Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Everyone is Doing It: The WTO Plans Reform

Just so they are not left off the international institution reform bandwagon, the WTO released a study yesterday by a panel of eminent persons proposing certain reforms. The news coverage has been light, especially when compared to the possible reforms at the UN, but this could be just as significant in many ways.

I will blog about the report in more detail later, but it is worth noting for now that the study's discussion of whether the WTO infringes on national sovereignty (which appears to be written by Georgetown law prof John Jackson). The study eschews the strategy of, say some UN advocates, who often pooh-pooh the sovereignty issue as ravings of folks like Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader. Instead, it adopts a pragmatic balancing that focuses on the costs and benefits of reducing sovereignty.

Ultimately what counts is whether the balance between some loss of "policy space" at the national level and the advantages of cooperation and the rule fo law at the multilateral elvel is positive or negative. Our view is that it is already positive for all WTO members and will increasingly be so in the future.