Monthly Archives: May 2017

International Institutions as the Battlefields: The EU-US Rivalry over a WTO’s Agreement on Competition Policy


Hammed Roohani // International Relations // Wednesday 3rd May 2017 // 1-3pm // Arts C133

Hammed’s study examines the capacity of the WTO for fostering cooperation between the EU and the US for the Agreement on Competition Policy. Given the successful cooperation of the two in other international arrangements, the research sets out to assess the WTO’s impact – as the immediate underlying institution on which the interactions unfolded – over terms of cooperation in 1997-2004.

The study accommodates its inquiry by questioning the WTO’s ability in curbing enforcement risks.  Using the negotiation’s documents as the main sources of data, the empirical findings of the study suggest that the WTO had a substantial impact on the quality of the interactions. As expected from an international institution, the WTO did provide a workable solution for cheating concerns, nevertheless, that solution in its own right failed to ensure cooperation between the two sides. The findings indicate that to remain relevant to intentional economic cooperation, the WTO must compete with other fora by improvising a wider space for possible enforcement solutions. The study also suggests that a future research agenda over the international arrangements for competition policy must be informed by a revised understanding of the two rational theories of interstate cooperation, i.e. Neoliberal Institutionalism and Neorealism so much so that the two are not substitutes but the former is subordinated to the latter.


Hammed is a research student and AT in SPRU. His research interests lie at the wider intersection of international institutions/organizations, states and enterprises where they meet to create, develop and revise the global governing infrastructures of international production, trade and investment. His current study addresses international cooperation for the institutions of competition policy in multilateral, regional and bilateral arrangements.

Before starting a PhD, Hammed had done an MA in Politics and International Relations in University of Warwick, an MBA on International Marketing and an Advanced Degree in Multilateral Trade (WTO) Negotiations.

He currently teaches the PG Research Methods in BMEC.


Fairtrade Banana versus Dollar Banana: A study of a neo-colonial relationship in Costa Rica

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Layla Zaglul // International Development // Wednesday 26th April 2017 // 1-3pm // Arts C133

Fairtrade advertising campaigns make a promise to the consumers: if they buy this product, they are assuring that the people who make that product are getting fair wages and working in fair conditions: Is this really the case? This study will provide a valuable analysis of contrasting models crucial to the discussion of whether or not the Fairtrade movement is truly able to effect change to the current market system through trade. The Fairtrade movement was established as a reaction against the deregulation advocated by neo-liberal policies with the purpose of creating a new egalitarian commodity network (Raynolds, 200; Moberg and Lyon, 2010). The Costa Rican banana industry is under the Dollar Banana System, which has always been characterised by free trade policies and by the power of transnational corporations (Raynolds and Murray 2002).The lecture will focus on a chapter of the thesis titled ‘Labour Conditions’, which describes how in terms of contracts, payment, working hours and Unions –or workers’ organizations- Fairtrade does not necessarily improve the conditions of the workers. The research is founded on an ethnographic study on two farms – one Fairtrade certified and one conventional farm – located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. This study compares the conditions in which the two farms operate in terms of labour regimes; the workers’ notions of fairness and meaning of labour. The thesis analyses the potential Fairtrade has in transforming the neo colonial dynamics in the banana trade in Costa Rica


Layla Zaglul is a third year PhD student in International Development. She holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Costa Rica. After working for several years in Costa Rica she moved to the UK to undertake her MA in Anthropology of Development at SOAS, University of London. Her MA dissertation, explored the relationship between the consumption of Fairtrade bananas in the UK and its production in Costa Rica. Building on her MA, the PhD research is a comparative study of two banana farms in Costa Rica, one Fairtrade certified and one conventional.