International Trade and Investment Law

WTO breakthroughs fail to mask serious structural problems

November 23, 2014 − by Renata − in News − No Comments

Shawn Donnan, Financial Times, 16/11/2014

When India and the US last week ended a dispute that had paralysed the World Trade Organisation, it drew cheers from business groups: multilateralism is back.

Together with another deal struck with China a few days earlier to unlock negotiations on updating the rules on trade in IT products, the deal in India seemed to put things back on track at the WTO.

But is that really the lesson the corporate world should take from the events of the past week?

There is another side to the story and it is not as optimistic. What this breakthrough really illustrated is how even the simplest of things has become insanely hard to do in the WTO and how this has led to diminishing ambitions and expectations. And that is something the world’s most important economies have begun to recognise.

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