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International relation is the study of relationships that exist between countries and the role played by governmental and non governmental bodies. It is a branch of political science that deals with analyzing and formulating foreign policy between different states. International relations also try to explain the kind of cooperation that exists between nations and how they achieve set objectives.
It also relates the effects of globalization to the performance of different nations. The world is changing drastically in terms of economics, ecology, and politics and there is need to study how different nations are doing to accommodate such changes. We all understand that a state can not perform efficiently without interacting with other states in the global world.
International cooperation can trigger the achievement of national economic objectives. Through it, governments are able to attain their social, economic, and political objectives. International cooperation mainly addresses issues related to security, peace, human rights, and poverty eradication. This is more reflected in international trade where nations from many parts of the world exchange their goods and services, technical advice, expertise as well as aids.
However, this cannot be possible without the assistance of international institutions. These are institutions formed by members from different states to address issues of politics, economy, and peace in the respective member countries. This paper will give an in-depth analysis on how international institutions assist international cooperation in achieving some of its political, social, and economical objectives.
It is common for most business to extent their activities across national borders. This is done in the form of exports, investment, or transfer of technology for the purpose of earning profits. These activities improve economic performance of the trading nations and this was the main objective for the formation of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Today, the international organizations have increased and we now have the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Bank. Every country has objectives and competition law that differs from one nation to the other. This often creates disputes among the trading nations which can create an unstable environment for investors who want to invest in the concerned nations.
These differences can even cause competitive disparities that can either make it easy or hard for trading nations to access the national market. For instance, if one country’s competition law (lets say country A) does not allow any foreign products but its products are allowed in another country (lets say country B) entrepreneurs in country B are likely to have a greater competitive advantage than those in country A.
This is because entrepreneurs from country B are in a position to keep out foreign rival products with impunity while those from country A cannot. This shows that international cooperation among trading nations with regard to the implementation of competition law and policy is necessary.
The establishment of international competition policies by use of competition law has been one of the pressing issues addressed by policymakers such as GATT, WTO, and, UNCTAD. Globalization also calls for increased international cooperation among the trading nations in relation to policies and competition law.
International cooperation occurs in many forms for instance, we have bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements, and regional agreements. There exist many bilateral agreements than other forms of agreement for example the agreement between Canada and the United States, European Union and the United States, and Australia and New Zealand.
Multilateral agreement on competition policy does not exist but we have regional and bilateral agreements. Bilateral agreements exist in form of soft laws that specify cooperation in matters related to exchanges of information, investigation, and positive and negative comity (Martin 71). The provisions in these agreements normally do not necessitate changes in the parties’ domestic laws and leave judgment to each party as to whether to take action underneath the agreement or not.
For instance, the Australia-New Zealand Agreement grants that each party should exchange information because it would support in the enforcement of competition laws. However, neither Australia nor New Zealand is required to surrender the information that it believes it should not surrender. Off the record information is expressly barred from the coverage of this agreement (Martin 120).
International Trade and Terms of Trade
There are three main reasons why countries enter into international trade, these are: to achieve a balanced terms-of-trade, commitment to policies, and political reasons. By forming cooperation with one another, nations can be able to make themselves better off by avoiding destructive trade policy vengeance, and failure to cooperate worsens the situation.
For instance, if a government from a big country decides to impose taxes on its imports, the price of the good in question will increase thereby reducing its demand in the domestic market (Hans 52).
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This effect would be felt in the global market resulting in a reduction of the world price of the good concerned. This effect will flow back to the importing country where the price of imports will be relatively lower to the price of exports (the terms of trade) consequently resulting in an increase in national income at the expense of another country.
The same effect would be felt if the country decided to impose a tax on its export since the world price of the taxed good would go up (Hans 60). This example shows that, if countries decide to retaliate against each other by imposing trade restrictions, the world national income would be reduced. International Organizations such as GATT were established to address such issues and ensure that the weaker nations are not exploited by the stronger ones.
Thus international cooperation can only be achieved through the formation of trade agreements. This is best solution for restraining retaliating behaviors among counties. Government policy must be made logical through international cooperation.
Through multinational bargaining, countries are able to attain deeper trade liberalization as compared to bilateral negotiations. Trade negotiation is a market where nations from different parts converge with others to exchange trade concessions and this can not possible in a bilateral bargaining because the market is segmented (Hans 62).
Governments enter into international organizations such as GATT and WTO not only to achieve a favorable terms of trade but also to address other political economy reasons. For instance, GATT does not in any way prevent governments from imposing taxes on their exports neither does it prevent the governments in large countries from using trade policy to improve their terms of trade.
International agreement is formed to address issues related to political externalities. These externalities relate to the supposition that governments depend on political support from different interest groups and thus need to balance the interests of exporters and Import-competing industries and workers employed in these industries.
International policy overruns are an example of an externality that may impose international cooperation to act on it efficiently. The intensity of international cooperation on environmental problems has developed extremely for the last few decades (Fergusson, 20). There are now a huge number of international ecological agreements, addressing such issues as climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, biodiversity, marine and coastal areas, and unrelenting organic pollutants.
