The Prospector

WEEKLY INSIGHTS: TUESDAY, 7 NOVEMBER 2017

November 7, 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Raja Mohan highlights the possible benefits of engaging Europe in the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral dialogue. Image credit – nstanev / depositphotos

ASIA COMMENTARY

 

New Equations in Indo-Pacific, The Indian Express, by C. Raja Mohan, Director at Carnegie India

“[J]apan’s plans to bring France and Britain on board the quad can only reinforce India’s maritime partnership with Europe.

  • C. Raja Mohan highlights the potential benefits of including European states in the quadrilateral security dialogue (the ‘quad’) among Japan, India, Australia and the US.
    • Japan is seeking to revive the quad and to bring European states like France and the UK into its fold.
      • Mohan argues that China’s growing influence in Asia cannot be balanced by US-Asia alliances alone.
    • European states are well-resourced to contribute to the quad.
      • France and the UK have established networks of political and military influence in the region and Indo-Pacific states are a market for the European arms industry.
    • India could also benefit from including European states in the quad.
      • To be more effective in the Indian Ocean, India needs to elevate its current bilateral cooperation with individual European countries to a strategic framework, like the quadrilateral dialogue.

GLOBAL COMMENTARY

 

An Opportunity for the WTOProject Syndicate, by Hector R. Torres, Senior Fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s International Law Research Program

“[The Ministerial Conference] should serve as a critical opportunity to initiate the update and recalibration that the WTO needs to remain an effective platform for international trade cooperation.”

  • Hector Torres outlines issues that ministerial leaders should address at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires this December.
    • First, the ministers should discuss criteria to determine when a WTO member no longer qualifies for ‘special and differential treatment’ (a category that allows some members to maintain trade tariffs for longer periods of time than others).
      • Many members have declared themselves developing countries to obtain ‘special and differential treatment’ and none has graduated from this despite achieving economic growth.
    • Second, the leaders should explore new methods for consensus-building. Currently, members interpret the WTO’s emphasis on consensus as “an unlimited veto power” to block discussion and resolutions.
      • The WTO could adopt methods like “Indaba.” Indaba was used to negotiate the Paris Agreement, where members could withhold consent, but only if they presented alternatives.
    • Finally, Ministers should consider establishing supervisory bodies to evaluate the WTO’s effectiveness and implement reforms. This would help maintain the WTO’s relevance in the changing global order.

Written by Malinda Meegoda and edited by Anishka De Zylva.

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