Next-Generation Agreements and the WTO

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This paper reviews the trade agreement landscape and argues that the conventional understanding of trade agreements as encapsulated in the WTO Agreements is now outdated. This misperception about trade agreements is not just an institutional insufficiency. Concentration on those agreements has led many practitioners and commentators to underestimate the variable texture of the global trade agreement fabric. But these shortcomings have not inhibited states from concluding innovative alternatives to regulate and manage the cross-border movement of goods and services. As this paper shows, trade-related agreements that do not fit the perceived traditional mold have proliferated. Given these advances, more policy and scholarly attention is required. Accordingly, this paper serves as a roadmap for the accommodation of trade agreements within the WTO and as an agenda for additional research.


Special Issue: WTO at a Crossroads: The WTR 20th Anniversary Issue