Several key procedures have made this development possible, as well as the growth in scientific perceptive of environmental problems, better global public alertness and concern about environmental issues and greater acknowledgment by national governments of the need for environmental action (Center for International Cooperation 27).
WTO and International Cooperation
WTO has been working with World Bank, IMF, and UNICTAD for trade-related technological assistance with the purpose of building capacity in the policy of trade. WTO has five main functions, namely provision of rules for conducting international trade, provision of a forum for trade negotiation, dispute settlement, and supporting transparency and coherence in the global economy.
WTO is one of the international organizations that can be considered as a public good because it is formed by governments which are ready and willing to maintain it. WTO has had an extensive involvement in eradicating terms of trade deficits (Fergusson, 20).
Trade measures carry a meticulous attraction in international economic relations as an instrument of enforcement of international commitments and, possibly, of influencing in circumstances where perspectives disagree as to the nature of suitable international obligations.
Again, devoid of endeavoring into an analysis that would challenge whether meticulous international agreements are attractive, or whether the WTO would be the right place for such agreements, a point should be made about the general implications of how international cooperation is defined.
If the WTO were to become a place where trade procedures could be used by members on the base of unshared definitions of allowable policy behavior, the system would be damaged. International cooperation can only lead to rational policy results in the WTO and in another place, including in terms of enforcement, if it is based on a pre-commitment to systems by all the parties involved.
Once that pre-commitment to a communal policy standard and responsibility has been tenable, the question whether trade measures are used as an instrument of enforcement, or whether agreements are smack in the WTO or elsewhere, become much less significant and less system-threatening (Center for International Cooperation 2).
International Cooperation in Reducing Global Nuclear Danger
Today, the greatest security threat all over the world is that of terrorists using nuclear weapons. However, the probability of such an event occurring remains low but with the advancement in technology we can never be sure of what will happen tomorrow. If it does occur, the consequences would be detrimental and world altering.
Keeping such a weapon out of reach by terrorist should be given the utmost priority in all the agendas of the 21st century. It includes the key facts of global security (Curtis 1). Today, a terrorist nuclear attack is the greatest threat, and international cooperation is the only sensible means of overcoming that threat.
Leaders all over the world (especially those from the White House), the congress and in the community have realized the need of fighting against the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists. For instance, it is estimated that, if a ten Kiloton nuclear weapon is used on any of the biggest cities in the world; it would kill thousands of people instantly. This would not only lead to lose of life, but it would result in economic depression with the weakest economies being damaged the most.
It would interfere with the global level of investing and spending (which has gone up) and it would take decades to recover. These effects would even be adverse if there is threat of a second weapon being used in the same country or in another. Today, the use of nuclear weapons seems more feasible than before and can only be reduced if states are willing to form international institutions where they are able to work together.
To address this problem certain things have to be put in place:
- reducing the global supply of nuclear weapons by preventing the inventories in nuclear power
- limiting the spreading of technology related to nuclear weapons
- securing all materials used in making nuclear
- forming agreements on and implementing a multi-state
The United States has joined hands with other members from the international community through a series of bilateral, multilateral, and unilateral means to do part of the things that need to be addressed urgently.
At the moment, this might prove to be difficult for the U.S. to lead the world given that it has already earned a reputation for spurning international cooperation and it has been supporting the idea of American exceptionalism (Curtis 5). It will first be required to prove its credibility and readiness to work as a country for the common good of the world at large.
It will have to discard its guiding principle on international agreement regimes and institutions, and work to strengthen them. It must work through the United Nations to restructure its international regimes for reducing terrorism and other international organizations. Working through international institutions is vital to restoring confidence in the United States as a global associate that will enable it to work in a more efficient leadership.
International cooperation is a situation where different countries come together for the common good of the world at large. Through international cooperation, countries are able to trade with one another, to improve their security situations and to regain peace.
This is only possible through international institutions such as WTO, GATT, IMF, World Bank, to name but a few. International trade involves the exchange of goods and services, technical advice, and transfer of technology for monetary gain. Countries earn a competitive advantage in the goods they are able to produce effectively and with minimum costs.
Governments enter into international organizations such as GATT and WTO not only to achieve a favorable terms of trade but also to address other political economy reasons. This is done in a market known as trade negotiations. This is a market where nations from different parts converge with others to exchange trade concessions and this cannot be possible in a bilateral bargaining because the market is segmented.
The establishment of international competition policies by use of competition law has been one of the pressing issues addressed by policymakers such as GATT, WTO, and, UNCTAD. The intensity of international cooperation on environmental problems has developed extremely for the last few decades.
Center for International Cooperation. Managing Global Insecurity: The UN, the U.S. and international cooperation – what’s on the horizon? Web.
Curtis, Charles B. Reducing the global nuclear danger: international cooperation- the indispensable security imperative, 2010. Web. https://www.nti.org/analysis/speeches/reduce-global-nuclear-danger-ccurtis/
Fergusson, Ian F. “World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda” (PDF). Congressional Research Service, 2008. Web. https://nationalaglawcenter.org/
Hans, Kochler. Democracy and the International Rule of Law. Vienna/New York: Springer, 1995.
Martin, Lisa L. and Simmons Beth A. International institutions: an international organization reader. New York: MIT Press, 2001.