Magazine article Foreign Policy in Focus

Toward a New Foreign Policy

Magazine article Foreign Policy in Focus

Toward a New Foreign Policy

Article excerpt

Key Recommendations

* The USTR should reform its consultative process to incorporate gender and development concerns into its trade policymaking.

* Rules governing international labor mobility should be liberalized.

* The USTR should support a prodevelopment agenda for GATS that would include encouraging safeguards for developing countries and exemptions for health care, public education, water provisioning, and other public welfare needs.

The expansive framework of GATS encroaches on traditional social welfare issues and development goals. As Indian economist Amaryta Sen notes, "the ability to participate in the market economy is radically influenced by social arrangements for education, health care, microcredit, land reform, and other public policies." Trade agreements and trade negotiators must recognize that social development and social welfare are inextricably linked to economic development.

To better integrate the concerns of developing countries, particularly those of women, the USTR should reform its consultative process. Currently, the USTR has an interagency process to convene staff from different government agencies to develop U.S. trade negotiating positions. However, in a recent General Accounting Office report, USTR officials conceded that "they do not always have the breadth of perspectives or information needed to advance U.S. positions."

To rectify this oversight, the USTR should appoint a gender and development specialist to the Advisory Committee of Trade Policy & Negotiations (ACTPN) and to the Industry Sector Advisory Committee (ISAC) on services. In addition, the USTR should establish a new Trade, Gender, Development Policy Advisory Committee (TGDPAC) to provide policy advice on issues involving gender, development, and trade. The TGDPAC should advise the USTR on all current and future trade negotiations as they pertain to gender and development issues.

The USTR must also initiate the analytical work to better understand the nexus between gender, development, and trade issues. A recently approved government document, Women in the Global Economy: Framework for U.S. Government Participation in International Fora, calls for "the widespread collection and use of sex-disaggregated labor market statistics and gender-impact analysis by all policymaking and policy impacting agencies." The USTR should implement this framework by initiating a gender and development social impact review of the current GATS regime and of the proposed changes and additions to GATS before proceeding with negotiations. …

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