Future challenges for the world trading system
Drawing together a number of the issues that have been discussed in earlier chapters in this book, several themes emerge that pose major challenges to the future of the world trading system. The period from 2016 to the publication of this book has been characterized by increasing criticism of and challenge to the fundamental economic and legal tenets of the previously established trade regime. These criticisms and challenge raise important questions about how to deal with the inevitable economic churn and need for adjustment that characterizes domestic and international markets.
In addition, we take the opportunity in this concluding chapter to address two emerging issues that have not been addressed earlier in this book: economic migration and digital commerce.
While the one-country one-vote and consensus principles have served the World Trading System well for much of its history, principles that worked well when the GATT/WTO system had a relatively small number of members do not work nearly as well today with a WTO membership of more than 160 countries in widely varying stages of economic, social, and political development, as reflected in the gridlock in the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. However, reforming the current decision-making processes of the WTO presents formidable challenges. Moving to a regime of majoritarian or representative decision-making puts large members (such as the USA or the EU) at risk of being out-voted by smaller member countries on important issues and may threaten their commitment to the organization. Conversely, moving...
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