Dozens of governments have banned or limited exports of vital medical supplies and food. Are these legal under WTO and EU law? This chapter argues that while such bans are not allowed in normal times, the rules do not apply when the measures are justified on health grounds, are temporarily applied, and are aimed at preventing or relieving critical shortages of essential products. The only real deterrent to export bans is the threat of foreign retaliation that cuts off access to indispensable imports.
After decades of globalisation and integration, the world seems to be fragmenting again, epitomised best, perhaps, by the return of geopolitics, protectionism, unilateral sanctions, treaty withdrawals, and even military and economic coercion. Challenged by the United States, the return of old (Russia) and the growing assertion of new (China) antiliberal powers, the multilateral system is shaken both in its normative foundations and its operational capacity.
An integral part of global supply chains is the selection by international buyers of trading partners in developing countries. However, our understanding of how buyers ﬁnd a suitable long term supplier is limited. I use unique buyer-seller customs data to directly observe experimentation activity in a large market - the "fast fashion" industry in Bangladesh. I study how buyers of ready-made garments conduct trials of suppliers at the order-product level before settling into sustained sourcing relationships. To illustrate this process, I use a model of idiosyncratic search costs where the buyer’s costs of testing a manufacturer are determined by the heterogeneity of potential suppliers. The model shows that (1) higher supplier heterogeneity is associated with lower experimentation, (2) as heterogeneity increases, search activity falls more markedly for larger buyers than for their smaller counterparts, and (3) while buyer-seller matches are positively assortative, more heterogeneous settings see all buyers -and more markedly, large buyers- willing to accept relationships with (weakly) worse suppliers. These implications are strongly supported by the data, and hold in terms of within-buyer, cross-market diﬀerences in experimentation behavior. Finally I show that these information frictions, rooted in supplier heterogeneity, matter for the distribution of rents in these relationships: price-cost margins for suppliers are positively related to the degree of heterogeneity in the environment.
According to economic theory, repeated interactions can play a crucial role in shaping trust. We randomly allocated people to treatments that promote interactions with bankers. Next, these people play incentivised trust games with their own banker and with an anonymous other banker. While the effect on trust in the own banker is limited, the impact on trust in other bankers is important. We also find account savings strongly associate with trust in one's own banker. Our experiment suggests that trust in one's banker matters for savings, but that it is more difficult to influence than trust in bankers in general.
When do parties introduce novel clauses to a system of contracts or treaties? While important research has investigated how clauses diffuse once introduced, few empirical studies address their initial introduction. Drawing on network theory, this paper argues that novel clauses are introduced when agreements are concluded in certain structures of earlier agreements and the clauses they include. This paper demonstrates this argument using the example of 282 different environmental clauses introduced into the trade regime complex through 630 trade agreements concluded between 1945 and 2016. We find that trade agreements are more likely to introduce novelties when they involve parties with a diversity of experience with prior environmental clauses and introduce more novelties when more parties are less constrained by prior trade agreements between them. Contrary to prevailing wisdom, power asymmetry between the negotiating parties is not statistically significant.