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Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Program: Understanding Integrated Compliance with International Trade and Human Rights Standards in Comparative Perspective


As we enter into the APDR project’s final phase, research activities have shifted from data collection and case studies to dyad analysis, write-up of Case Study results and publication of a series of five edited volumes. The topics for the five volumes involve the interaction of trade policy with: (a) human rights in labor; (b) human rights in health; (c) the right to development; (d) dilemmas of poverty and income inequality; and (e) government accountability and transparency. The work is characterized by a high degree of interdisciplinarity whilst focused on questions of legal culture, international law, globalization in the countries that compose the Asia-Pacific region. The books are grounded in original empirical research as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis relating to international trade and human rights.


Trade and Labour – “Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance: Crises and Resilience”

Edited by: Daniel Drache (Department of Political Science, York University) and Lesley Jacobs (Institute for Social Research, York University)


Over the past twenty-five years, global governance has been an ever-expanding circle, characterized by the establishment of new international institutions and new international law instruments designed to identify points of consensus on global public goods as well as organizations that implement and promote those institutions. Much of this expansion has occurred in the realm of international economic law, where the global political economy has been transformed by endless new bilateral and multilateral trade agreements designed in large part to facilitate trade liberalization and support greater economic competition. The contributors to this volume offer varying perspectives on the elusive quest for improved global governance through the vehicle of international economic law, focusing in particular on emerging issues in labour rights, food security, and green energy. They suggest that despite all of the efforts to expand the circle of global governance, far less has been achieved in terms of advancing global public goods through international trade and human rights law than is typically acknowledged. In particular, the theme that runs through contributions to the book is that despite the expansion of international economic institutions and organizations over the past twenty-five years, there are perennial grey zones in international economic law characterized by rule-bending, flexibility, and innovation when problems and disputes arise, and that little regarding these problems and disputes is black and white.


Trade and Public Health – “Health and Safety in Asia in A Global Setting”

Edited by: Yoshitaka Wada (Waseda Law School, Waseda University), Ilan Vertinsky (Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia) and Lesley Jacobs (Institute for Social Research, York University)


Access to Health and Safety are indispensable rights that should be guaranteed for every person. However, economic conditions, governmental action, and cultural values are some of the factors that influence the realization of these rights. In Asia, compliance with health and safety rights takes different dimensions according to local circumstances. While some countries are relatively successful in guaranteeing access to health and safety, others are less so due to current social and economic challenges. The present volume examines some of these challenges, from drug market regulation to tobacco and alcohol control, and so aims at identifying common structural factors in order to design better policies in the future.


Trade and Development“The Right to Development: Making it Work in India”

Edited by: Ashok Kotwal (Vancouver School of Economics, The University of British Columbia), Bharat Ramaswami (India Statistical Institute) and Moshe Hirsch (Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


Over the last few decades, India has adopted a unique approach to economic development. It has enacted parliamentary acts that specify various outcomes that we expect from the process of development legal rights such as food security, primary education, and employment. India is a very poor country. The multiethnic, multi religious and multi linguistic society makes India very difficult to govern. However, its main strength is that it is a well-entrenched and vibrant democracy. It makes sense therefore that its policy makers would feel emboldened to make desirable developmental outcomes as legal rights. This approach can, however, run into two main problems. First, enacting laws is one thing but implementing them in practice through the highly imperfect institutional structure is quite another. Second, the legal rights for Indian citizens may violate the letter or the spirit of India’s international treaty obligations vis-àvis the World Trade Organization (WTO). The chapters in this volume attempt to shed light on these issues. In essence, they question whether and to what extent it is possible to bring about development by making it a legal right. They also attempt at proving or disproving the assumption that there is a genuine clash between India’s right to develop and India’s commitment to international agreements or rather, development serves as a political excuse to avoid international commitments.


