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Trade Rules Urgently Need to Play Catch-up with Modern Commerce

Posted October 06, 2014

Under International Trade Issues

(Shawn Donnan – Financial Times)

WTO battles are fought using texts last updated in 1994

Twelve months ago, the big contest for trade officials was over who could close the big deal: the 159 members of the World Trade Organisation seeking to breathe life into the Doha round, or 12 countries that had struck out on their own for free commerce around the Pacific Rim?

It was a race between multilateralism and megaregionalism. Negotiators working a WTO agreement – and the rival team behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership – hurried through late-night talks and early morning conference calls back to their capitals, intent on getting their deals done.

A year on, what once seemed to be an exciting sprint to liberalisation has slowed and looks more like an endless, agonising crawl. Read more here.