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The World Trade Organization and the Future of Multilateralism

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  • Baldwin, Richard

Abstract

This paper looks that the future of multilateralism and the WTO in the light of its current problems and past successes. The main thesis is that WTO and the future of multilateralism are two different things. The ICT Revolution created a new type of trade – what might be called 21st century trade – where greater integration means more ‘factories crossing borders’. As a result, the flows that used happen only inside rich nation factories are now part of international commerce. These new, more complex cross-border flows go beyond, the 20th century trade that the WTO was set up to govern. For 20th century trade, the WTO and multilateralism are likely to continue even as the WTO’s centrality in global trade governance shrinks. Multilateralism for 21st century trade, however, has shifted to regional arrangements like TPP. Unless the WTO membership makes a big shift and embraces 21st century trade issues, the new mega-regional trade arrangements will act as loose governance organizations for 21st century trade. Whatever happens, it is clear that by the end of the decade, world trade governance will be quite different than it is today. The idea that the WTO is the central pillar of global trade governance will either be replaced by a multipolar system, or the WTO itself will be transformed.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, Richard, 2015. "The World Trade Organization and the Future of Multilateralism," CEPR Discussion Papers 11021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:worlde:v:39:y:2016:i:12:p:1934-1946 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Josef Schroth, 2016. "Supervising Financial Regulators," Staff Working Papers 16-52, Bank of Canada.
    3. repec:bla:apacel:v:30:y:2016:i:2:p:57-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ecmode:v:71:y:2018:i:c:p:99-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:ces:ifosdt:v:70:y:2017:i:11:p:03-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Randolph Bruno & Nauro Campos & Saul Estrin & Meng Tian, 2017. "Economic Integration, Foreign Investment and International Trade: The Effects of Membership of the European Union," CEP Discussion Papers dp1518, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Latorre, María C. & Yonezawa, Hidemichi, 2018. "Stopped TTIP? Its potential impact on the world and the role of neglected FDI," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 99-120.
    8. Nuno Limão, 2016. "Preferential Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 22138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jovanović, Miroslav, 2016. "Emerging Mega International Blocs: Limits and Prospects," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 69(4), pages 271-316.
    10. David R. DeRemer, 2016. "The Principle of Reciprocity in the 21st Century," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1613, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    21st century trade; GVCs; Mulilateralism; WTO;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration

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