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Laws and regulations hindering data flows across borders are trade-restrictive, and some of these measures can violate WTO and PTAs' obligations. The chapter starts by exploring the multi-layered policy framework governing data flows and cross-border data flows identifying various policy goals typically associated with data restrictions.
This includes exploring the various elements required within the WTO framework to address the policy ramifications of data restrictive measures, focusing on General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The chapter then explains the trade-related aspects of data flow regulation by focusing on two interconnected topics: (i) the special nature of digital trade and trade in data that makes it harder to apply existing GATS provisions to digital services; and (ii) those aspects of data flows that are trade-related and, thus, should be addressed in a trade law framework. Finally, the chapter proposes a novel WTO framework on data flows by identifying the foundational principles for data regulation and the legal provisions necessary to enable security, predictability and certainty in data flows.
Optical tracking systems typically trade off between astrometric precision and field of view. In this work, we showcase a networked approach to optical tracking using very wide field-of-view imagers that have relatively low astrometric precision on the scheduled OSIRIS-REx slingshot manoeuvre around Earth on 22 Sep 2017. As part of a trajectory designed to get OSIRIS-REx to NEO 101955 Bennu, this flyby event was viewed from 13 remote sensors spread across Australia and New Zealand to promote triangulatable observations. Each observatory in this portable network was constructed to be as lightweight and portable as possible, with hardware based off the successful design of the Desert Fireball Network. Over a 4-h collection window, we gathered 15 439 images of the night sky in the predicted direction of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Using a specially developed streak detection and orbit determination data pipeline, we detected 2 090 line-of-sight observations. Our fitted orbit was determined to be within about 10 km of orbital telemetry along the observed 109 262 km length of OSIRIS-REx trajectory, and thus demonstrating the impressive capability of a networked approach to Space Surveillance and Tracking.
Chapters relating to regulatory coherence or cooperation are significant features of new
preferential trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While the potential
for harmonization of standards or institutional cooperation to impact on the regulatory autonomy
of treaty parties has been well considered, this chapter focuses on those elements of regulatory
coherence that relate to domestic processes for the development of regulations. It examines
whether the adoption of ‘good regulatory practices’ in accordance with the TPP will help to ensure
that measures states enact to protect non-economic interests (such as the environment or public
health) are consistent with other key obligations of international trade and investment law.
Although many elements of good regulatory practice mirror the criteria used to distinguish
legitimate regulatory measures from disguised protectionism, there is no guarantee that a tribunal
will come to the same conclusions as those reached during a domestic impact assessment.
When states withdraw from bilateral investment treaties or denounce multilateral treaties related to foreign investment, a range of intersecting questions arise in domestic and international law. Recent developments have demonstrated potential incongruities between domestic and international approaches to investment protection, including as regards the effectiveness of withdrawal and the implications for existing investments. This essay reflects on international and domestic disputes involving the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from participation in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to highlight these interactions. These issues have become particularly pertinent today because more than 1,500 international investment agreements (IIAs) are nearing expiry of their initial term, providing an opportunity for termination. Moreover, some states have begun to terminate or denounce investment treaties, while many more are engaging in a process of renegotiation and reform. The Russian case study also highlights the potentially far-reaching effects of a state simply signing a treaty, even many years after the state has expressed its decision to withdraw from it, and notwithstanding tensions with the domestic legal framework.
Just as it had in several recent similar disputes, the Panel in China–Autos found several of the challenged issues WTO-inconsistent. We believe virtually all of the deficiencies noted by the Panel could be easily addressed with minor changes to MOFCOM practices. The real significance of this dispute lies in what it tell us about the larger trade policy dance between the US and China. On the one hand, with the series of related WTO disputes the US has demonstrated that China must comply with WTO rules. The more vexing challenge, however, is the apparent tit-for-tat motivation for this and other recent Chinese trade policies, and on this point this dispute does little to change the calculus. The prospective nature of WTO relief makes it almost impossible for the WTO to discourage the type of opportunistic protectionist actions exemplified by this case.
