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Emerging Agenda For Global Trade

Emerging Agenda For Global Trade

High Stakes For Developing Countries

The authors show how international rules in new trade areas are needed and then consider the three highest profile issues: competition policy, labor standards, and linking trade and environment.

This essay addresses the "new-new" issues on the emerging agenda for the global trade negotiations to follow the recently concluded Uruguay Round. The authors first examine the extent to which international rules in new trade areas are needed and then consider the three highest profile issues: competition policy, labor standards, and linking trade and environment.

Robert Lawrence argues that if an international agreement on competition policy was possible, developing countries would derive considerable benefits. Dani Rodrik examines the evidence and concludes that labor standards—or lack thereof—have consequences for trade and foreign investment patterns. He then considers whether a social-safeguards approach can be made to work for labor standards and suggests that the risks of not negotiating such a clause outweigh the dangers of an inappropriately designed process. Finally, John Whalley argues that the central issue for trade and the environment is whether developing countries should be compensated for policies encouraging environmental restraint.