Although the use of the plural on ‘provisions’, in the Transparency Mechanism could also be interpreted as meaning notification under GATT Article XXIV (for RTAs in goods) and GATS Article V (for RTAs in services) only, it remains an open question. Consequently, notification of the Protocol on Trade in Goods of the AfCFTA under both routes (GATT Article XXIV and Enabling Clause) would come as no surprise despite the dubious legality of such a practice.
Multilateral Trading System
Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for deep integration, aiming at liberalizing trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition and e-commerce, and to guarantee that compliance schedules are absolute results of negotiated arrangements among African countries as opposed to the superintendence and policing of the WTO, this essay suggests that a Full Agreement pathway to notification should be considered.
Traditional medicines have an equally important role as vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices protected through classical IPRs such as patents. For this reason, it is important to include traditional medicines within the scope of IPR protection, including within the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement. Doing so would go beyond the classical debate of protecting medicines, vaccines and therapeutics mainly through patents as currently understood within the TRIPS Agreement.
The aim of this piece is to contribute to the evolving debate around the AfCFTA and its relationship with the WTO. It considers whether the practice of African RTAs to rely on the Enabling Clause since 1979 should be replicated. Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for a deep integration, aiming at liberalising trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition, etc, the Enabling Clause appears as a second-best option.
To the extent that measures taken to combat Covid-19 intersect with existing trade and investment obligations for countries in the global south, and reveals the embedded tensions, we wonder whether regional governance can or should serve as a framework to create equitable and just South-South cooperation, especially in times of crises. Regional and sub-regional organisations, if operationalised effectively, have the capabilities to pool together the financial, human, and intellectual resources that will be needed to identify interventions and responses to measures that threaten the foundations of solidarity, self-reliance and equality underpinning South-South relations.
The world of commerce after this pandemic will change significantly and controlled by those countries and blocs whose industries, research, trade and technology are robustly resourced and positioned to take advantage of the new market of knowledge, utilities and essential commodities of life. Access to trade finance is predicted to be the fundamental contrasting issue between developed and developing countries. Trade facilitation to move value-added products and services more efficiently across borders to other parts of the world must inform the thinking and planning of governments in the short and medium-term.
It is hoped that the Covid-19 pandemic will be a wake-up call for Africa. And Africa needs to minimize reliance on Aid as this experience clearly shows that donors will only donate if they are not in the same situation as the recipient.
Supporting moot court competition through funding initiatives is one way to offer support. Another way is to offer knowledge and expertise on substantive law as well as presentation skills.
The conference is organised by the Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network of the Society of International Economic Law (PEPA/SIEL) in collaboration with the International Law Forum and other sponsors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. SIEL’s Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network (PEPA/SIEL) is, among other things, interested in fostering collaboration and mentoring opportunities for emerging academics and professionals in International Economic Law (IEL). PEPA/SIEL fulfils these goals through various activities such as organising conferences at which emerging IEL academics and professionals can present and discuss their research in a supportive and welcoming environment.
We are pleased to announce that the 9th PEPA/SIEL conference will take place on 17-19 May 2020 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law, in Jerusalem.