2014 Research Activities

  • February 10: Professor Peter Van den Bossche

    Reform of the WTO Dispute Settlement System: Fixing What Ain't Broke?

    Professor Peter Van den Bossche

    The World Trade Organization's dispute settlement system is one of the world's most active international dispute resolution regimes, providing a framework for resolving disputes between the organisation's 159 members about compliance with WTO rules. The Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (known as the 'Dispute Settlement Understanding' or 'DSU') is the WTO agreement establishing the dispute settlement system. Notwithstanding the success of the WTO dispute settlement system, WTO Members have been negotiating on clarifications to the DSU and improvements to the system ever since 1998. In recent years, the WTO Appellate Body, the system's highest instance, has been accused by some of  judicial activism allegedly undermining the integrity of the WTO dispute settlement system and of the WTO as a whole.

  • February 20: Antony Taubman (WTO)

    What can legitimately be expected in trade-related intellectual property disputes?

    Antony Taubman (WTO)

    The seemingly arcane issue of non-violation and situation disputes under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – and the broader question of the cause of action or legitimate basis of complaint in trade disputes about intellectual property protection – touch on fundamental questions of the nature of the legitimate interests, and market access expectations, that countries can bring to the table in the course of such disputes. This seminar will explore these questions in the light of the ongoing debate in the WTO since 1999 concerning nonviolation and situation disputes under the TRIPS Agreement, and the legal architecture of dispute settlement provisions in bilateral and regional trade agreements concluded since TRIPS came into effect.

  • March 27: Dr Andrew Lang (LSE)

    Governing 'as if'

    Dr Andrew Lang (LSE)

    Convenor: Associate Professor Margaret Young

    As a result of the extraordinary work of Foucault, Hacking, Porter, Scott, Bowker and Star, and many others, we are familiar with many of the practices of governance which emerged at the intersection of the modern social sciences and the modern managerial state, as 'naturalised' knowledge of the social body formed the foundation of specific kinds of social order. But if the 19th century could justifiably be counted as the century of natural science, critiques of objectivity became so commonplace over the course of the 20th century that scientific disciplines now 'live under constant suspicion', routinely suspected of 'providing knowledge that aggravates our condition rather than improves it' (Sloterdijk). How, then, have practices of governance-through-knowledge modified themselves in response to a century of critiques of objectivity? This paper draws on some work in the sociology of knowledge, including the work of Jasanoff, Riles, Vaihinger and others, to identify a mode of 'governing as if': a pragmatic mode of governance which works not through the production of naturalised and objective knowledge, but rather by generating knowledge claims that foreground their own partiality, contingency and even fictionality as the basis of their legitimacy. It describes the distinctive knowledge practices characteristic of this mode of governance, and shows how the 'legalisation' of knowledge production is central to it. The paper further argues that the standard toolkit of critical responses to positivist social science, cannot furnish us with an adequate responses to governance 'as if', neither positively nor normatively. The analysis is developed through a study of certain practices of the knowledge production in international economic law, having to do with the construction of market benchmarks in regulatory practice.

  • April 17: Jedrzej Gorski (PhD Candidate, CUHK)

    The Proposal on Tightening the Common External Trade Policy of the RU with Regard to Uncovered Procurement: A Populist Move or Well-Thought-Out Measure?

    Jedrzej Gorski (PhD Candidate, CUHK)

    Driven by severe concerns about the lack of reciprocity in mutual procurement market access between Member States and third countries, the European Commission has taken legislative steps to tighten the common external trade policy of the European Union (EU) regarding uncovered procurement.  So far, Member States have enjoyed wide autonomy in the way they treat contractors of goods and services from third countries.  Under the new proposal, the Commission would now exclude tenders consisting of non-covered goods or services, by either accepting individual requests of contracting authorities, or by temporarily limiting market access to those countries who discriminate against suppliers of goods and services from the EU and do not promise better market access in negotiations.  However, the detailed review of the proposal gives rise to doubt whether its provisions can actually improve the EU's leverage in international negotiations.  Conclusive legislative works on this matter have been scheduled in the Parliament for April 2014.  This seminar is based on a full paper to be published in the forthcoming issue of the European Procurement & Public Private Partnership Law Review (EPPPL).

  • May 23: Professor Douglas Arner (University of Hong Kong)

    Shadow Banking: Challenges and Approaches

    Professor Douglas Arner (University of Hong Kong)

    Shadow banking - credit intermediation outside the traditional banking system - has arisen as a major global issue in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. This presentation will consider the global context of and international regulatory responses to shadow banking and their implications for finance. At the same time, in East Asia, shadow banking typically takes different forms and raises different issues, requiring different responses. The presentation will thus also consider possible regional approaches in addition to those at the global level.

  • May 29: Professor Duncan Matthews (Queen Mary University of London)

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Implications for Access to Medicines in Comparative Perspective

    Professor Duncan Matthews (Queen Mary University of London)

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) may well have adverse implications for access to medicines in those countries participating in the negotiations.  The leaked text of the TPPA's Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter indicates that proposals relating to patents, data exclusivitiy and patent linkage, for instance, may well be in excess of arrangements currently in place in the participating states.  This talk will outline how and why the TPPA IP Chapter proposals may well have adverse implicaitons for access to medicines.  It will also compare the TPPA's IP Chapter with equivalent provisions in the US-South Korea (KORUS) Agreement, the Canada-EU Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA) and recent negotiations on a US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement to present an overall picture of the race to raise IP standards on a global scale.

  • June 4: Professor Bryan Mercurio (CUHK)

    Re-Evaulating Intellectual Property Rights in the World Trade Organization

    Professor Bryan Mercurio (CUHK)

    This public seminar is co-hosted by the Global Economic Law Network (GELN), the Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation (CCLSR) and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA).  It will be chaired by Professor Andrew Mitchell of Melbourne Law School.

    This seminar will focus on whether there is need to re-evaluate intellectual property rights and protection (in particular patent rights) as part of the post-Doha agenda for the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The seminar will discuss the link between The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and innovation, question the link between strong intellectual property rights and increased innovation (particularly in the software/technology industry) and seek alternatives to the present system.

  • June 24: Dr Jeffrey Kitingan & Mr Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy

    Malaysia at the Crossroads: the Way Forward

    Dr Jeffrey Kitingan & Mr Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy

    This seminar will address issues related to political stability, economic development and cultural marginalisation in Malaysia.  The speakers bring both political and activist perspectives to questions relating to Malaysia's politics, its populace and the government's record on human rights.