Trade Multilateralism in the 21st Century

image of Trade Multilateralism in the 21st Century

Trade multilateralism in the twenty-first-century century faces a serious test as weakness in the global economy and fast-paced technological changes create a challenging environment for world trade. This book examines how an updated and robust, rules-based multilateral framework, anchored in the WTO, remains indispensable to maximizing the benefits of global economic integration and to reviving world trade. By examining recent accessions to the WTO, it reveals how the growing membership of the WTO has helped to support domestic reforms and to strengthen the rules-based framework of the WTO. It argues that the new realities of the twenty-first century require an upgrade to the architecture of the multilateral trading system. By erecting its 'upper floors' on the foundation of existing trade rules, the WTO can continue to adapt to a fast-changing environment and to maximize the benefits brought about by its ever-expanding membership.



Post-Accession Support Platform

WTO obligations, including notification requirements, and specific accession commitments are complex. Most of them become effective from the date of WTO membership. From a centralized accession process, new members now suddenly have to adapt to a decentralized WTO procedures and participate in parallel in its multiple bodies. The twenty years of post-accession experience of Article XII members suggests that many, especially least-developed countries (LDCs), have faced major implementation challenges until a system of post-accession support was introduced recently. This chapter reviews the Post-Accession Support Platform (PASP), a framework developed by the WTO Secretariat to facilitate the transition from acceding economy to full-fledged WTO member. The PASP offers individual post-accession implementation strategies, technical assistance and capacity-building, best international practices, a dedicated website and internal Secretariat procedures that can be used to support new WTO members. The chapter reviews the use of the PASP by two recently acceded LDCs – Afghanistan and Liberia – and finds early signs of improved effectiveness in the WTO post-accession transition process.


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