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- Mega-Regional Trade Agreements | Thilo Rensmann | Springer
- International Trade Law Research Guide
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They enable businesses and governments to respond proactively to competitive challenges and create higher common-denominator trade agreements. And if designed with open architecture, they hold open the option of building out eventually to a healthier multilateral outcome. If regional trade agreements and their power asymmetries take over, there is a risk that the WTO would go down in future history books as a year experiment where world trade was rules-based instead of power-based.
It would, at least for a few more years, be a world where rich nations write the new rules of the road in settings marked by vast power asymmetries. This trend should worry all world leaders. Cars and containers are seen in the port of Lazaro Cardenas November 20, Tomas Hirst , Editorial director and co-founder, Pieria magazine.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum. I accept.
Mega-Regional Trade Agreements
This could, in turn, produce inefficient levels of domestic regulation, which could lead to domestic political backlash and potentially failed trade agreements. Yet the explosion in the number of RTAs since the early s is unparalleled in earlier eras, and the policy issues covered by these RTAs are increasingly complex. Unfortunately, although the WTO membership appears to recognize problems associated with RTAs that might undermine the multilateral system, the WTO has taken only a few concrete steps thus far to address the competition introduced by RTAs.
The WTO secretariat's economics research staff has brought the risks of RTAs to the attention of the membership by devoting its annual flagship publication to the topic. More analysis and data collection are needed to better understand and showcase potential conflicts between RTAs and multilateral cooperation, even if the RTA provisions are not direct violations of the WTO agreements. For example, the WTO's integrated database on import tariffs does not contain information on preferential tariffs arising under RTAs.
It also provides little information nontariff barriers that may arise under the provisions of RTAs and discriminate against excluded countries.
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There are many reasons why these new trade provisions have not been successful at the WTO. Some developing countries resist their inclusion because of the unfulfilled promises of the Uruguay Round and failure to conclude the Doha Development Round.
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The WTO's single undertaking approach is a recent development that resulted from the Uruguay Round of negotiations — However, under the two immediately preceding multilateral sets of negotiations — the Kennedy Round —67 and the Tokyo Round —79 — the results also included a set of plurilateral agreements that applied to only those GATT members who accepted their obligations. They addressed a number of new — at the time — nontariff measures affecting trade, including antidumping, subsidies and countervailing duties, standards or technical barriers to trade, government procurement, import licensing, and customs valuation.
Today, the WTO retains a legal mechanism to allow members to develop new plurilateral agreements.
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This can also arise through what are referred to as critical mass agreements CMAs. China and India are not yet parties. Two different trade agreements covering the same economic market access jurisdiction with competing court systems would not work. More should be done to strengthen the WTO dispute settlement system.
Mega-Regional Trade Agreements | Thilo Rensmann | Springer
Each of these staffing improvements would contribute to a more efficient dispute resolution process and enhance support for and trust in the multilateral system. Finally, discussions could be launched, perhaps on a plurilateral basis initially, to bring investment disputes into a multilateral system similar to the WTO. In the long term, this appears to be an aim of the European Commission, which included the idea of setting up a permanent international investment court in their TTIP ISDS proposal of Strengthening the WTO's dispute settlement provisions and legislating new rules to address 21st century trade issues through plurilaral agreements will also ensure a resilient WTO that can continue to provide its third critical function: The Great Recession illustrates the point.
In , the global economy became embroiled in the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, presenting the WTO with its first major stress test.
Global trade flows collapsed, and the global proliferation of the financial crisis sparked fears that protectionist forces had either struck or might still be forthcoming. Other players — such as the World Bank and Global Trade Alert — emerged to enhance transparency in the trade regime. But their monitoring efforts were only possible because of the trade policy reporting infrastructure that the WTO system had put in place long before the crisis. Although the WTO may have reacted slowly and imperfectly during the crisis, the major RTAs at the time made no contribution to transparency.
In the interests of transparency and nondiscrimination, the WTO remains an indispensable institution.
International Trade Law Research Guide
Chad P. Volume 8 , Issue 1. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. About this book This book provides an in-depth analysis of "Mega-Regionals", the new generation of trans-regional free-trade agreements FTAs currently under negotiation, and their effect on the future of international economic law.
Show all. Table of contents 14 chapters Table of contents 14 chapters Mega-Regionals: Petersmann, Ernst-Ulrich Pages Pages Krajewski, Markus Pages Show next xx. Read this book on SpringerLink.