Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Sustained high growth in many developing countries (‘the rise of the rest’) combined with long-standing WTO working practices hampers the ability of the WTO to perform its routine functions and paralyzes efforts to adapt to new circumstances. Preferential trade agreements have taken up some of the slack in addressing differences in domestic regulation of product safety, environmental and social conditions, but are exclusionary and inefficient from a global perspective. In this paper, we argue that a new type of agreement based on open plurilateral cooperation offers better prospects for groups of countries to explore and develop their potential common interests on regulatory matters, while safeguarding core aspects of their national regulatory sovereignty and in-creasing the possibility of regenerating the WTO from within.

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