Chapters relating to regulatory coherence or cooperation are likely to be significant features of new preferential trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While the potential for harmonization of standards or institutional cooperation to impact on the regulatory autonomy of treaty parties has been well considered, this article focuses on those elements of regulatory coherence that relate to domestic processes for the development of regulations. It examines whether the adoption of ‘good regulatory practices’ in accordance with the TPP will help to ensure that measures states enact to protect non-economic interests (such as the environment or public health) are consistent with other key obligations of international trade and investment law. Although many elements of good regulatory practice mirror the criteria used to distinguish legitimate regulatory measures from disguised protectionism, there is no guarantee that a tribunal will come to the same conclusions as those reached during a domestic impact assessment.
Since the first report of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996, commentators and practitioners alike have been grappling with the thorny relationship between the WTO and public international law. More recently, problems in interpreting and applying WTO provisions in the light of customary international law and non-WTO treaties have come to reflect a concern regarding ‘fragmentation’ of international law more generally. One reason for this potential fragmentation lies in the disparate dispute settlement mechanisms under various international legal systems, including preferential trade agreements (PTAs), some of which also contain investment obligations and allow for investor–state dispute settlement.
As the future of the Doha Round remains uncertain, PTAs have proliferated. A large number of states are contemplating or commencing PTA negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (a trade and investment treaty involving 12 countries including Australia, the United States, Chile, and Singapore), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (a PTA developing from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus six other countries), and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union. The burgeoning number of PTAs means that the relationship between them and other institutions and aspects of public international law becomes all the more crucial. States evaluating the benefits of PTAs must be fully aware of the broader international context into which they are born and the implications of international law as each PTA develops. Moreover, existing PTA members may seek additional certainty about their PTA rights and obligations and the likely outcome in the event of a dispute relating to other areas of international law. More broadly, an investigation into the relationship between public international law and PTAs provides an additional case study of the perceived problem of fragmentation of international law.
In this chapter, we focus on two primary sources of public international law, namely treaties and customary international law. We also take into account two other sources of public international law, namely general principles of law and judicial decisions and leading commentary. All four sources are included in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ Statute), which is often recognised as providing an informal list of the sources of international law.
The global trading system is now comprised of an inter-locking, ever-growing, network of bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade agreements. It would be easy to assume that trade agreements, whether bilateral, plurilateral or regional, are necessarily beneficial for trade. After all, such agreements pursue the common goal of trade promotion through liberalisation. More trade agreements of whatever type might, therefore, translate into more trade liberalisation. The shortcoming of this assumption is, however, that bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral agreements pursue this goal in different and often conflicting ways. A core objective of the multilateral trading system is ‘the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade relations’. In pursuit of this objective, WTO Members must accord equal treatment to the goods and services of all other WTO Members (through ‘most-favoured-nation’ or ‘MFN’ treatment). In contrast, bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements – preferential trade agreements (PTAs) – pursue trade liberalisation through precisely this type of discrimination. The parties to a PTA liberalise trade solely among themselves, creating a network of special preferences within the PTA that are not available to other WTO Members. PTAs, therefore, entrench the very discrimination that WTO rules seek to eliminate. This key difference in approach makes the relationship between multilateralism and regionalism both complicated and controversial. In economic terms, it is still not clear whether maintaining an ever-growing network of PTAs alongside multilateral rules produces an overall increase or decrease in economic welfare. In legal terms, the coexistence of the WTO and PTAs among WTO Members creates a complex system of competing international rights and obligations.
As PTAs involve discrimination contrary to the general MFN obligation, they would normally give rise to inconsistencies with WTO rules. However, the WTO Agreements contain a series of exceptions for PTAs that allow limited derogation from WTO rules for PTAs meeting certain conditions. Only PTAs falling within one of these exceptions are valid under WTO law. In other words, a WTO Member must ensure that any PTA to which it is a party complies with the conditions of the relevant WTO exception. Otherwise, the Member risks acting inconsistently with its WTO obligations. The PTA exceptions are contained in: Article XXIV of GATT 1994; paragraph 2(c) of the Enabling Clause; and Article V of GATS.
