Workshop - UNU-WIDER and UNU-CRIS International Workshop on South-South and North-South Trade Agreements

Compatibility Issues

UNU-WIDER and UNU-CRIS International Workshop on South-South and North-South Trade Agreements: Compatibility Issues

South-South reciprocal trade agreements continue to surge in popularity despite arguments that they are a sub-optimal trade choice relative to North-South agreements or non-discriminatory trade liberalization. S-S agreements include both new agreements as well as efforts to revive or re-design ‘old’ integration schemes by widening their scope and ‘deepening’ the integration processes. At the same time, Northern countries and regional arrangements, most notably the EU, are seeking to form trade agreements between themselves and existing South-South blocks or individual countries.

The development implications of forming S-S and N-S agreements are not yet fully understood. In addition, the legal implications of the co-existence of both types of agreements are unclear, both from a WTO and regional perspective. 

This workshop seeks to address, within the context of a broader concern about the development potential of S-S agreements, the compatibility issues of N-S and S-S agreements, both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective.

Some of the specific issues to be considered are:

  • Are S-S and N-S agreements driven by similar or different economic and/or political logics?
  • Are S-S and N-S trade negotiations linked to other agendas (Doha Round, foreign investment, political alliance building, security issues, energy, climate, etc)?
  • Do N-S agreements obstruct or encourage the ‘deepening’ of S-S economic integration?
  • How should WTO rules on PTAs be adjusted?
  • What is the role and impact of European policies to support S-S integration in ACP regions and elsewhere?
  • What are the implications of the existence of overlapping S-S integration schemes for N-S negotiations?
  • Have South-South treaties successfully increased bargaining positions in the EPA negotiations, other N-S negotiation processes, and the WTO?
  • How are legal incompatibilities between the regulatory contents of N-S and S-S agreements solved in practise?
  • Do S-S agreements prepare firms for global (N-S) competition? (micro-evidence)

This workshop is part of a larger collaborative project between UNU-CRIS and UNU-WIDER on "South-South Regional Integration, Economic Partnerships and Development."