Stories written by Aileen Kwa
Aileen Kwa is the coordinator of the Trade for Development Programme, South Centre, Geneva.

Global Value Chains from a Development Perspective

The current discourse on Global Value Chains by key proponents and also the World Trade Organisation (WTO) secretariat is that developing countries should liberalise - in goods and services - and conclude a trade facilitation agreement.


Given the way the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations have been based on the requirement for reciprocal market opening with the European Union (EU), they are likely to bring more losses than gains for Africa and make the path to development even more difficult than it already is. For this reason, the South Centre recommends an alternative approach.


The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) being negotiated between the European Union and African countries are likely to exacerbate the food import surges from Europe.

TRADE: ''Doha Collapse Won't Mean Suffering for The Poor''

At the heart of the collapse of the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round last week are the different opinions on liberalisation and its relation to development. Developed countries promote the idea that liberalisation will bring about development and thus that the failure of the Round constitutes a blow for the poor.

TRADE-AFRICA: Safeguards for Small Farmers Straw That Broke Doha

Safeguards to protect small farmers’ livelihoods in African and other developing states, as opposed to subsidies for commercial agricultural interests in rich countries, remained an insurmountable obstacle in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks, leading the Doha Round to collapse last week.

TRADE: U.S. Farm Subsidies May Survive WTO Doha Round

Delegates at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) disagree with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy’s view that the negotiations on trade in agricultural products are ‘‘nearly there’’.

TRADE: WTO Delegates Following Talks Through News Media

As closed-door meetings proceed between selected countries, other member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have resorted to following media reports in an attempt to stay abreast with the current Doha Round of negotiations on agriculture and industrial goods.

DEVELOPMENT: Food Crisis an Opportunity to Rethink Policy

Southern governments have stressed the need for developing countries to use the food crisis as an opportunity to rethink development strategies and to put in place policies that support agricultural development.

TRADE: Nigeria ‘‘Threatens’’ Neighbours in Wake of Bilateral EPAs

West African states are working at salvaging regional relations with a renewed attempt to collectively negotiate an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

TRADE-WEST AFRICA: Nigeria Is Out to Protect Its Industries

Nigeria took a strong stance on determining its own economic development recently when it rejected an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union. The country has also adopted a different approach towards its neighbours regarding protection for its nascent industries.

DEVELOPMENT: Licensed to Plunder

Metals and mineral mining have been notorious for the "resource curse" they have inflicted on the communities who live where they are mined. Today, as prices are high, the appetites of these mining companies are on the increase.

DEVELOPMENT: U.S. Might Just Choke the WHO

As the 61st annual World Health Assembly gathers in Geneva this week, a major issue that the world's governments are struggling with is patents on medicines, and whether the option to digress from a strict patent system should be endorsed by the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO).

DEVELOPMENT: More Fears Rise Around Doha Deal

As WTO negotiations pick up this week, some developing countries are in growing doubt that a deal liberalising their economies further could help them cope with the food crisis.

TRADE-AFRICA: EPA Threatens to Tear Apart Oldest Customs Union

The fate of the world’s oldest customs union, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), is hanging in the balance as a result of the economic partnership agreements that most SACU countries have signed with the European Union (EU).

Food market in Londrina, Brazil. Credit: Gerson Sobreira

DEVELOPMENT: Food Crisis Symptom of Dubious Liberalisation

The high food prices that have sparked riots in many parts of the developing world - from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Haiti - should come as no surprise. These are only the latest in a series of events many developing countries have suffered as a result of opening their borders and neglecting domestic agriculture.

DEVELOPMENT: Food Crisis Linked to Doha Deal

The issue of rising food prices was raised at the WTO's General Council meeting Wednesday, and for the first time, discussed in some detail. But there remains, as one African delegate put it, "a lot of confusion about the rising prices of commodities and the Doha Round. Somebody needs to demystify the links. The D-G (Director-General) is using this as a bait to catch us on concluding the Round as soon as possible."

TRADE: Rising Food Prices Could Affect WTO Talks

The rising food and fuel prices, with related social destabilisation, may necessitate a ‘‘course correction’’ in the liberalisation talks on industrial goods and agriculture, the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations told World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy at the end of last week.

TRADE: Lamy Pushes Ahead With Services Liberalisation

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy announced at the end of last week that there will be a limited ministerial ‘‘signalling’’ conference on services trade chaired by himself.

TRADE-AFRICA: Agriculture Talks Stuck on Import Surge Safeguard

The Group of 33 developing countries has denounced the draft text on the special safeguard mechanism in the current Doha Development Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks as ‘‘extremely inadequate... stringent, restrictive, burdensome (and) ineffective’’.

TRADE-AFRICA: Why Food Import Surges Are an Issue at The WTO

Food import surges have had devastating consequences for the rural poor and local economies in Africa. Such surges have taken place with alarming frequency in the past decade or two.

TRADE-AFRICA: Make or Break for WTO Doha Round

The World Trade Organisation’s beleaguered Doha Round could either be wrapped up in the next two to three months or be stalled for an indefinite period of time.

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