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Trade

 Many resources are courtesy of Christian Concern for One World (CCOW) www.ccow.org.uk


UK Agencies and Campaigning Groups

Within the UK, many major agencies work on trade issues and their broader relation to development and poverty reduction. The Christian development agencies (and others) generally come under the umbrella of the Trade Justice Movement coalition. The TJM website gives links to the coalition's more than 80 members, as well as to some of the news stories and resources they have produced.

The latest TJM newsletter (November 2012) may be viewed here

Among the members who have done detailed work on trade policy are Action Aid , CAFOD , Christian Aid , Oxfam , Tearfund, Traidcraft and WDM; if you click on the name of the agency here, you will go through to its trade pages.

Once in an agency's trade section, you will find that each specialises in particular areas: for example:

  • CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Tearfund and Traidcraft have focused most recently on EPAs;

  • WDM has produced material on GATS [General Agreement on Trade in Services];

  • CAFOD has worked with developing-country negotiators on Special Products; and

  • Oxfam has highlighted the consequences of Regional Trade Agreements and issues surrounding access to essential medicines.

The UK Government, the EU, the UN and the WTO

Material on the UK's positions re: trade and developing countries is available from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department for International Development (DFID). DTI's Europe and World Trade page contains a basic overview of the UK's view on developing country issues within the WTO, with links to information about EPAs, the Generalised System of Preferences, commodities, and other trade issues. The framework for "DFID's Work in Trade and Development, 2005 - 2007" is outlined in a document of that title published in 2005. A listing of DFID's publications on a variety of trade topics, including the impact of preferences, aid for trade, EPAs and more, is also available.

EU countries negotiate trade agreements as a bloc, so EU policy is more important to developing countries than the position that any individual member takes. The EU's external trade website gives access to news and documents.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) website offers large amounts of information, particularly in UNCTAD's focus areas: Trade in Africa, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; Commodities; Globalisation and Development; Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development; and Infrastructure.

The new World Trade Organisation (WTO) website provides masses of information and is well organised. If you want to understand the official WTO line, there is a very clear introduction which covers the basic principles and terms of trade liberalisation, a chart outlining the WTO's structure, and access to the foundational legal texts. There's even a distance learning course, with modules on some aspects of the WTO of particular interest to developing countries. The site also offers space to its critics; on the right hand side, click on the "Public Forum" links if you want to hear what some NGOs have said at the annual meeting between the WTO and Civil Society Organisations.

Further Agencies, Organisations, Think-Tanks and Databases

If you want to be kept up to date on trade issues across the board, the best resources are the weekly and monthly editions of Bridges, put out by the Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. The weekly email bulletin covers the latest trade news, events and resources. The monthly bulletin has more in-depth articles on particular topics. You can browse both -- as well as ICTSD's other materials -- on the ICTSD website.

Also based in Geneva is The South Centre, an intergovernmental organisation of developing countries.  The South Centre's Trade for Development programme is a key source of briefing papers, analytical notes and other resources on various topics in trade in agriculture, services, commodities, and non-agricultural goods, as well as cross-cutting issues.

TRALAC, the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (located in Stellenbosch), offers another weekly bulletin, which contains a useful compendium of trade-related articles from African and other media, as well as discussion of "hot topics" and information about AGOA, the trade agreement between Africa and the US. You can sign up for the bulletin, or browse TRALAC's other publications, at their website.

The African Economic Research Consortium has a strong trade component, with a series of Trade Working Papers and bulletins about trade in the regular newsletter.

Among the UK think tanks, ODI (Overseas Development Institute) has an International Economic Development Programme that covers a wide variety of trade issues, including developing country negotiation strategies, the impact of preferences, trade in commodities, trade for aid and regional trade agreements. ODI has excellent conferences that bring together participants from NGOs, the academy, governments and business: presentation documents and audio recordings of the sessions are often on their website. ODI also produces briefing papers on specific trade topics.

The Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford University offers lectures and research papers on a variety of governance-related topics. The new trade programme will have details of trade-related events and research; it already has a very good "resources" page with links to different groups working on trade policy, primarily in an academic or high-level NGO context. The Harvard University Global Trade Negotiations Home Page also has excellent links to a variety of trade-focused NGOs, organisations, schools and institutions, etc. Its other materials, however, need updating.

If you want to find the most recent research on trade topics, or to locate information written over a period of time about a particular trade topic, the ELDIS website is a good first stop. ELDIS has a searchable database of articles on development-related topics produced by organisations around the world.


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