Bilateral Trade and Multilateral Trade Agreements

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"In the last years, we have seen the WTO being stuck, while regional & bilateral trade agreements gained ground, so how would you assess the role of the WTO in the upcoming decade and do you think that the WTO will need to adjust to this new environment, if so, how?" The proliferation of preferential trade agreements and regional trade agreements have in the global trading environment have seen has significantly shaped the day to day conduct of international business transaction since the GAAT formally formed five decades ago. Several researchers have pointed out that whilst bilateral agreements may be tempting for a developing country to get some specific advantages from its developed-country partner, such as better market access for some of its products, there are also several potential dangers and disadvantages. Developed countries such as the US and Japan are known to want to use the instrument of bilateral agreements to obtain from their partners what they failed to achieve at the WTO, in which the developing countries have been able to oppose or resist certain negative elements in various agreements. The proliferation of so many agreements also puts pressure on personnel and financial resources in developing countries and requires a lot of technical expertise which may be not adequately available, given the large number of agreements and the limited resources. WTO has a role of effectively making sure that countries do not take advantage of each however make sure that their relations are not destroyed. Therefore is important for the WTO to revise role so as produce strong and modern multilateral trading system coupled with regional trade agreements which amplify rather than undermine its benefits is the mature answer to this generation of new regional trade agreements. In order to ensure coherence between the WTO and regional trade agreements, regional trade agreements should be promptly notified to the WTO and reviewed by its peers before the regional...
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