The Southern African States are encouraged to continue with their laudable efforts of implementing transparency measures. They should strive to meet the implementation deadlines that they have set for themselves. They should seek assistance to mitigate any capacity constraints that are preventing them from making necessary reforms. Fortunately both the TFA and the AfCFTA recognise the importance of special and differential treatment (S&DT) and technical assistance to improve prospects of compliance. This gives some assurance that members will continue to achieve greater success in improving transparency going forward.
Special and Differential Treatment
Although the S&DT provisions relating to disputes involving LDC parties and the current state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism provided by the Agreement may seem comparatively more balanced than the mechanism of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), nonetheless, the real extent of the effectiveness and advantages of the mechanism for the LDC parties cannot yet be inferred,
This blog post focuses on the Agreement for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the implications for the evolution of lex mercatoria in Africa. This blog post is primarily based on a recent paper by Chisa Onyejekwe and Eghosa Ekhator titled ‘AfCFTA and Lex Mercatoria: Reconceptualizing International Trade Law in Africa’. The paper argues that some of the major innovations embedded in the AfCFTA (such as variable geometry and dispute settlement amongst others) form the crux of an emerging African practice of lex mercatoria. Consequently, the creation of AfCFTA has engendered what can be termed as an emerging concept of ‘Lex Mercatoria Africana’. In the context of the AfCFTA, this is exemplified by the notion that the AfCFTA explicitly promotes African trade principles.
This article will briefly examine this dynamic across three interconnected dimensions: (1) flexibility and innovation in IEL agreement models, with a focus on trade agreements, that better integrate economic and social development goals and allow parties to adapt to new circumstances or phase in commitments on a more incremental basis; (2) flexibility in implementation of trade disciplines and agreements; and (3) legal and regulatory innovation that can both define and flow from IEL agreements. These three dimensions take into account both treaties themselves and how they relate to changes in law and regulation in practice, drawing a link between international agreements and their operation that is particularly important in times of change or uncertainty. In assessing dimension three, legal and regulatory innovation, which has been a focus of my work over the past decade,
While investment is not per se a current focus of our TVI, this present article discusses vulnerability concerns in an investment context utilising Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States as the point of departure. It concludes by discussing the ways these countries have sought and could seek to build resilience.
COVID-19 generated a new buzz around our work and renewed interest in the study of vulnerability. Since then, we have reappraised our initial piece, with the intention of moving beyond its conceptual foundations toward a more practical and concrete application of the work. We realized however, that for many, there is curiosity around the TVI project, and ultimately what we are trying to achieve through it. In this reflective piece, we present briefly the TVI in a nutshell – its aims, methodology and conceptual premises – and then provide initial thoughts on the way forward under our TVI project.
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.
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.
Currently, the world finds itself at a crisis point. The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live, how we run our economies and even, how we teach and research IEL. In the post-COVID world, old rules and games may not apply any more. The scholarly interventions presented in the IEL Collective symposia offers tools for a new, pragmatic internationalism – one based on critical reflection, methodological diversity and contributes towards the development of a more holistic landscape of scholarship on law and the governance of the global economy.
The opening quote taken from the G20 Ministerial Statement is a welcome acknowledgment by the most powerful that some countries and citizens lay greater claim to the title of “vulnerable” than others. However, it is not enough. Prime Minister Mottley’s clarion call for global leadership in this area and application of the vulnerability index is one we have wholeheartedly embraced. Through our TVI, we are proposing tangible and effective ways to cater to the patent vulnerabilities of countries in regions like the Caribbean and Africa.