International Economic Law

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International Economic Law in a Time of Global Perils: Omicron and other COVID variants, Climate Change, Human Rights, and Development

The World Trade Organization decided to indefinitely postpone its 12th Ministerial Conference, originally scheduled for this week (30 November to 3 December), due to travel constraints for many delegations coming from countries that had already imposed travel bans and other restrictions due to the new Omicron variant.  The 12th Ministerial was slated to take up a range of agenda items, but what was supposed to be most politically sensitive is the ongoing impasse on India and South Africa's proposal (currently supported by over 100 countries) for a TRIPS waiver for COVID vaccines and other related medical goods, therapeutics, and equipment to respond to the pandemic.  United States President Biden has already openly supported the TRIPS waiver since May 2021, but to date the European Union remains opposed to the proposal. Switzerland recently announced it is open to compromise, but the indefinitely postponed 12th WTO Ministerial enables more time for the impasse on the TRIPS waiver to continue. As of this writing, the World Health Organization reports over 259…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Hybrid): Season 5 – Watching the Grass Grow

Watching UNCITRAL Working Group III over the years has been a bit like viewing a long-running television series. The beginning of the process was exciting as we met a compelling cast of characters and the plot line began to take shape. Sometimes there was high drama: Which actors would support which kinds of reforms? Which ones would oppose…

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Just Transitions in Climate Change Actions: Are States Respecting, Promoting, and Considering Human Rights Obligations in Setting and Implementing NDCs?

Recent exchanges hosted on EJIL:Talk! on climate action and how to go about "mainstreaming" it (see here and here) provide a microcosmic view of the ongoing challenges of State policies to transition and transform economies to reach treaty commitments under the Paris Agreement, including States' commitments as indicated in their publicly registered nationally determined contributions.  International…

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The draft WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies: Are we closing the net?

On 11 May the chair of the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s fisheries subsidies negotiations released a draft text designed to spur the final stage of negotiations toward final agreement. Talks on fisheries subsidies have been on the WTO’s ledger since 2001 and have been conducted in earnest since 2016. The negotiations are the key element in States’ efforts…

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UNCITRAL and ISDS Reform (Online): Crossing the Chasm

To text or not to text? That is the question. Or, rather, that was the question at UNCITRAL when Working Group III resumed its deliberations online last week. The Working Group’s focus was structural reforms, first selection and appointment of permanent or fixed-term adjudicators, then an appellate mechanism. As readers of this series know well, states hold different…

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