Trade Policies for Productive Transformation: Trade Agreements

Presentation by Esther Busser, Assistant Director, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

Presentation | 15 March 2013
Trade agreements impact on the use of trade policy instruments such as tariffs, non-tariff barriers, intellectual property rights, and investment requirements, which are among the instruments used in industrial policies. Trade agreements therefore tend to limit the policy space that countries have at their disposal to foster a process of structural transformation. At the same time, rapid and deep trade liberalization, whether unilateral or through trade agreements, has led to reversing processes of structural transformation and in some cases led to de-industrialization. Trade policy therefore seems to be an important component of an industrial policy and trade agreements should be assessed on their impact on structural transformation and policy space for structural transformation and diversification.
The presentation is addressing the following guiding questions:
• Which trade policy instruments are important for structural transformation and how have they been limited in trade agreements?
• How have trade agreements/trade liberalization impacted on structural transformation?
• How do trade agreements impact on regional integration and possible promotion of regional industrial development?
• What kind of trade regime is needed for low and middle income countries to enhance structural transformation?

Workshop on "Boosting economic dynamics and job growth: the potential of industrial policies" organized by the ILO and the Geneva Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) 4-5 March 2013.