The Development of Global Justice and Sustainable Development Principles in the WTO Multilateral Trading System Through the Lens of Non-Trade Concerns: An Appraisal on China's Progress
in Paolo Davide Farah, Elena Cima (editors), CHINA’S INFLUENCE ON NON-TRADE CONCERNS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW, Global Law and Sustainable Development Book Series, Routledge Publishing (New-York/London), ISBN 978-1-4094-4848-8, September 2016, pp. 10–58
48 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2016 Last revised: 20 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 26, 2016
The ongoing economic instability in several countries and regions throughout the world, along with the volatility of the market and job losses, has lead to an increase in protests that are currently reaching the highest possible levels of conflict against the so-called establishment. Additionally, the growing of political discourse and public opinion regarding the migration crisis and the global fight against terrorism are also providing momentum to some relevant segments of this variegated civil society movements which have continued to express dismay and anger towards human, social, and environmental consequences of the global expansion of world trade and of the monetary and commercial translation of all interpersonal transactions.
Majority votes favoring Brexit and other political turmoil happening around European countries, in the United States, and in different parts of the world are just some of the most critical examples on how the existing systems are failing. Specifically, global governance and law with borderless globalization are to blame for the inability to find appropriate solutions to face the challenges of a constantly changing society. Unfortunately, this inability creates a risk that leaves behind an increasing part of the population who are unable to benefit from such globalization.
The related fear of the people toward the risks of a world without barriers are very real and concrete. Additionally, the proposed solutions to face these problems are certainly influenced by the negative visions on globalization and liberalism, which neglect to take into account the positive effects of the free trade and liberalization of the markets. For example, more and more political leaders are trying to use this discontent among the society for obtaining an easy consensus, without truly having a real program to improve the life of the people. More importantly, without endorsing the intrinsic dangers, a strong shift back towards nationalism might come to fruition in the long-term as a result.
Democratic legitimacy and social justice based on human rights principles should be used as the regulatory framework to structure global expansion of economic welfare as well as WTO rules However, the difficulty and limit of this approach lies in the fact that it affirms both that human rights should guide the process of global legal integration and that the WTO should implement such process. Suggesting that WTO law guarantees respect for fundamental human rights implies a refusal to evaluate the practices of organizations such as the WTO itself and the IMF.
The following section of this chapter examines the particularities of China at a crossroads between the “Right to Development” and “NTCs,” given that China still seeks to grow its economy and expand industry to bring millions of more people out of poverty. Simultaneously, it plays an essential role (together with other BRICS countries) in creating a model to “develop” sustainably, with a view towards tackling climate change, avoiding the increasing environmental risks and damages, and balancing the attractions of foreign investments with labor rights, human rights, and public health.
The subsequent section titled “Non-Trade Concerns status in the WTO multilateral system” develops a non-exhaustive overview and explores the integration of NTCs in the WTO. In particular, the interplay between environment and trade25 is examined and the prospects for the new acceding Members, taking China as a case study and its accession to the WTO in 2001, the change in the attitude of the WTO DSB while ranking public health issues over trade, the relations between food security and international trade regulations, the difficult balance of the right to access essential medicines and the protection of their IPRs, the respect of other human rights in the multilateral trading system, and the relations between cultural products and public morals.
Keywords: Global Justice, Sustainable Development, International Economic Law, WTO, Environment, Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Energy, Natural Resources, Human Rights, Right to Water, Labour Rights, Social Rights, Economic Rights, Food Security, Public Health, Cultural Products, Cultural Rights
JEL Classification: Q40, Q48, Q50, Q56, Q58, Q34, Q37, Q32, Q23, Q24, Q25, Q27, K33, K32, Q17, Q18
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