WTO Reform Priorities Post-Covid-19

12 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2021

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: December 30, 2020


Although the WTO has fulfilled several key tasks it was set up to do – providing periodic reviews of members’ trade policies, resolving disputes, supporting negotiations – with the notable exceptions of the Trade Facilitation and Information Technology agreements, WTO members have not been able to negotiate new rules on “bread and butter” trade policies. The importance of doing so was illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic which saw widespread uncoordinated recourse to trade policy instruments. This paper highlights four reforms that would bolster the effectiveness of the WTO as a forum for trade cooperation: (1) improving collection and reporting of information on trade-related policies; (2) supporting analysis-informed deliberation to establish a common understanding of the need and scope for cooperation in specific policy areas; (3) putting in place a stronger multilateral governance framework for plurilateral cooperation between groups of WTO members; and (4) re-establishing an effective dispute settlement system.

Keywords: WTO Reform, Trade Cooperation, Transparency, Plurilateral Agreements, Dispute Settlement

JEL Classification: F02, F13, F55

Suggested Citation

Hoekman, Bernard, WTO Reform Priorities Post-Covid-19 (December 30, 2020). East Asian Economic Review Vol. 24, No. 4 (December 2020) 337-348, , https://dx.doi.org/10.11644/KIEP.EAER.2020.24.4.383, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3766571 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3766571

Bernard Hoekman (Contact Author)

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies ( email )

Fiesole, Tuscany

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

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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