Trade, Poverty and Inequality – “Trade, Poverty and Income Distribution: the Indonesian Experience”

Edited by Richard Barichello (Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia) and Richard Schwindt (Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University)


There are few current issues as important economically, politically and socially as the impacts of globalization on poverty and income inequality. In many countries, both developed and less-developed, increasingly successful political forces have emerged that seek support from those who have not shared in the benefits of this trade expansion. A core question for policy makers is how to ensure that the benefits of globalization are equitably distributed. This volume contributes to our understanding of the links between globalization, poverty and income distribution by providing new evidence based on the Indonesian experience. It identifies the linkages between trade, poverty and inequality, and illustrates these linkages with empirical examples—some of which take a fresh look at issues not widely touched upon by similar volumes (e.g., urban property rights, coffee farmers’ welfare, and children’s wellbeing). It also provides insights regarding appropriate policies to achieve positive effects on poverty levels and income equality through global exchange, particularly trade. While the studies comprising this collection focus on Indonesia, the lessons go beyond that country.


Trade and Government Accountability – “Taking Care of Business: Good Governance Reforms”

Edited by: Ljiljana Biukovic (Peter A. Allard School of Law, The University of British Columbia) and Sarah Biddulph (Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne)


The collection of essays in this volume seeks to explore and explain the proliferation of international rules on good governance and their impact on national decision-making in the circumstances of the 21st century globalization. The purpose of the analysis is twofold. First, it is to unpack the evolution of concepts of good governance in both international and domestic institutions, with a particular focus on components of accountability and transparency. Second, it is to provide evidence of the impact of international rules and norms of openness and accountability on domestic public discussions and regulatory practice, as well as on domestic actors involved in decision-making about economic development. This volume is divided into two sections. The first section explores the evolution of the concepts of good governance in both international and domestic institutions. The second section of the volume explores actual local responses to the challenges of good governance at local level.




On November 12, 2018, Dr. Potter received the “40th Anniversary Honourees” Award from the Canada-China Business Council.

40th Anniversary Honourees

Paul W. Beamish
Honourable Jean Charest
Right Honourable Jean Chretien
Margaret Cornish
Honourable Stockwell Day
André Desmarais
Wendy Dobson
Pitman Potter

The 40th Anniversary Honourees are individuals who, via their work in business, government, academia, or civil society, have made significant contributions to Canada-China relations and to economic engagement between the two countries. The 40th anniversary honourees received their award at CCBC’s AGM Gala in Beijing on November 12, 2018.



Drache and Lesley A. Jacobs, Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance, UBC Press, October 15, 2018



Coordinating Performance in International Trade and Human Rights:

Report to the International Advisory Board and Executive Committee
Peter A. Allard School of Law
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 5, 2018

Coordinating Performance in International Trade and Human Rights:
Policy Implications and Post-Project Dissemination Plans
Peter A. Allard School of Law
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 5, 2018

2018 LSA Annual Meeting

Law and Society Association
Toronto, Canada
June 7-10, 2018

The Canada-China Free Trade Agreement and Tibet

Liu Institute for Global Issues
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
May 18, 2018

Coordinating Performance in International Trade and Human Rights: Discussion of Ongoing Research
Peter A. Allard School of Law
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
October 27, 2017

Coordinating Performance in International Trade and Human Rights: Policy Implications
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Vancouver, BC, Canada
October 26, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting
Law and Society Association
Mexico City, Mexico
June 20-23, 2017

Public Forum: Trade, Poverty and Income Distribution: the Indonesian experience 

University of Indonesia
Jakarta, Indonesia
January 5, 2017




Mr. Joseph Caron, International Advisory Board Member, Awarded Japan’s Prestigious Order of the Rising Sun. Click here to read more.

Congratulations to Professor Jack Austin, Chair of the International Advisory Board, for his appointment to the Order of Canada. Mr. Austin has been noted for his public service and work in advancing Canada’s foreign trade relations, notably within the Asia-Pacific region. details.

Dr. Pitman Potter elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada! Please join us in congratulating Professor Potter for his amazing scholarship, teaching, and leadership! Click here to read more.



Ljiljana Biukovic and Pitman B. Potter, eds. – Local Engagement with International Economic Law and Human Rights, Edward Elgar Publishing, May 2017.

Sarah Biddulph – The Stability Imperative: Human Rights and Law in China, UBC Press, May 2015 (shortlisted for the best book in Law and Society published in 2015 by the Canadian Law and Society).

Pitman B. PotterAssessing Treaty Performance in China: Trade and Human Rights, UBC Press, 2014.

Daniel Drache and Lesley A. Jacobs, eds. – Linking Global Trade and Human Rights: New Policy Space in Hard Economic Times, Cambridge University Press, 2014.


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