The developments leading up to Bali are really interesting. So is the rise of more regional trade negotiations. This includes the Russian-backed Customs Union. Will Bali succeed? If so will it arrest the trend to mega-regional agreements? The future course in global trade rule-making may be at stake. Here’s some additional information concerning these developments and questions.
The former Director-General of the WTO Pascal Lamy declared that it’s the U.S. Congress and France that oppose the opening of trade. He argued that the WTO needs to address the newer trade issues of competition, investment and regulatory standards. These are newer barriers to trade today, especially regulatory standards). “WTO Ex-Head Hits at Trade.” Financial Times (Nov. 26, 2013).
Regional trade blocs seem to be forming more frequently. May not be only a reaction to the current failure of Doha but an aspect of a new cold war. “Russian-Backed Free-Trade Zone.” New York Times (11.29.13).
New dynamics are at work in the run up to Bali. This may lead to a successful conclusion of the trade negotiations. The ‘North-South’ dispute is fracturing as the emerging markets view their interests differently. (India seems to be the holdout over subsidies for agriculture and there seems to be a consensus for developing newer rules promoting trade facilitation.) “Bali Talks Set to Showcase WTO’s Changing Dynamics.” Financial Times (11.29.13).
Good discussion of the forthcoming Bali Ministerial as being a test for writing new rules of international commerce in a more inclusive manner and as competition between multilateralism and ‘mega-regionalism.‘ “WTO: Up in the Air.” Financial Times (December 3, 2013).