1. The WTO’s decision making process: Does it need an institutional reform?
The financial crisis has highlighted the need for more international regulation of the global economy, not less. The Washington Consensus is no longer the prevailing ideology in Washington and around the globe. Leaders of the Group of 20 nations, including the major emerging economies, have called for a ‘Bretton Woods II’ to reform the IMF, in particular, and the World Bank. France and Germany have promoted a stronger regulatory role for the IMF over the global financial system, while Brazil and India have insisted that global power imbalances in the decision-making structures of the international financial organizations must be addressed first before any expansion of its mandate is contemplated. China has recently signalled that it is willing to contribute more money to the IMF, but only if major changes to its governance structures are made.
This is a particularly difficult time for international negotiations—witness the problems with the Doha Development Round—because new clubs and alliances have not yet been formed. China and India, in particular, are recognized by the United States and the European Union as major economic powers, but they are criticized for not yet using their influence and fulfilling their responsibilities on the world stage. In the Doha Round, for example, China and India are playing a watching, waiting, and learning game, rather than showing leadership in pressing for a conclusion. The real threat to the international community would come if these major developing country powers were to develop their own alliances and institutions and not participate in the established international economic institutions.
Furthermore, a major institutional negotiation in the Uruguay Round led to the establishment of the WTO as an international organization with its own charter and quasi-judicial dispute settlement system. In the transformation from the GATT to the WTO,...