drought, preventing the descent into famine conditions that have occurred in the past. Ethiopia’s development efforts are also praised internationally for meeting some of the millennium development goals, particularly universal primary #education and a reduction in infant mortality.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/oct/22/ethiopia-african-tiger-middle-income?CMP=share_btn_tw 
Photo: People wait for a bus in #Addis Ababa. The government has launched an ambitious modernisation plan in the Ethiopian capital. Photograph: Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Green Jobs are booming in #Bangladesh.

The South Asian nation has become a top hot spot for #renewable energy jobs, creating a 'green workforce' as large as Spain’s in 2013.

How? Solar energy.

Bangladeshis are installing small #photovoltaic systems at a rate of 80,000 a month, says the report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In a country where only 47 percent of the population had access to electricity in 2009, #solar is becoming a way to leapfrog the need to build a bigger power grid.

Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/why-a-green-jobs-boom-is-under-way-in-bangladesh/362087/?utm_content=bufferf16c2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer "They have a good organisation. They are thinking ahead and using help wisely." The coffee industry in Nicaragua is facing big problems. but Soppexcca, a cooperative of coffee producers, is responding to the challenges- in an inclusive and democratic way. 
Read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/problems-brewing-for-nicaraguan-coffee-industry-1.1849541?page=1 and also http://www.soppexcca.org/en/ There are now over 65 mobile phones for every 100 people living in Africa. And NGOs like Gorta Self Help Africa are harnessing the potential of mobile technology, in the fight against hunger.

A new mobile phone based text and advice service ensures that farmers in #Malawi are accessing up to date information on their crops and harvests.
Read more at http://www.gorta.org/news/phones-spread-farm-information

To read more about how mobile phones are transforming agriculture across #Africa, have a look here:
http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com/business/how-mobile-phones-are-transforming-african-agriculture/

Photo: Advertisement from Esoko, a mobile phone company in #Ghana offering
market price information to farmers. In #Liberia, taxi drivers are the latest weapons against #Ebola.

Many of the country’s motor cycle taxi drivers are former combatants in Liberia’s devastating civil war, shunned by society. One successful local initiative, the Pen-Pen Peace Network, is now recruiting their skills for a public awareness campaign in communities within Monrovia to educate citizens about Ebola. 
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/oct/15/ebola-crisis-liberia-peace-building-conflict-pen-pen?CMP=twt_gu

Photo: Motorcycle taxi drivers are a good means of disseminating information during the Ebola crisis in Liberia. Photo by Handout/Reuters Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. 
WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a "spectacular success story". http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29685127 
#ebola #nigeria Here's a great story from Gorta Self Help Africa about a #Malawian women's group who have increased their earnings and created employment with a tomato micro-business.

http://www.gorta.org/news/tomato-processors-retail-dividend Rafea Um Gomar, a brave Bedouin woman from a rural village has not only become the first female solar engineer in #Jordan, but she has also helped set up 80 solar installations providing electricity to her village! 
Today she is an elected leader and a teacher in her community, training others how to use sustainable energy. ‪

Photo by @unfoundation Activists use GPS to track illegal loggers in Brazil's Amazon rainforest

Read here how a hi-tech undercover operation used GPS tracking on timber trucks for the first time, as well as satellite and aerial images, to reveal the extent of illegal logging in the Brazilian Amazon forest.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/15/activists-use-gps-to-track-illegal-loggers-in-brazils-amazon-rainforest?source=tw&subsource=20141015fotw01&utm_source=gpeace&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=20141015fotw01

#Brazil #rainforest #logging #tech #gps #amazon #tracking #globaldev #activism

Visitors Map

Map

Dóchas Photos

undermining 0.7

tanaiste

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190 other followers

%d bloggers like this: