Abstract

The ongoing economic instability in several countries and regions throughout the world, along with the volatility of the market and job losses, has lead to an increase in protests that are currently reaching the highest possible levels of conflict against the so-called establishment. Additionally, the growing of political discourse and public opinion regarding the migration crisis and the global fight against terrorism are also providing momentum to some relevant segments of this variegated civil society movements which have continued to express dismay and anger towards human, social, and environmental consequences of the global expansion of world trade and of the monetary and commercial translation of all interpersonal transactions. Majority votes favoring Brexit and other political turmoil happening around European countries, in the United States, and in different parts of the world are just some of the most critical examples on how the existing systems are failing. Specifically, global governance and law with borderless globalization are to blame for the inability to find appropriate solutions to face the challenges of a constantly changing society. Unfortunately, this inability creates a risk that leaves behind an increasing part of the population who are unable to benefit from such globalization. The related fear of the people toward the risks of a world without barriers are very real and concrete. Additionally, the proposed solutions to face these problems are certainly influenced by the negative visions on globalization and liberalism, which neglect to take into account the positive effects of the free trade and liberalization of the markets. For example, more and more political leaders are trying to use this discontent among the society for obtaining an easy consensus, without truly having a real program to improve the life of the people. More importantly, without endorsing the intrinsic dangers, a strong shift back towards nationalism might come to fruition in the long-term as a result. Democratic legitimacy and social justice based on human rights principles should be used as the regulatory framework to structure global expansion of economic welfare as well as WTO rules However, the difficulty and limit of this approach lies in the fact that it affirms both that human rights should guide the process of global legal integration and that the WTO should implement such process. Suggesting that WTO law guarantees respect for fundamental human rights implies a refusal to evaluate the practices of organizations such as the WTO itself and the IMF. The following section of this chapter examines the particularities of China at a crossroads between the “Right to Development” and “NTCs,” given that China still seeks to grow its economy and expand industry to bring millions of more people out of poverty. Simultaneously, it plays an essential role (together with other BRICS countries) in creating a model to “develop” sustainably, with a view towards tackling climate change, avoiding the increasing environmental risks and damages, and balancing the attractions of foreign investments with labor rights, human rights, and public health. The subsequent section titled “Non-Trade Concerns status in the WTO multilateral system” develops a non-exhaustive overview and explores the integration of NTCs in the WTO. In particular, the interplay between environment and trade25 is examined and the prospects for the new acceding Members, taking China as a case study and its accession to the WTO in 2001, the change in the attitude of the WTO DSB while ranking public health issues over trade, the relations between food security and international trade regulations, the difficult balance of the right to access essential medicines and the protection of their IPRs, the respect of other human rights in the multilateral trading system, and the relations between cultural products and public morals.
Full Paper
Paolo Davide Farah
Founder, President and Director

Summary

The ongoing economic instability in several countries and regions throughout the world, along with the volatility of the market and job losses, has lead to an increase in protests that are currently reaching the highest possible levels of conflict against the so-called establishment. Additionally, the growing of political discourse and public opinion regarding the migration crisis and the global fight against terrorism are also providing momentum to some relevant segments of this variegated civil society movements which have continued to express dismay and anger towards human, social, and environmental consequences of the global expansion of world trade and of the monetary and commercial translation of all interpersonal transactions. Majority votes favoring Brexit and other political turmoil happening around European countries, in the United States, and in different parts of the world are just some of the most critical examples on how the existing systems are failing. Specifically, global governance and law with borderless globalization are to blame for the inability to find appropriate solutions to face the challenges of a constantly changing society. Unfortunately, this inability creates a risk that leaves behind an increasing part of the population who are unable to benefit from such globalization. The related fear of the people toward the risks of a world without barriers are very real and concrete. Additionally, the proposed solutions to face these problems are certainly influenced by the negative visions on globalization and liberalism, which neglect to take into account the positive effects of the free trade and liberalization of the markets. For example, more and more political leaders are trying to use this discontent among the society for obtaining an easy consensus, without truly having a real program to improve the life of the people. More importantly, without endorsing the intrinsic dangers, a strong shift back towards nationalism might come to fruition in the long-term as a result. Democratic legitimacy and social justice based on human rights principles should be used as the regulatory framework to structure global expansion of economic welfare as well as WTO rules However, the difficulty and limit of this approach lies in the fact that it affirms both that human rights should guide the process of global legal integration and that the WTO should implement such process. Suggesting that WTO law guarantees respect for fundamental human rights implies a refusal to evaluate the practices of organizations such as the WTO itself and the IMF. The following section of this chapter examines the particularities of China at a crossroads between the “Right to Development” and “NTCs,” given that China still seeks to grow its economy and expand industry to bring millions of more people out of poverty. Simultaneously, it plays an essential role (together with other BRICS countries) in creating a model to “develop” sustainably, with a view towards tackling climate change, avoiding the increasing environmental risks and damages, and balancing the attractions of foreign investments with labor rights, human rights, and public health. The subsequent section titled “Non-Trade Concerns status in the WTO multilateral system” develops a non-exhaustive overview and explores the integration of NTCs in the WTO. In particular, the interplay between environment and trade25 is examined and the prospects for the new acceding Members, taking China as a case study and its accession to the WTO in 2001, the change in the attitude of the WTO DSB while ranking public health issues over trade, the relations between food security and international trade regulations, the difficult balance of the right to access essential medicines and the protection of their IPRs, the respect of other human rights in the multilateral trading system, and the relations between cultural products and public morals.

