DP10204 Embracing Diversity: Plurilateral Agreements and the Trading System

Author(s): Bernard Hoekman, Petros C Mavroidis
Publication Date: October 2014
Keyword(s): multilateralism, plurilateral agreement, regulatory cooperation, trade agreements, WTO
JEL(s): F13, K32
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10204

Plurilateral agreements in the WTO context allow sub-sets of countries to agree to commitments in specific policy areas that only apply to signatories, and thus allow for ?variable geometry? in the WTO. Current WTO rules make it much more difficult to pursue the plurilateral route than to negotiate a preferential trade agreement outside the WTO. We argue that this is inefficient from a global welfare and trading system perspective and that WTO Members should facilitate the negotiation of new plurilateral agreements on regulatory matters.