Write On! Call for Submissions: Summer ’17 Issue of Trade, Law and Development

Call for Submissions: Summer ’17

 The Board of Editors of Trade, Law and Development [TL&D] is pleased to invite original, unpublished manuscripts for publication in the Summer ‘17 Special Issue of the Journal on Recent Regionalism (Vol. 9, No. 1). The manuscripts may be in the form of Articles, Notes, Comments, and Book Reviews.

TL&D aims to generate and sustain a democratic debate on emerging issues in international economic law, with a special focus on the developing world. Towards these ends, we have published works by noted scholars such as Prof. Petros Mavroidis, Prof. Mitsuo Matsuhita, Prof. Raj Bhala, Prof. Joel Trachtman, Gabrielle Marceau, Simon Lester, Prof. Bryan Mercurio, Prof. E.U. Petersmann and Prof. M. Sornarajah among others.

TL&D also has the distinction of being ranked the best journal in India across all fields of law and the 10th best trade journal worldwide by Washington and Lee University, School of Law for five consecutive years (2011-15) [The Washington & Lee Rankings are considered to be the most comprehensive in this regard].

 

For more information, please go through the submission guidelines available at www.tradelawdevelopment.com or write to us at editors@tradelawdevelopment.com.

 

Last Date for Submissions: February 15, 2017

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Best and Worst Places for Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean

Women selling in market (IITA Image Library)

Women selling in market
(IITA Image Library)

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB/MIF) has issued a study which ranks Latin American and Caribbean countries based on risks to and support for women entrepreneurs. Highlights of the study presented in this slideshow rank the countries from first to twentieth place in this slideshow.

Jamaica, my country of origin, was ranked 20th. To persons who are familiar with the prevalence of women in all areas of Jamaican business and society, this low ranking will seem surprising. Women, for example, comprise 70% of the country’s university students and 50% of its workforce; they occupy management positions at various levels of society, including a female Prime Minister who is serving for the second time.

So, if visibility of women is not enough to secure top ranking, what are the other factors that the study authors considered? I have divided them into three categories:

Category 1: Societal Conditions

  • Overall strength of the economy, as measured by fiscal conditions, level of investor confidence,
  • Political factors, such as degree of political and institutional stability and the presence of good governance
  • Degree of corruption

Category 2: Support for Micro & Small Entrepreneurs

The majority of women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean (indeed developing and emerging countries as a whole) operate micro and small to medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and so the availability of the following factors can play a huge role in determining success:

  • Ability of MSMEs to access credit
  • Access to technology and to technical support by MSMEs
  • Favorability of tax rates for MSMEs
  • Legal structure supporting MSMEs
  • Costs of starting and expanding a business

Category 3: Support for Women in Business

The following factors can speak volumes about the level of support that exists for women entrepreneurs:

  • Extent of access to business associations and enterprises
  • Levels of female enrolment in vocational programs
  • Extent of crime and security risks
  • Extension of property rights to women
  • Access to and/or level of spending on social services, i.e. child support and for taking care of the elderly

While a country need not have all of these factors in place to be ranked highly as a good place for women entrepreneurs, it must be able to provide evidence of societal support across all three categories. This was clearly evident in Chile, which ranked #1 for the following reasons: (1) good fiscal conditions, political and institutional stability, strong investor confidence, and perceptions of good governance; (2)  high access to technology; and (3) good security conditions and adequate access to social services.

Cultural Disconnect in Trade Negotiations

The June, 2013 G-8 Summit began with the announcement of the launch of negotiations between the United States and the European Union to conclude a Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, or TTIP. The first round of negotiations concluded in Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2013.

At first glance it seems a very obvious thing to do. Already, trade between these two transatlantic giants accounts for about half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and nearly one-third of world trade flows.  Furthermore, as the biggest proponents of trade liberalization and open economies, EU and U.S. goods already enjoy very low tariffs upon entering each other’s markets. In other words, there is already a lot of trade happening between these two.

But, wait a minute! Why then is a trade agreement being negotiated?

Most of the benefit from a concluded TTIP is expected to come from removing or reducing regulatory barriers to trade – called non-tariff barriers or NTBs. Given the amount of trade already happening, the different regulations and standards on either side of the Atlantic Ocean create increased costs for businesses. Companies doing business in Europe and the United States face two or more sets of product approval processes, consumer safety standards, and inspection requirements. One anticipated outcome of the TTIP negotiations, then, are common standards or mutual recognition of each other’s regulatory requirements. Companies doing business on both sides of the Atlantic would then need to comply with only one set of standards and requirements.

US flag (courtesy of wikipedia)

US flag (courtesy of wikipedia)

At the same time, there is wide acknowledgement that this is not going to be as simple as it sounds. Arguably, there are some key areas in which regulations and standards differ for cultural reasons which may be difficult to overcome.

Food Standards: While genetically-modified or genetically-engineered foods (GMOs for short) are very much a part of the US agricultural and food landscape, European citizens have resisted the introduction of

EU flag (courtesy of wikipedia)

EU flag (courtesy of wikipedia)

“frankenfoods” into their food supply. The US sees the negotiations as an opportunity to revisit this issue. However, the European Commission —  the EU’s executive arm and negotiating party in these talks, has said that:

Basic laws, like those relating to GMOs or which are there to protect human life and health, animal health and welfare, or environment and consumer interests will not be part of the negotiations.

Buy American Act provisions: Legislation passed in 1913 restricts the purchase of non-US goods and services by the US Government. Need I say more?

Privacy: EU laws place a much higher value on protecting the privacy of European citizens. This interesting article by NBC news explains. This difference helps to explain why the negotiations almost broke down before they could even get started over revelations of the National Security Agency (NSA) spying activities. “US must justify why they treat us like enemies” said Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, in a Facebook interview.

 Copyright & Culture: The European Parliament is the EU’s directly-elected legislative body. It has issued its position paper on the US-EU negotiations, which included the request that cultural and audiovisual services be excluded from the negotiations.

Citizen Concerns: On both sides of the Atlantic, citizens have expressed concerns that “common standards” could actually mean a dilution of the national standards for which they have fought so hard.

Some of this disconnect even extends to the name. What the U.S. has dubbed the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership or TTIP, Europeans have preferred to call the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, or TAFTA.

These differences in cultural values help to explain why trade negotiations are so difficult. They are about more than reducing tariffs. As negotiators discuss the dry issues of regulations and standards they bring to the table cultural perspectives that they will have to work hard to first understand, then resolve.