ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Trade Measures Enacted by Countries Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article tries to analyse the non-tariff measures enacted by countries during the COVID-19 pandemic from the lens of trade protectionism. It further suggests ways for reforming the World Trade Organization rules and highlights the importance of eliminating trade barriers for effectively combating the pandemic.

A Methodological Rectification in the Global Hunger Index

The article proposes a methodological correction to the original Global Hunger Index to improve its validity as a tool to measure hunger in a country. Normalising the variables using their range instead of historic peaks as in the original GHI would help eliminate some of the measurement bias from the ranking procedure and make the ranking more justifi able to the present-day data.

Sustaining the Blue Economy

Subsidies provided for commercial fishing activities directly contribute to overfishing and decline in fish stocks, threatening to affect the food security and livelihood of millions in coastal areas. Hence, in an unprecedented move to conserve and sustain marine resources, the World Trade Organization membership is currently engaged in negotiating disciplines for fishing subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing, fishing of overfished stocks, and eliminating subsidies that contribute to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. This article analyses the most recent text tabled at the WTO on the disciplines related to fisheries subsidies and highlights certain outstanding issues where members are unable to reach an agreement.

Are Subsidies Trade-distortionary?

To benefit the farmers green box subsidies may be given.

Pandemic and the Patent System

This article discusses the patent system in the context of the current pandemic. It suggests that the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement and the TRIPS-compliant Indian Patent Law could be used to either grant compulsory licences or they could go by the provision that allows the government to use the patent. The road block seems to be the technological capabilities than the patent system itself.

Intellectual Property Rights and Food: Is the TRIPS Agreement in India’s Favour?

Protecting the right of innovators and adhering to the universal right to food security is a delicate dance that India must seriously reflect on if it is to sustain any meaningful position in the international trading arena.

WTO and South Asia

WTO negotiations so far have shown that when countries forge alliances they can generate synergies and become powerful players. The EU, Cairns Group and the African bloc have emerged as influential groups within the WTO. Several factors have stalled the evolution of a common position among south Asian countries: regional politics and antipathies, the economic disparity in the region, and the temptation for individual countries to draw up independent arrangements with developed countries in return for trade favours often detrimental to regional interests. Will south Asian countries function with a common agenda at Cancun?

WTO and Trade Facilitation

Developing countries' opposition to an agreement on trade facilitation is based primarily on their inability to shoulder more obligations and the strong likelihood of the WTO getting overburdened. This essay argues that there are other possible implications and that the case for further trade facilitation in developing countries is not well established, given the remarkable differences in their levels of development. The Cancun Ministerial is expected to witness a heated debate, if not a deadlock, on these issues.

China's Accession to WTO

This paper attempts to evaluate the implications of China's accession to the WTO in terms of its impact on the country's exports, imports and foreign investment inflows, and also discusses the likely effect of these developments for the Indian economy. The paper argues that in case of China, the changes consequent to accession to WTO will see an increase in economic activity, leading to a higher GDP growth rate. For India, the Chinese challenge can be met only if we strengthen the competitiveness of our economy further by undertaking additional reforms and improving infrastructure.

General Agreement on Trade in Services

Concerns have been voiced about the WTO's encroachment into social service sectors such as health, education, and environment under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and how this may undermine national sovereignty and autonomy in social policy-making. However, most of these concerns stem from misunderstandings and lack of information about the liberalisation process under the GATS. This paper tries to dispel such unwarranted fears by highlighting the GATS' commitment structure and framework and explaining how countries can retain their autonomy in social policy-making under the GATS. However, it also points out some problem areas in this regard, tracing their source to various ambiguities and weaknesses in the GATS framework. The paper highlights the need to use the ongoing GATS 2000 negotiations effectively so as to strengthen the GATS framework and address these problematic issues.

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