31 January 2018

TradeLab student presention in Buenos Aires

Two students from the Graduate Institute had the opportunity to present their research in Buenos Aires at the Think Conference, an academic meeting held alongside the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in December 2017.

The students, Olayinka Oladeji (MIL ’19) and Vincent Beyer (PhD ’21) presented a Policy Brief on ‘What holds back African LDC Exports?: Translating Global Trade Alert Data into a Positive Trade Agenda for Africa’. The Policy Brief, authored together with Pamela Anne Bayona (MIE ’18), was based on research conducted as part of their work for the TradeLab International Economic Law Clinic offered as a course at the Graduate Institute.  The full research is published as a CTEI Working Paper.

Conducted for the African Union, the research discusses trade distortive measures affecting exports from least-developed countries of the African Union.  The Policy Brief and the opportunity to present in Beunos Aires was supported by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through an award to the Institute’s Centre for Trade and Economic Integration (CTEI).

“Being at the Think Conference to present the work that we did for the African Union was a fantastic opportunity”, said Vincent Beyer. “We are grateful to the conference organisers for having included us in this high-level event.  It was extremely interesting to exchange ideas with trade practitioners and academics from all over the world.”

The research makes a legal assessment of the economic information collected by Global Trade Alert, a database that collects information on trade-discriminatory measures implemented by countries worldwide. Global Trade Alert was developed by Simon Evenett, Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St Gallen, who also served as an academic advisor for the student team working on the African Union TradeLab project.  One of the key findings is that tax-based incentives in some countries have the effect of subsidies and may adversely affect African exports

Tradelab, a Geneva-based NGO, connects students and experienced legal professionals to public officials especially in developing countries, small and medium-sized enterprises and civil society through pro bono legal clinics and practica, to reap the full development benefits of global trade and investment rules.  Joost Pauwelyn, Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute guided the three students in his capacity as the academic supervisor of the clinic project.

Partnering Institutions

The Think Conference, the full title of which is “Thinking about a Global Trade Governance for the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities on the Eve of the WTO´s 11th Ministerial Conference”  was organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and supported by the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) School of Law, the Graduate Institute’s Centre for Trade And Economic Integration, the University of Barcelona’s Master of Laws in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO LL.M.),  New York University School of Law’s Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ), Georgetown Law and the Ministry of Production of Argentina.  The Think Conference is one of several activities with the CTEI alongside MC11 in Buenos Aires.

LEARN MORE:  Visit Tradelab’s website at https://www.tradelab.org and Centre for Trade and Economic Integration (CTEI) at  www.graduateinstitute.ch/ctei