Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique 2017 est une publication de l’Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes (Opalc) du CERI-Sciences Po. Il prolonge la démarche du site www.sciencespo.fr/opalc en offrant des clés de compréhension d’un continent en proie à des transformations profondes.

Yves Tiberghien

Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has developed around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The emerging consensus among OECD countries embedded in the 1994 WTO agreement quickly collapsed after 1999, as the EU, Japan, Korea, and other countries led a counter-movement. The battle entails several dimensions—modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity—making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This study analyzes the stakes in the battle for global governance, the key actors, and the principal battlefields. It then focuses on the roles of two key players, the EU and Japan, and how they led the move toward a more precautionary approach. The study reveals the political mechanisms behind this transformation, emphasizing the role of emerging civil society movements as the determining trigger for policy change.

Diana Hochraich

Since their economic development got under way, the ASEAN countries – which essentially manufacture labour-intensive products – have been marked by strong regional integration brought about by the segmentation of the production process engaged in by Japanese companies. In these countries, successive relocations resulted in de facto economic integration at a time when various political groupings intent on blocking the development of communism were also emerging. Since joining the WTO, China – the world’s workshop – has become the hub for trade with the developed countries. In the face of such competition, the ASEAN countries will have to show their capacity to maintain their position in the value chain represented by the production of all of the Asian countries. While a number of econometric studies seem to indicate that the ASEAN countries will succeed in this undertaking thanks to the specific nature of their production apparatus, it is important neither to underestimate China’s ability to learn quickly and its determination to move further up the production chain nor to overlook the total absence of industrial policy on the part of governments in these countries which follow the advice of international organisations. It would seem that the ASEAN countries, faced solely with market forces, cannot hope to enhance their limited ability to move up the production chain.

Sébastien Colin

Since the resumption of talks between China and Russia – still the Soviet Union when this occurred in the mid- 1980s, relations between the two countries have been particularly dynamic. On the international level, the two countries in fact share the same viewpoint on a number of issues. These mutual concerns led to the signing of a strategic partnership in 1997, then a new treaty of friendship in 2001. The complementarity between the two countries in the energy and arms sectors also stimulates cooperation. However, this alliance is not without its limits. The United States, its primary target, can easily short-circuit it, as it did just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In the field of cooperation, the intensity and structure of trade between the two countries are both inadequate. The rise in trade during the 1990s was very uneven and marked by a drop between 1994 and 1996. The main causes of this are situated at the local echelon along the Chinese-Russian border. After the dynamism characteristic of the 1988-1993 period, the opening of the border triggered new problems, such as illegal Chinese immigration in the little-inhabited border zones of Russia. Although this trend caused friction among the local Russian population, it was mainly the retrocession of certain Russian territories to China when the border was demarcated between 1993 and 1997 that radicalized the inhabitants, paralyzing border cooperation. The Russian and Chinese government played an active role in attempting to resolve most of these disputes, as the Tumen program illustrated. Since then, the various authorities in the two countries have tried to revitalize border cooperation, but a number of problems remain that are mainly economic in nature and vary depending on the border region.

Olivier Cattaneo

This study aims to provide all the necessary keys to understanding the new round of multilateral trade negotiations set off by the World Trade Organization members in Doha on November 14, 2001. It first presents the circumstances that framed the conference, enabling a new round of talks to begin. After the failure of the Ministerial Conference in Seattle, serious doubts indeed hovered as to whether new multilateral trade talks could be launched. Nevertheless, various factors, such as improved transatlantic relations, consideration of the demands of developing countries and civil society, better Conference preparation and the events of September 11 all created a favorable context for Doha. The study then proceeds to describe the characteristics of the new negotiation round and the stakes involved. In drafting the Doha Declaration, so many last-minute diplomatic compromises were made that the document is complex to interpret, even for the negotiators themselves. How the negotiations will be organized from a practical standpoint is also unclear, and warrants clarification. This study thus summarizes the various issues slated for negotiation and what is at stake, as well as the organization and main deadlines for negotiation. Lastly, it analyzes the current state of negotiations and perspectives in view, without going into detail or predicting the future. At a time when WTO members are in the process of negotiation, any conclusion in this regard would quickly be outdated. However, this study reveals that the context that prevailed at Doha no longer exists, and that today the progress of negotiations has run up against several obstacles, as can be seen in the difficulties they are encountering at this early stage.

Jae-Seung Lee

East Asian economic cooperation has been actively pursued during the past few years, especially after the Asian financial crisis. A number of bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Area (FTA) agreements were concluded or are being negotiated. The recently published East Asia Vision Group Report provides a more concrete roadmap for an East Asian economic community. The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) became a reality on January 1, 2002, following a 10-years tariff reduction schedule. AFTA aims not only at trade facilitation but at inducing more investment. An ASEAN+3 (i.e. Japan, China and South Korea) FTA was also suggested to build an East Asian Free Trade Area (EAFTA). Japan signed an FTA with Singapore of ASEAN, while China and ASEAN agreed to create FTA within 10 years. On the financial side, the Chiang Mai Initiative created a regional liquidity fund by expanding the existing ASEAN Swap Arrangement to include all ASEAN members and augmented it by a network of bilateral swap arrangements among the ASEAN countries, China, Japan and South Korea. East Asian countries have also established a surveillance mechanism to monitor their economic performance. However, there are many obstacles in further enhancing regional economic cooperation. Structural problems involve political, economic, and cultural heterogeneities among East Asian countries. Low legalization and effectiveness of overlapping regional institutions render deeper regional cooperation difficult. Domestic instability of the ASEAN countries may hamper rapid regional cooperation. Regional rivalry between Japan and China should be an important object of observation. East Asian economic cooperation will be accelerated in the near future. Since the announcement of the ASEAN-China FTA agreement, Japan has attentively sought alliances to vie with growing China and to maintain her influence in the region. The next few years will see the emergence of a number of new bilateral and multilateral relations, both in trade and finance, in East Asia.

Raymond Benhaïm, Youssef Courbage et Rémy Leveau

By concentrating on heavy trends within a medium to long term framework, these papers are an attempt to break with the alarmist interpretations which characterize most analyses of events in Nonh Africa. 
On a demographic level, Youssef Courbage shows how emigration to Europe has had a profound influence on the pace of demographic transition in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. In this area these countries already constitute a coherent regional entity. 
In his analysis of economic prospects, Raymond Benhaïm also discerns a logic of integration in spite of the fact that each of the North African countries today favours its bilateral relations with Europe. It is, in fact, in the European interest that these countries become a unified North African market. 
Finally on a political level Rémy Leveau examines the new types of political behaviour of both those who govern and those governed. These forms of behaviour are emerging at a time of social disillusion, and when the urbanised and educated social strata claim to have their say in the organizing of society. Neither the states nor the islamic movements can achieve total victory: in the end a compromise solution should thus prevail. However for this to occur each party will need to give up its reductionist view of the adversary. External parties will need to consider other solutions than providing unconditional aid - against a so-called "green peril" - to those in power, all too prone to refuse the control of those they govem

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