Preventing the Bad from Getting Worse: The End of the World (Trade Organization) As We Know It?

37 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2020

See all articles by Bernard Hoekman

Bernard Hoekman

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

Petros C. Mavroidis

Columbia University - Law School; European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW); European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS)

Date Written: January 1, 2020

Abstract

Recent survey evidence and proposals made in long-running negotiations to improve WTO dispute settlement procedures illustrate that many stakeholders believe the system needs improvement. The Appellate Body crisis could have been avoided but for the use of consensus as WTO working practice. Resolving the crisis should prove possible because the matter mostly concerns a small number of more powerful WTO members. We make several proposals to revitalize the WTO appellate function but argue that unless the WTO becomes a locus for new rulemaking, re-establishing the appellate function will not prevent a steady decline in the salience of the organization. A key challenge is that plurilateral cooperation go beyond a focus on good regulatory practices and coordination failures and address sources of major trade spillovers. Doing so will depend on resolving the dispute settlement conflict given the need for new plurilateral agreements to be enforceable.

Keywords: WTO; Appellate Body; dispute settlement; trade agreements; decision-making

JEL Classification: F15; K40

Suggested Citation

Hoekman, Bernard and Hoekman, Bernard and Mavroidis, Petros C., Preventing the Bad from Getting Worse: The End of the World (Trade Organization) As We Know It? (January 1, 2020). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2020/06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3531704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3531704

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

Petros C. Mavroidis

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
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

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