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Handbook of Trade Policy for Development$
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Arvid Lukauskas, Robert M. Stern, and Gianni Zanini

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680405.001.0001

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The Multilateral Trading System

The Multilateral Trading System

Chapter:
(p.35) Chapter 2 The Multilateral Trading System
Source:
Handbook of Trade Policy for Development
Author(s):

Robert M. Stern

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680405.003.0002

Robert Stern examines the underlying norms, architecture, and functions of the multilateral trading system and its institutions, notably, the GATT and the WTO. In the early post-World War II years, the core principles of non-discrimination and reciprocity largely shaped international trade relations, but by 1994, with the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, several developments began to challenge the prevailing framework. Chief among these were the proliferation of preferential trade agreements and the efforts by developed nations to broaden the trade agenda to include efforts to promote the convergence of a wide range of internal political, social, and economic issues, often dubbed “behind the border” measures. Stern examines various objections to the WTO, but finds that overall it serves an extremely useful purpose. Nonetheless, he expresses concern that the expansion of the boundaries of the WTO may result in overextension and less effectiveness.

Keywords:   Trade architecture, trade institutions, WTO, GATT, multilateral system, convergence, Uruguay Round

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