Global Trends, Transnational Coalitions, Global Institutions — Better Multilateral Architecture Needed.

Die Flotte des Unternehmens besteht aus mehr als 140 Containerschiffen, Massengutfrachtern und Tankern. (Quelle: Hanjin Shipping)

     Global trade has slowed. The WTO is struggling with the completion of the Doha Round. Many newer forces are at work as evidenced by the items below.  For example, the role of states and cities in global trade is vastly ignored. The bottom line is that to help deal with these newer forces a more effective global architecture is needed. It is in the interest of the U.S. to help foster global reenergizing and reengineering to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

  •  The National Intelligence Council in a recent report discusses many issues. Of particular interest are two charts that outline issues concerning global governance and the role of U.S. power over the next 15 years.  Global Trends 2030 — Alternative Worlds.“`(National Intelligence Council, December 2012). 
  • The former Director-General of the WTO Lamy, now Chairman of the Oxford Martin Commission, declared in its recent report that the 20th century multilateral organizations need to be restructured to cope with the 21st century, especially as to  membership and role of newer states. It recommends an inter-organizational  coalition of countries, companies and cities to attack the problems of the 21st century. “Global Institutions Need Revamp.” Financial Times (Oct. 17, 2013). (Oxford Martin Commission Report — Executive Summary.)
  •  The EU and Canada have moved closer to completing a bilateral trade agreement. This would have to be approved by the provinces within Canada and additional internal approvals within the EU. This accord represents further global trade liberalization despite the continuing failure of  Doha. “EU and Canada Move Towards Bilateral Trade Accord.” Financial Times (Oct. 19, 2013).
  • An interesting article notes a parallel between developing global rules and a global architecture governing international trade, on-the-one-hand, and drone warfare and offensive cyber-capabilities, on-the-other. It goes on to argue that there is a need to reengineer and reenergize the existing system and to extend it to newer areas. “America’s Not in Decline.Washington Post (Oct. 20, 2013).
  • The growth of global trade has declined to less than global growth. There has been a break in the 2:1 historic relationship between global trade and global growth. (From about 7% to 2.5% global trade growth.) Recently more restrictive practices have been adopted and structural changes (such as e-commerce and globalization) seem to have been played out. Regional trade agreements seem to have become more popular. “Trade: Into Uncharted Waters.” Financial Times (Oct. 25, 2013).

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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