C07(b) - The Political Economy of Trade, Finance and FDI
Date: Jun 2 | Time: 03:15pm to 04:45pm | Location:
Chair/Président/Présidente : Erin Hannah (King's University College at Western University)
Co-Chair/Président/Présidente : Scott Fitzsimmons (University of Limerick)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Anastasia Ufimtseva (Balsillie School of International Affairs)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Scott Fitzsimmons (University of Limerick)
Trump & Trade: The Crisis in the Multilateral Trading System: Kristen Hopewell (University of Edinburgh)
Abstract: President Trump is widely seen as instigating a dramatic reversal of 70 years of US trade policy and abdicating the American hegemon’s traditional leadership role in the multilateral trading system. Trump is threatening to withdraw the US from the WTO, abandoning trade multilateralism for aggressive unilateral actions that are in blatant violation of WTO rules, and jeopardizing the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism by blocking appointments to its Appellate Body. Trump’s policies undoubtedly pose a profound threat to the trade regime and the stability of the global economy. In this paper, however, I argue that the recent shift in the US’s orientation towards the multilateral trading system cannot be attributed solely to the idiosyncrasies of the Trump administration or the rise of populist anti-trade sentiment. As I show, the crisis in the multilateral trading system predated Trump. The US turn away from the WTO – including abandoning multilateral trade negotiations and blocking appointments to the Appellate Body – originated prior to Trump, during the Bush and Obama Administrations. What we are witnessing is thus a deeper and more fundamental shift in the American hegemon’s orientation towards the multilateral trading system that is likely to outlast Trump’s presidency.
Exploiting the Gaps in Global Governance of FDI: How does the International Community Deal with Foreign Investment by SOEs?: Anastasia Ufimtseva (Simon Fraser University), Jing Li (Simon Fraser University)
Abstract: Regulation of foreign direct investment (FDI) became one of the most complex governance issues globally characterized by a multitude of governance arrangements. In the absence of an international organization focused solely on the regulation of FDI, states turned to international investment agreements and trade agreements with investment clauses. These agreements are central to the promotion and protection of FDI abroad as they created an informal regime to govern FDI flows globally. The current regime, designed by the advanced industrialized states in the aftermath of the second world war, is currently undergoing a rapid change in response to the emergence of a new type of investor – state-owned enterprise (SOE). In this paper, we examine how do international organizations adapt to the emergence of a new investor and what drives this adaptation? With a rise of FDI from SOEs, advanced industrialized states began to question the standards and protections for foreign investors embedded into the existing treaties. Over the past five years, the regulatory landscape began to shift with more provision emerging to deal with FDI by SOEs. These new regulatory provisions are creating a new mechanism for the governance of SOEs at different levels of governance. In this paper, we situate the temporal development of this budding regulatory regime and theorize about its emergence and future directions. By drawing on the literature from international organizations, international business, state capitalism, and world system theories, we propose that the new regulations will become more expansive over time to counterbalance the rise of SOEs.
How UN human rights actors influence international trade politics: Matias Margulis (University of Edinburgh)
Abstract: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is frequently criticized by international human rights advocates for failing to safeguard the interests of the poor and vulnerable, lock-in unfair trade rules that benefit rich countries and hurt poor ones, and for lacking transparency and popular participation. This paper examines how UN human rights actors have gone beyond criticism of the WTO and actually attempt to influence international trade rules. While UN human rights actors don’t have a formal seat at the table in WTO trade negotiations, I argue that they have developed new ways of channeling their moral and legal authority in an effort to directly alter outcomes at the WTO. I show this by drawing on the examples of efforts by UN High Commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) and Special Rapporteur on the right to food to insert themselves into the politics of WTO and how such efforts have resulted in human right-consistent trade policies to filter into trade negotiations.
Towards a Feminist Global Trade Politics: Erin Hannah (King's University College at the University of Western Ontario), Adrienne Roberts (University of Manchester), Silke Trommer (University of Manchester)
Abstract: This paper takes as its starting point the idea that trade is always and everywhere gendered: (1) The relations of production and social reproduction that underpin the production of goods and services are gendered; (2) the people who make the rules and the social norms regarding trade relations are gendered; (3) the ideas that drive the creation and application of trade rules are gendered; and (4) the impacts of trade are gendered, according to the gendered relations of production and social reproduction, and the rules, norms and ideas that uphold them. Our paper reflects on what it means for the global trading system to be redrawn along gender-equitable lines in a “post-neoliberal” era. Building on feminist readings of Polanyi, we argue that we need to better understand how both the ‘economic’ and ‘the social’ are imbued with hierarchies, and how these hierarchies are structurally related. In so doing, we argue that any process of ‘re-embedding’ trade in a gender-equitable way requires transformations within economic and social relations as much as a transformation of the relations between them.