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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Trade Policy Flexibility and Enforcement in the WTO: A Law and Economics Analysis

ISBN13: 9780521761208
Published: August 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £79.99
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781107638181

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an incomplete contract among sovereign countries. Trade policy flexibility mechanisms are designed to deal with contractual gaps, which are the inevitable consequence of this contractual incompleteness. Trade policy flexibility mechanisms are backed up by enforcement instruments which allow for punishment of illegal extra-contractual conduct.

This book offers a legal and economic analysis of contractual escape and punishment in the WTO. It assesses the interrelation between contractual incompleteness, trade policy flexibility mechanisms, contract enforcement, and WTO Members' willingness to co-operate and to commit to trade liberalization. It contributes to the body of WTO scholarship by providing a systematic assessment of the weaknesses of the current regime of escape and punishment in the WTO, and the systemic implications that these weaknesses have for the international trading system, before offering a reform agenda that is concrete, politically realistic, and systemically viable.

  • Contract-theoretic assessment of the WTO sheds light on its nature and objectives, and also the need for flexibility and enforcement mechanisms
  • Comprehensive review of rationales for trade agreements explains the motivations behind multilateral trade-liberalization treaties (such as the WTO)
  • Proposes a new system of trade policy flexibility and enforcement that retains the basic WTO principles and contextual constraints

International Trade
1. Introduction: trade policy flexibility in the WTO – vice or virtue?

Part I. An Introduction to Incomplete Contracting:
2. Complete contracts, and the contracting ideal
3. Incomplete contracting, and the essence of flexibility

Part II. Theorizing About the WTO as an Incomplete Contract:
4. Adding context: the WTO as an incomplete contract
5. Analyzing the system of non-performance in the WTO

Part III. Flexibility and Enforcement in the WTO: Towards an Agenda for Reform:
6. Theorizing about the ‘WTO’ as an efficient ‘breach’ contract
7. Towards an efficient ‘breach’ contract: an agenda for reform.