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Like many other international organizations, the World Trade Organization stands at a crossroads. There is an obvious imbalance between the organization's dispute settlement arm and its negotiation platform. While its current rules, supported by a strong dispute settlement system, have provided some buffering against the negative effects of the financial crises, its negotiation machinery has not produced any substantial outcomes since the late 1990s. It has become obvious that the old way of doing business does not work any more and fresh ideas about governing the organization are needed. Based on rigorous scholarship, this volume of essays offers critical readings on the functioning of the system and provides policy-relevant ideas that go beyond incremental redesign but avoid the trap of romantic scenarios.
The legitimacy of the WTO's decision-making process has always been questioned, and many have advocated public participation mechanisms as a remedy. Yves Bonzon considers the limits and potential of these mechanisms by advancing a conceptual framework which distinguishes the four 'implementation parameters' of public participation: the goal, the object, the modalities, and the actors. He addresses the issue of legitimacy by considering to what extent, and by virtue of which legal developments, one can see implementing the democratic principle as a goal for public participation in the context of the WTO. By analysing the institutional structure of the WTO and its different types of decisions, he then outlines how this goal should influence the object and modalities of public participation, which decision-making procedures should be opened to public participation, and how the mechanisms should be implemented in practice. Finally, he suggests specific amendments to existing WTO arrangements on public participation.
Discussion of the governance of global trade and the multilateral trading system is too often dominated by developed-country scholars and opinion-makers, with inadequate attention given to developing country perspectives. Making Global Trade Governance Work for Development gathers a diversity of developing country views on how to improve the governance of global trade and the WTO to better advance sustainable development and respond to the needs of developing countries. With contributions by senior scholars, commentators and practitioners, the essays combine new, empirically-grounded research with practical insights about the trade policy-making process. They consider the specific governance issues of interest to developing countries and acknowledge the changing dynamics in the global economy and in trade decision-making.
The institutional shortcomings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) became apparent during the Doha Round of Trade negotiations that began in 2001 and which aimed to improve the success of developing countries' trading by lowering trade barriers and adjusting other trade rules. This "development agenda" meant different things to rich and poor countries. In addition, many of the circumstances that supported success in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations of 1947 were no longer present after the WTO was founded in 1995. In Reconstructing the World Trade Organization for the 21st Century, Kent Jones examines the difficulties of the WTO in completing multilateral trade negotiations and possible ways to restore its ability to do so. The problem lies in the institutional structure it inherited from the GATT, which was designed for a more limited scope of trade negotiations among a relatively small number of wealthier, industrialized countries. Jones presents an institutional model of the GATT/WTO system, which describes why such an organization exists and how it is supposed to accomplish its goals. Institutional reforms will be necessary to restore the WTO's ability to complete global trade agreements, including a more flexible application of the consensus rule, a common understanding among all members about the limits of domestic policy space that is subject to negotiation, and clearer rules on reciprocity obligations. The popularity of bilateral and regional trade agreements, which have emerged as the alternative to WTO agreements, presents a threat to the WTO's relevance in trade negotiations, but also an opportunity to "multilateralize" new and deeper trade integration in future WTO agreements. Aid for trade may also play an instrumental role in bringing more developing countries into WTO disciplines. Above all, WTO members must develop new ways to find common ground in order to negotiate for mutual gains from trade.
This comprehensive account of the establishment of the WTO focuses on those who shaped its creation as well as those who have influenced its evolution. It also examines trade negotiations, the WTO's dispute settlement role, the process of joining, and what lies ahead for the organization.
The world is changing with extraordinary rapidity, driven by many influences, including shifts in production and consumption patterns, continuing technological innovation, new ways of doing business and, of course, policy. The World Trade Report 2013 focuses on how trade is both a cause and an effect of change and looks into the factors shaping the future of world trade. One of the most significant drivers of change is technology. Not only have revolutions in transport and communications transformed our world but new developments, such as 3D printing, and the continuing spread of information technology will continue to do so. Trade and foreign direct investment, together with a greater geographical spread of income growth and opportunity, will integrate a growing number of countries into more extensive international exchange. Higher incomes and larger populations will put new strains on both renewable and non-renewable resources, calling for careful resource management. Environmental issues will also call for increasing attention. Economic and political institutions along with the interplay of cultural customs among countries all help to shape international cooperation, including in the trade field. The future of trade will also be affected by the extent to which politics and policies successfully address issues of growing social concern, such as the availability of jobs and persistent income inequality. These and other factors are all examined in the World Trade Report 2013.
This book brings together members of the former WTO Director General's advisory group which was formed to provide him with expert advice before and after the Doha Ministerial Conference. Nine experts explore issues which are pertinent to the ongoing progress in negotiations, and their chapters are brought together with an overview introduction. All in all, this volume offers an excellent summary of key issues facing the WTO as it moves forward. It should prove essential reading for trade negotiators and scholars concerned with the post-Cancoun agenda.

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