glawcal comments

articles

Our concerns

The growth in green energy investments worldwide is an important reality and rising trends are to be expected in the future. When designing the proper policy agenda for renewable energy investments, we must take into consideration the legal, regulatory and political frameworks in both developing and developed countries. gLAWcal aims at analyzing national approaches on the matter, combining scientific, social and economic considerations. At the same time, it wishes to develop partnerships among European and non-European institutions, so as to deliver an integrated approach on sustainable energy investments, combining global and local perspectives.
The need to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights by right holders or the resort to practices which unreasonably restrain trade or adversely affect the international transfer of technology are topical issues that affects international relations. It is crucial for developing countries to achieve a substantive degree of IPR protection, not only for the promotion of creativity and innovation, but also for the maximization of technology transfer from developed countries. gLAWcal examines IPR regimes and their impact on competition with the objective of providing a better understanding of the competition-dimension of IP rights. Intellectual property rights are also extremely crucial to sustainable development in manifold ways, from the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural products, to access to essential medicines. Our organization focuses on the policy frameworks and institutions shaping debate and policy development in this sector.
In the last fifteen years, all around the world there has been a tendency to put much hope in the rise of civil society, its emergence being welcomed as a sign of progress towards a more democratic system. Many places in the world are today laboratories for change thanks to bottom-up movements supported by civil society organizations. By looking at contentious politics and how they converge and interact with institutional politics, we can better understand what directions a country’s political system and its governance is taking. gLAWcal supports collective forms of actions aimed at the creation of better societies, on many social issues, and in various geographical areas.
Improvements in people’s economic wellbeing have increased citizen demands for a cleaner environment. As societies undergo the transition to industrial development and modernity, their citizens begin to concern themselves with needs and wants beyond the material, including the protection of the environment. However, growing levels of environmental consciousness and awareness are often not matched by proper environmental legislation enforcement at the local level. gLAWcal looks at environmental rights developments in developing countries, and aims at delivering policy advices and capacity building support in areas where law implementation is lacking. With this purpose, our organization seeks to improve environmental protection not only for the benefit of the populations directly affected, but also for the sake of the entire planet.
Globalization, and the consequent international exchange of goods, services, cultures, ideas, has brought increased wealth for many on the one hand, while exerting pressure on core societal values both in developed and developing countries on the other hand. Public opinion and policy makers have warned against the threat posed by international trade and liberalization to policies and measures meant to protect the so-called non-trade concerns (NTC), such as environmental protection, sustainable development, good governance, cultural rights, labour rights, public health, social welfare, national security, food safety, access to knowledge, consumer interests and animal welfare.When trying to protect these issues, developed countries have put into place trade measures that have encountered resistance or dissent in developing countries, being perceived as protectionist actions or as an attempt by the importing countries to impose their social, ethical and cultural values on exporting countries.The challenge of integrating Non-Trade Concerns embodies the willingness to overcome national egoisms and embrace universally a number of fundamental values, creating an ethical and juridical platform to win over cultural differences and issues of national sovereignty. gLAWcal’s research aims at identifying ways to protect NTC within international economic law. By shedding new light on developing countries’ trends towards inclusion of NTC in the domestic and international arena, gLAWcal provides a comprehensive perspective on law enforcement, creating a bridge between the international and the domestic realities.

Our events