News Selection – Globalisation
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Globalisation.
The African development model: clone of Asia?
31/1/2019: Labour-intensive export-led industrialisation worked for China, but Africa is not China. It must come up with its own strategies to reduce poverty.
Source: African Arguments
WTO chief is in denial over climate impact of trade
30/1/2019: Roberto Azevêdo, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, told a Davos audience that trade has no impact on the environment. Yet the WTO's own reports have highlighted links between increased trade and deforestation. Source: Climate Home News
Globalization 4.0 for Whom?
19/12/2018: The elites gathering in Davos next month have yet to acknowledge the need for a new approach to governing the global economy. The neoliberal model of race-to-the-bottom competition has resulted in rising inequality and political discontent. Source: Project Syndicate
Grappling with globalization 4.0
5/11/2018: The forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization, both of which demand new forms of governance to safeguard the public good. Source: Project Syndicate
German minister pushes for free trade deal ahead of Africa trip
22/8/2018: Germany’s development minister is promoting a "customs-free trade deal in Africa" ahead of his seven-nation Africa visit. Experts say the real issues are being ignored. Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: An academic's analysis of the disappointing volume of trade between Africa and Germany concludes that development aid and investment in export infrastructure is more important than terms of trade. He doesn't mention that this may already be happening through the knee-jerk European aid to countries which are sources of Mediterranean migration. This article includes telling statistics on the tiny share of German trade contributed by sub-Saharan Africa and the surprising dependence of Africa on food imports. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Solutions
EU-Africa free trade will create more imbalances, say critics
9/8/2018: Germany's development minister has sparked a debate by calling for EU tariffs to be waived on African goods. Critics question whether import duties are really the issue, or are there other barriers to trade? Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: A rare attempt in international media to discuss the abysmal level of trade between Africa and Europe. The article covers technical issues, not least the unfair scale of subsidies for European farmers. More important, however, is the prompt for the piece, a German minister recognising that the European migration crisis requires a structural solution through the rules of international trade and investment. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Solutions
Trade war – developing countries should respond
24/7/2018: The escalating trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump is a major threat to world trade and the global economy. The developing countries will be among those most affected. It is time for them to respond and speak out. Source: Inter Press Service
Tread Softly Comment: Martin Khor is a leading expert on world trade, from the perspective of developing countries. He explains why Trump's trade war with China, in defiance of the rules-based WTO regime, will have negative knock-on effects for countries with which the US has no quarrel. But his analysis considers only those developing countries which are already on the path to modern industrialisation, such as Malaysia and Thailand. A second article, focusing on the repercussions of a trade war for the Least Developed Countries, would be valuable. Relevant Briefing: International Development Model
Illegal production and use of banned CFC-11 in China
8/7/2018: Information obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) demonstrates conclusively that the use of CFC-11 in China is widespread and pervasive, sufficient to explain the emissions threatening the integrity of the Montreal Protocol. Source: Environmental Investigation Agency
Tread Softly Comment: Described by the EIA as an "environmental crime", this threat to the ozone layer posed by China's neglect represents a disturbing failure of international rules-based agreements. If a legally-binding agreement such as the Montreal Protocol can be ignored so fundamentally, what can we expect from the voluntary pledges of the Paris climate agreement? Relevant Briefing: Paris Climate Agreement
Developing countries defend world trade rules against Trump assault
1/6/2018: Trade rules brokered by the World Trade Organization include various concessions to poorer countries. The role of trade as a tool of development has often been forgotten in reaction to the Trump trade war and his demonisation of the WTO.
Fighting Inequality in Asia and the Pacific
15/5/2018: A senior UN official says that the remarkable economic success story of the Asia and Pacific region belies a widening gap between rich and poor. Inequality is preventing progress on almost all the Sustainable Development Goals in the region.