The WTO’s Crisis: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
KFG Working Paper Series, No. 42, Berlin Potsdam Research Group 'The International Rule of Law - Rise or Decline?' (2020)
34 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 2020
The perception of the WTO is currently one of an organisation in crisis. Yet, appraisal varies regarding its extent and seriousness: Is it merely a rough time or are we standing on the edge of destruction? The article will trace developments inside as well as outside the WTO in order to assess the magnitude of the crisis. It will be argued that while certain developments inside the organisation, when seen in accumulation would already warrant serious attention, only together with developments taking place outside of the WTO, the two strands of developments unfold their full potential for the crisis. The overall situation renders the WTO in a difficult position, as it is currently unable to adapt to these challenges, while keeping calm and carrying on might similarly further the crisis. While States might improve and further develop their trade relations in bi- and plurilateral agreements, it is only the WTO that reflects and stands for the multilateral post (cold) war order.
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