Proposals for WTO Reform: A Synthesis and Assessment

28 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Bernard Hoekman

Bernard Hoekman

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper summarizes the major arguments and proposals to reform the modus operandi of the World Trade Organization --including decision-making procedures, negotiating modalities, and dispute settlement. Much has already been done to improve the internal and external transparency of World Trade Organization processes. Some proposals for structural reform ignore incentive constraints and the fact that the World Trade Organization is an incomplete contract that must be self-enforcing. Others -- such as calls for a "critical mass" approach to negotiations --can already be pursued (and have been). The agenda for international cooperation increasingly revolves around "behind-the-border" regulatory externalities that do not necessarily lend themselves to binding commitments in a trade agreement. This suggests a focus on strengthening notification/surveillance and developing more effective mechanisms for dialogue on regulatory policies that may create negative spillovers.

Keywords: Economic Theory & Research, Trade Law, World Trade Organization, Trade and Services, Free Trade

Suggested Citation

Hoekman, Bernard, Proposals for WTO Reform: A Synthesis and Assessment (January 1, 2011). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5525, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1747428

Bernard Hoekman (Contact Author)

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies ( email )

Fiesole, Tuscany
Italy

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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