Promoting Good Governance: From Encouraging a Principle to Taking Concrete Action – Examples from WTO Accession Protocols and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Long proposed in aspirational terms, good governance has increasingly become a subject of substantive global policy debate and international rule-making. An analysis of recent negotiating exercises, such as World Trade Organization (WTO) accession protocols and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), shows that governance has been discussed among WTO members and embedded in WTO rules. This chapter first examines how WTO accession protocols addressed the issue of governance improvement by subjecting acceding governments to binding, accession-specific commitments. These commitments, in addition to ensuring greater market openness and integration in the rules-based global economy, established the legal basis for the increased rule of law for acceding members. The commitments undertaken by these members demonstrate their adherence to principles of transparency and predictability of trade policies, as well as their overall commitment to subject domestic trade regimes to international trade law. Improved governance is achieved through the entirety of WTO accession-specific commitments on rules, including the ones on transparency, policy enforcement, trading rights, state trading/ state-owned enterprises (STEs/SOEs) and government procurement. A similar trend can be observed when analysing the good governance provisions of the new TFA, albeit with differences in their modus operandi. WTO members took a multifaceted and indirect approach, seeking to improve integrity by increasing transparency, strengthening due process rights and reducing space for discretionary action. Together, good governance provisions in accession protocols and the TFA contribute to building the upper floors of the new multilateral trading system by creating a binding set of rules and new standards that will be respected by virtually the entire trading world.

-contentType:WorkingPaperSeries -contentType:Periodical -contentType:BookSeries -contentType:ReportSeries
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error