A Development-Driven Post WTO World
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The unitarian project of the WTO has reached its limits: it has successfully achieved significant political economy convergence throughout the world, but the costs and adequacy of neoliberalism are now squarely challenged. More specifically, the dominant interpretation of WTO agreements that subordinates developmental issues to trade liberalization is problematic to developing countries. As the legal flexibilities for developmental policies at the WTO are limited and dwindling, developing countries are using de facto flexibilities. Moreover, developing countries, like their rich country counterparts, are seeking alternative trade agreements outside the WTO. What does that mean for the WTO system and international economic law more generally? Moving away from the unitarian ethos of the WTO, a pluralist order can create positive opportunities both at the WTO and outside of it to respond to pressures. However, to ensure a pluralist order is development friendly, such a regime must meet the core needs of the emerging economies for market access and policy diversity.
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