Analysis and Overview of the WTO Reform Proposals
Clinic: UWI, Spring 2018
Short Summary of a Confidential project for an International Government Organization
The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the primary proposals emanating from Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning the reform of the WTO to improve its functioning. The writings of academics and trade professionals have also been consulted to aid with the execution of this task. The paper focuses on those proposals published on or before 1 April, 2019. These proposals are complex and cover various areas of the WTO. Though the impasse regarding the Appellate Body has captured the media’s attention, there are many other important areas of reform, such as the transparency function (and the proposed sanctions for States that fail to honour their notification obligations) and the restructuring of special and differential treatment.
(Student, Jacob Phillips, sharing an overview of the pilot clinic at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) and the confidential project)
A review of the proposals indicates that they are best categorized in accordance with the three main functions of the WTO, namely: (i) the negotiating function, (ii) the transparency function, (iii) the dispute settlement function. Since there is no single comprehensive proposal that captures all the areas of reform and represents the views of all WTO members, the paper assesses each proposal on a case-by-case basis. At the end of each section addressing the three main WTO functions – that is, the negotiating function, the transparency function, the dispute settlement function – recommendations are made. A brief discussion of the main recommendations is then provided in the concluding section of the memorandum.