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Edited by Paul Nihoul and Pieter Van Cleynenbreugel
Edited by Tana Pistorius
The emergence of China’s indigenous standards has raised concerns within the trade community. Focusing on the compatibility of such Chinese-made standards with the WTO laws, existing legal literature seem to see China’s indigenous standards as being oriented towards ‘techno-nationalism’, thereby posing a credible threat to international economic order. By revisiting the case of the WAPI, one of the most (in)famous Chinese indigenous standards in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry, this chapter contends that the threat of China’s indigenous standards policy to the global trading system may be less serious than some had thought because of the contextual factors and new rules introduced through trade and investment laws in the era of megaregionalism.
Although WTO law has foreclosed the use of traditional industrial policy instruments for technology exports, this chapter argues that a new set of instruments are emerging as vital to the competition between countries for technology-related global value chains. It highlights three such instruments: export policies, technology transfer policies, and investment reviews. Together, these tools are influencing the contours of competition between firms along value chains. This chapter then examines how mega-RTAs and other treaties seek to further discipline the use of such instruments, suggesting that further law is likely to develop to constrain government action regardless of whether mega-RTAs come to fruition.
Free trade negotiations oftentimes raise concerns over food and product safety. The issue arises as to whether a new agreement involves provisions that require parties to adopt laxer criteria in their national laws, standards, or labelling requirements related to food and product safety. For instance, in Japan, consumers were concerned that Japan’s food additive regulation or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) labelling requirements might be changed in response to the US demands during the TPP negotiations. Such consumers’ concerns were also a sensitive issue for the government of Japan before the negotiations and after the conclusion. This chapter analyzes the TPP provisions relating to food and product safety. Primarily, the TPP’s Chapters on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) are concerned with such topics. Previous Free Trade Agreements also contain TBT/SPS Chapters. Whether these Chapters include any WTO-plus provision has been examined by researchers. At the same time, the TPP Agreement includes specific product provisions, relating to products such as GMOs, used and remanufactured goods, motor vehicles, cosmetics, organic products, or food additives, in other parts of the Agreement (the Market Access Chapter, Chapter Annexes, or bilateral side-letters). These various product-specific provisions are a unique characteristic of the TPP Agreement, reflecting trade interests and concerns of exporting parties. This chapter also addresses these specific provisions, as well as the TBT/SPS Chapters, and analyzes how the provisions affect food and product safety of the TPP parties. The chapter concludes that the product-specific provisions, as well as the TBT/SPS Chapters, do not impact national safety standards substantively. Rather, these provisions encourage and promote cooperation, the exchange of information, and transparency of national measures.