Unfair Trade Agreements

1. Most-favoured-nation treatment: treating others equally Under WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Give someone a special favor (for example. B a lower rate of duty on one of its products), and you must do the same for all other WTO Members. All these agreements together still do not lead to free trade in its laissez-faire form. U.S. interest groups have successfully lobbied to impose trade restrictions on hundreds of imports, including steel, sugar, automobiles, milk, tuna, beef and denim. At the end of the Uruguay Round, developing countries were ready to assume most of the commitments required of developed countries. But the agreements have given them transition periods to adapt to WTO rules that are more unfamiliar and perhaps difficult, especially for the poorest and least developed countries. A ministerial decision adopted at the end of the round stipulates that the wealthiest countries should accelerate the implementation of market access obligations for goods exported by least developed countries and seek increased technical assistance from them.

More recently, developed countries have begun to allow duty-free and quota-free imports for almost all products from least developed countries. In all of this, the WTO and its members are still undergoing a learning process. The current Doha Development Agenda also reflects the concern of developing countries about the difficulties they face in implementing the Uruguay Round agreements. The removal of trade barriers is one of the most obvious ways to promote trade. The barriers affected include tariffs (or duties) and measures such as import bans or quotas that selectively restrict quantities. From time to time, other issues such as bureaucracy and exchange rate policy were also discussed. Measures against dumping subsidies (sales at disproportionately low prices) and special countervailing duties to offset subsidies Emergency measures temporarily limiting imports in order to protect domestic industries. Globalization is the dominant business environment today, and we are seeing new business models emerge clearly. In principle, free trade at the international level is no different from trade between neighbours, cities or states.

However, it allows companies in each country to focus on producing and selling the goods that make the best use of their resources, while other companies import goods that are scarce or unavailable in the domestic market. This combination of local production and foreign trade allows economies to grow faster while better meeting the needs of their consumers. Binding tariffs and their equal application to all trading partners (most-favoured-nation clause) are the key to the smooth movement of goods. The WTO Agreements respect the principles, but also provide for exceptions in certain circumstances. Three of these questions are: It is therefore not surprising that a number of personalities from African civil society and business are actively trying to challenge the EU`s trade policy, calling on EU officials to reconsider unfavourable EPAs given their negative impact on sustainable development in Africa. In Cameroon, for example, the Civil Association for the Defence of Collective Interests (ACDIC) conducted a leading local campaign entitled “Chickens of Death”, which raised consumer opinion in favour of the consumption of poultry products from the region at the expense of frozen meat from EU Member States. ACDIC worked with local poultry farmers, but formed an independent activist network, giving the campaign greater national credibility than an industry-led initiative. Like Johnson (2011, p. 593) explains: 75% of world trade is managed by transnational corporations. These are multinationals headquartered in a developed country, but many factories in developing countries.

2. National treatment: Treat foreigners and nationals equally Goods imported and produced in the country should be treated equally at least after the entry of foreign goods into the market. The same should apply to foreign and domestic services, as well as to foreign and local trademarks, copyrights and patents. This principle of national treatment (which accords others the same treatment as their own nationals) is also found in the three main WTO agreements (Article 3 of the GATT, Article 17 of the GATS and Article 3 of the TRIPS Agreement), although the principle is applied somewhat differently in each of these agreements. (These are tariff items, so the percentages are not weighted by the volume or value of trade.) Dumping is an unfair trading practice in which goods are exported at prices below their cost of production. Africa`s relations with the European Union (EU) come at a critical juncture as officials on both continents seek to conclude a successor treaty to the Cotonou Agreement (a trade and aid partnership signed in 2000 and expiring in 2020). One of the main points of contention is how the EU plans to help African countries achieve economic growth in conjunction with the UN`s Sustainable Development Goals, thereby creating jobs and reducing poverty for their people. In particular, the potential impact of the EU`s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) on African countries is the subject of much discussion. EPA negotiations began with the signing of Cotonou, and a number of regional trade agreements are now to be implemented in East, West, Central and Southern Africa. The European Commission (2017; 2018) argues that EPAs will be a boon for poverty reduction by boosting African economies and abolishing protectionist tariffs that artificially protect non-productive sectors.

However, critics say the EPAs will impose early trade liberalization and tariff cuts at a time when African economies are simply unwilling to compete with European industrial and agricultural producers. The EPAs will therefore “bind” African states to an unequal economic relationship with EU members and ensure that the young sectors of agricultural processing and manufacturing collapse under the weight of tariff reductions (Langan, 2012). In the modern world, free trade policy is often implemented by mutual and formal agreement between the nations concerned. However, a free trade policy may simply be the absence of trade restrictions. Not surprisingly, financial markets see the other side of the coin. Free trade is an opportunity to open up another part of the world to domestic producers. Consider, for example, the framework recently developed by the United States to negotiate AGREEMENTS. In 2007, the Bush administration and Congress negotiated the 2007 bipartisan agreement, which establishes a framework for the treatment of workers in U.S. trade agreements. First, the bipartisan agreement states that labor standards must be included in any trade agreement negotiated with the United States. Second, the agreement stipulates that trade agreements must oblige parties to include in their national legislation the following five working principles set out in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: However, it is important to recognise that such commendable campaigns by African civil society and business leaders only partially mitigate the expected development impact of the EPA.

if there is no global change in policy direction – and if there is no recognition by the EU of the injustice of their trade agreements. It is therefore crucial that EU officials constantly remember their so-called promises to fight poverty in Africa when in contact with their African counterparts on the successor agreement to Cotonou. EU officials must be repeatedly urged to listen to persistent concerns that EPAs will affect Africa`s sustainable development prospects – and that their dialogues with civil society and Aid for Trade initiatives are woefully inadequate. Indeed, they must be asked to recognize that such initiatives cannot square the circle and cannot turn unfair trade agreements into development opportunities. However, it seems worrying that a comprehensive renegotiation of the EPAs is currently not on the table, as the European Commission (2017; 2018) stubbornly insists that its trade agreements are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. .