Energy and Trade in the Time of Destabilized Multilateralism: Innovative Economic Policies for the WTO

Anna Lanoszka


The multilateral trade system has been in trouble for over a decade. The set of international trade agreements managed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has never meaningfully expanded beyond its 1990s founding package. Instead, since early 2000s bilateral trade deals done outside the WTO have multiplied. The WTO is better known today for the troubled trajectory of the unfinished Doha Round. The rhetoric of economic nationalism by the current US Administration does not help. It is time to consider new creative options before the world trading system becomes irreparably fragmented by politics. To this extent the following article advocates an initiative of creating an open plurilateral agreement on services related to energy sector under the framework of the WTO’s GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). Energy security remains the key international issue. Initiating talks among interested countries on energy related services under GATS can move the WTO forward towards pragmatic solutions and encourage international cooperation on the critical economic matter.

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