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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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    Cited by:

    1. João Amador & Sónia Cabral & Rossana Mastrandrea & Franco Ruzzenenti, 2018. "Who’s Who in Global Value Chains? A Weighted Network Approach," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(5), pages 1039-1059, November.
    2. Willem Thorbecke & Nimesh Salike, 2016. "Understanding FDI and production networks in East Asia," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 30(2), pages 57-71, November.
    3. David Horan, 2019. "Compensation strategies to enact new governance frameworks for SDG transformations," Public Sector Economics, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 43(4), pages 375-400.
    4. Emanuel Ornelas & John L. Turner & Grant Bickwit, 2018. "Preferential Trade Agreements and Global Sourcing," CESifo Working Paper Series 7327, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. 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.
    6. Peter Becker & Jörg Haas & Carsten Hefeker & Steffen Hindelang & Eberhard Eichenhofer & Christian Tietje & Susanne Wixforth & Nicolai von Ondarza & René Repasi & Klaus Günter Deutsch & Stefan Mair & G, 2017. "Die Verhandlungen zum Brexit: Finanzielle und wirtschaftliche Auswirkungen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 70(11), pages 03-40, June.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Gulzar Ali & Zhaohua Li, 2017. "An Empirical Investigation on the Role of exports, imports and its Determinants in Foreign Trade of Pakistan," Information Management and Business Review, AMH International, vol. 8(6), pages 39-58.
    11. José R. Sánchez-Fung, 2016. "Reviewing Trade Policy in China During the Transition to Balanced Economic Growth," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(12), pages 1934-1946, December.
    12. Sheldon, Ian M. & Chow, Daniel C.K. & McGuire, William, 2017. "Trade Liberalization and Institutional Constraints on Moves to Protectionism: Multilateralism vs. Regionalism," 2018 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 266305, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Josef Schroth, 2016. "Supervising Financial Regulators," Staff Working Papers 16-52, Bank of Canada.
    14. Heidi Hardt, 2018. "Who matters for memory: Sources of institutional memory in international organization crisis management," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 457-482, September.
    15. Alia, Didier Y. & Zheng, Yuqing & Kusunose, Yoko & Reed, Michael R., 2017. "Trade effects of food regulations and standards: Assessing the impact of SPS measures on market structure," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258368, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    16. Choudhury, Sanchari, 2019. "WTO membership and corruption," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    17. Nuno Limão, 2016. "Preferential Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 22138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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