This paper advocates changes in the corporate governance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reflect the decline in tariffs and other border restraints to commerce and the emerging challenges of advancing freer trade and better regulation cooperation in a world economy dominated by global value chains. Together, these changes form an integration strategy that we refer to as the new WTO Think. This strategy remains rooted in the original rationale of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) of reducing the negative externalities of unilateral action and solving important international coordination challenges, but is more inclusive of regulators and non-state actors and more flexible and positive in its means. In particular, we advocate that the WTO should embrace the confluence of shared social preferences and trade, where it exists, as a motivation for advancing international regulatory cooperation. The WTO should also multilateralize the important regulatory cooperation occurring in smaller clubs of like-minded countries and better facilitate the use of plurilateral agreements where consensus across all WTO members is not yet possible.
Thomas J. Bollyky & Petros C. Mavroidis,
Trade, Social Preferences, and Regulatory Cooperation: The New WTO-Think,
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Global Governance Programme Working Paper No. RSCAS 2016/45; Columbia Law & Economics Working Paper No. 546
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