The OECD Contribution to the Evolution of 21st Century Trade Law
The George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 43, pp. 277-293, 2011
18 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 2, 2012
This paper begins with a puzzle about the differing contributions of the OECD and the WTO to the evolution of international trade law before suggesting that the resolution might lie in their differing capacity to support social learning and mutual obligation. The paper then looks back on the contributions the organization has made to the evolution of trade law over the past half century, with particular reference to the vital development of the ideas that made the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations possible. This look back at the different strengths of the OECD and the WTO supports a conclusion that the OECD shapes trade law, but it is not a site for the codification of trade law, which happens in the WTO. The OECD proves to be an invaluable forum for social learning, for the development of consensual knowledge about how the world works. The paper concludes that the OECD’s ability to facilitate the development of consensual understanding may prove invaluable in working with the emerging economies on the issues some call the new trade policy.
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