In a world of rapid technological change, the WTO can be characterized as operating on rules developed in the last century where the ability to change has proven very elusive with an ever expanding membership of countries and territories with very different economic systems and various levels of development and a decision system premised on consensus. Thus, while there have been some successes in the 24-year history of the WTO in terms of completed negotiations, most view the multilateral negotiating function as seriously challenged if not largely dysfunctional, and there are serious concerns among some about whether non-market economic systems, like China’s, are adequately addressed by the current WTO rules. The question on the table now is whether the WTO members can reform and renew the WTO rulebook to address current realities.
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