Trade held hostage to IP — it’s anti-development

This photo shows the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia (Photo: USPTO).

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU

Now that the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been leaked, our worst fears are confirmed — IP in TPP is OTT. Read more…

Time to rethink the global rules

Laotian textile factory workers at work on the outskirts of Vientiane. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU

Prospects for trade in the Asian century appear good. After all, Asia has risen to its current position on the strength of its trade. Why shouldn’t this trend continue? Some immediate macroeconomic threats are obvious. Read more…

What can the G20 do about the WTO?

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors pose for a photo during their meeting in Moscow, Russia on 16 February 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU

The G20’s role in trade reform is to deal with systemic issues that are not well handled by the WTO under a ‘business as usual’ approach. So the forum must deal with the current danger: if the WTO is allowed to muddle through, the existing trade rules that have underpinned globalisation and growth for decades could unravel. Read more…

Policy reviews improve policy efficiency

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in blue turban, talks to the media on his arrival at the first day of monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi, India, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU

Nurul Islam makes some interesting observations about whether outside policy advice is likely to affect policy outcomes.

Based on his experience, he argues that advice to politicians should be offered only when it is solicited, and it is more likely to be solicited when politicians are out of office. Read more…

World trade policy in crisis

Protesters shout slogans during an anti-WTO protest in front of the trade ministry in Jakarta. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU and Shiro Armstrong, ANU, Columbia University

The Doha Development Round of World Trade Organisation trade negotiations is in deep trouble and could become the first Round to fail.

What will happen if Doha fails? Read more…

Can the global financial crisis actually deliver Doha?

G8 leaders Italy 09 small

Author: Philippa Dee

Everyone is calling for a Doha conclusion by 2010. The G5 and the G8 are doing it. The APEC Member countries are doing it.

But Jagdish Bhagwati warns ‘Everybody’s talking a good game, but the question is whether they can play a good game … You have to distinguish between containing protectionism and actually liberalising further. I can’t think of any example of liberalisation when the macroeconomic stress is this enormous.’

‘This is just a ritual assertion,’ Bhagwati adds, referring to the G8+G5 statement. ‘When it comes to actually liberalising trade, they have to face their parliaments and their publics.’

But let’s think about this.

Read more…

Principles for reforming higher education in Australia: is Bradley brave enough?


Author: Philippa Dee

The largely self-serving statements from the universities in the lead-up to the Bradley review would have one believe that this is all about how much government money will be spent on higher education, and how it will be divvied up among institutions. Principles of good regulatory design are easily lost in the process. In order to evaluate what comes out of the review, let’s think about what we are trying to achieve.

Even the staunchest small-l liberal would not want to leave the Australian tertiary sector entirely to market forces. At minimum, there needs to be some accountability for the large amounts of taxpayers’ money involved. But to think about how those accountability mechanisms should be designed, it is useful to think about how our tertiary institutions, as (mostly) non-profit organizations, behave.

By definition, non-profit organizations are not primarily about making profits. Their goal is to achieve some non-profit objective – let’s call it a ‘charter’. This is not to say that they don’t care about the bottom line. Read more…