In this paper we undertake a quantitative analysis of the dynamic process by which ice underneath a dry porous debris layer melts. We show that the incorporation of debris-layer airflow into a theoretical model of glacial melting can capture the empirically observed features of the so-called Østrem curve (a plot of the melt rate as a function of debris depth). Specifically, we show that the turning point in the Østrem curve can be caused by two distinct mechanisms: the increase in the proportion of ice that is debris-covered and/or a reduction in the evaporative heat flux as the debris layer thickens. This second effect causes an increased melt rate because the reduction in (latent) energy used for evaporation increases the amount of energy available for melting. Our model provides an explicit prediction for the melt rate and the temperature distribution within the debris layer, and provides insight into the relative importance of the two effects responsible for the maximum in the Østrem curve. We use the data of Nicholson and Benn (2006) to show that our model is consistent with existing empirical measurements.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has an ambitious agenda and could radically reshape trade in the Asia-Pacific. At the same time, TPP obligations have the potential to significantly restrict the ability of governments to regulate in the interests of public health. This paper examines the impact the TPP could have on two areas of public health regulation—tobacco control and access to medicines. It concludes that a number of legitimate concerns arise from the known content of the TPP, that the inclusion of a general health exception would be the preferable means of safeguarding the regulatory space of governments in relation to public health, and that the United States’ proposals for stronger intellectual property protections be resisted. With negotiations shrouded in secrecy, TPP parties’ desires to promote international trade and investment must not overshadow the need of governments to be able to implement sensible and effective public health policy.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
In the 1990s, three Pacific island countries, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa, applied to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, after negotiating for years to join and with membership almost a formality, Vanuatu in 2001 and Tonga in 2006 suspended the process of their accession. Although Samoa has never formally suspended its process, progress has been slow, and negotiations are about to enter their thirteenth year. These developing Pacific countries have small economies that represent only a tiny fraction of world trade. It is easy to ignore these decisions, particularly while countries with very significant economies, such as Russia, are in the accession process. However, the decisions by Vanuatu and Tonga to suspend their accession at such a late stage are unique in WTO history and raise important questions for the WTO and its membership that should not be ignored. Using Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa as case studies, this chapter begins by looking at the issue of trade and development in small island developing states (SIDS), and the potential impacts, both beneficial and detrimental, of the international trading system on these countries. It then explores some of the broader questions facing the WTO that are raised by Tonga and Vanuatu suspending their accession. First, it examines equity concerns about the WTO accession process, along with recent attempts to address these concerns. Second, it considers the shortcomings of the “special and differential treatment” (SDT) currently offered to developing countries and how their special needs could be better accommodated in the WTO. Samoa is included in this discussion because it has faced many of the same issues as Tonga and Vanuatu during its accession negotiations.
Patent protection for pharmaceutical products as mandated in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPS Agreement’ or ‘TRIPS’) of the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) represents a potentially significant obstacle to public health measures, particularly for developing countries seeking to import medicines to deal with serious public health concerns, such as the HIV/AIDS crisis. Since 2001, WTO members have acknowledged this tension while working slowly towards a formal amendment of WTO rules that would facilitate compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals for the benefit of least-developed country (‘LDC’) members, as well as other members lacking sufficient manufacturing capacity to use the existing flexibilities in the TRIPS Agreement in respect of public health. As the first shipment of drugs from Canada to Rwanda under the new arrangements has recently taken place (in September 2008), we take the opportunity to reflect on the steps taken to date within the WTO to resolve the patent/public health tension.
In section 2, we explain why WTO members needed to reform the TRIPS Agreement in order to improve access to medicines for public health reasons, before turning in section 3 to the temporary solution reached in the form of a waiver of certain TRIPS obligations. In section 4 we then consider the more permanent solution of a formal amendment that is envisaged for the future. This chapter then turns in section 5 to consider how the waiver has been used in practice.