International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


Systemic Issues for Commonwealth Small States in the Current Functioning of the WTO

Small states face significant hurdles in securing the potential benefits of trade to their economies and in protecting themselves against trade practices and rules that harm their interests. This study explores the systemic issues and challenges confronted by Commonwealth small states in the multilateral trading system, and identifies two sets of priorities for these countries. First, the substantive content of trade agreements must account for the particular needs, constraints and vulnerabilities of small states. Second, WTO members need to address the systemic issues facing the WTO in ways that ensure small states can use and benefit from all of the functions the multilateral trading system offers. To help enable Commonwealth small states to participate meaningfully in debates on WTO reform, the paper highlights areas of particular importance and sets forth options and proposals they could consider advancing.


Keywords: multilateral trading system, WTO reform, small states, trade, trade agreements
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