Trade Policy Reforms and Development

Trade Policy Reforms and Development

Essays in Honour of Peter Lloyd, Volume II

Edited by Sisira Jayasuriya

Trade Policy Reforms and Development, comprises 11 essays offering new contributions on the following topics: globalisation and political economy of trade; trade, labour standards and economic crisis; the changing role of the WTO; competition policy and the WTO; choice of formulas for market access negotiations; regionalism and bilateralism in ASEAN; ANZUS free trade agreement; new criteria for optimum currency areas; trade policy and poverty in Asia; impact of agricultural trade reforms on poverty; and recent behaviour of US imports.

Chapter 3: Challenges facing the WTO: determining its role in international affairs

Gary P. Sampson

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics

Extract

3. Challenges facing the WTO: determining its role in international affairs Gary P. Sampson* INTRODUCTION For international trade economists, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was the institution that dealt with international trade policy from a multilateral perspective. If multilateral trade policy is what the World Trade Organization (WTO) occupies itself with – and indeed it is – then trade policy today extends its influence well beyond the subject matter that traditionally has been the grist of international trade economists. These expanding boundaries of the responsibilities of the WTO have increasingly become the subject of heated public debates and academic inquiry, and have manifested themselves under a variety of headings. Rules relating to intellectual property rights and trade in services were added to the WTO agenda as a result of the Uruguay Round, and competition policy, investment, government procurement and trade facilitation have emerged as prime candidates for new WTO Agreement.1 The declaration launching the Doha Development Round not only called for modalities for negotiations in all these areas but also launched negotiations in the very controversial area of trade and environment. This has raised the fury of some, while others have lamented the fact that human rights and labour standards were not included also. The controversy turns on whether the WTO is the appropriate body to deal with these matters, and if it is, whether it has the capacity to do so given what is considered by some to be both an overloaded and inappropriate agenda....

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