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The International Trading System and Its Future


  • Rachel McCulloch

    () (Department of Economics, Brandeis University)


This chapter describes the evolution and structure of the international trading system, focusing on the tension between the fundamental GATT/WTO principle of most-favored-nation (MFN) treatment and the proliferation of discriminatory trading arrangements, including regional agreements as well as new versions of special and differential treatment of low-income countries. It also discusses the increasing pressure to use the enforcement power of the GATT/WTO system to achieve member compliance with social norms in the areas of labor and environment. The chapter concludes by considering some significant challenges that currently face the international trading system and possible directions of the system’s evolution in response to these challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel McCulloch, 2010. "The International Trading System and Its Future," Working Papers 08, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  • Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chad Bown & Rachel McCulloch, 2010. "Developing countries, dispute settlement, and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 33-63.
    2. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization Toward Nonmembers?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1531-1575.
    3. Hoekman, Bernard & Martin, Will & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2010. "Conclude Doha: it matters!," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 505-530, July.
    4. Masahiro Kawai & Peter A. Petri & Elif Sisli Ciamarra, 2010. "Asia in Global Governance: A Case for Decentralized Institutions," Chapters,in: Asian Regionalism in the World Economy, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Michael G. Plummer, 2007. "'Best Practices' in Regional Trading Agreements: An Application to Asia," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(12), pages 1771-1796, December.
    6. Meredith A. Crowley, 2003. "An introduction to the WTO and GATT," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 42-57.
    7. Will Martin & Patrick Messerlin, 2007. "Why is it so difficult? Trade liberalization under the Doha Agenda," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 347-366, Autumn.
    8. Robert Z. Lawrence, 2008. "International Organisations: The Challenge of Aligning Mission, Means and Legitimacy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(11), pages 1455-1470, November.
    9. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Woan Foong Wong, 2010. "Figuring Out the Doha Round," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa91, October.
    10. Richard Pomfret, 2007. "Is Regionalism an Increasing Feature of the World Economy?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(6), pages 923-947, June.
    11. Staiger, Robert W. & Sykes, Alan O., 2010. "‘Currency manipulation’ and world trade," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 583-627, October.
    12. Bown, Chad P. & McCulloch, Rachel, 2009. "U.S.-Japan and U.S.-China trade conflict: Export growth, reciprocity, and the international trading system," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 669-687, November.
    13. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Steve Charnovitz & Jisun Kim, 2009. "Global Warming and the World Trading System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4280.
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