Master of Laws
Carmody, Chios C.
The thesis examines the viability of the ‘critical mass’ approach to negotiations as a proper substitute for conventional negotiating formats in present and future World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations. The thesis provides an overview of the traditional negotiating formats in the WTO and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1947 (GATT 1947). A case study approach is adopted in the thesis to explain the concept of the critical mass-based negotiating modality in the WTO context. The primary case studies are the existing WTO Information Technology Agreement, the WTO Basic Telecommunication Agreement, the WTO Financial Services Agreement, and the projected WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. The thesis concludes that due to various requirements implicit in its model, the ‘critical mass’ technique may not be a suitable substitute negotiating format for every present and future WTO trade negotiation.
Summary for Lay Audience
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement, which succeeded the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs of 1947 (GATT 1947), was concluded in 1994. The WTO Agreement’s institutional form took shape in the WTO as an international organization that administers the regulation of trading activities between member states. The WTO Agreement replicates most of the GATT 1947 but is silent as to the method by which trade negotiations are to be conducted. Some of the methods that have been used effectively require unanimous or near-unanimous approval, causing problems in the ability of the WTO membership to negotiate or extend successful trade agreements over the years. As a result of institutional paralysis partly caused by traditional negotiating modalities, the ‘critical mass’ approach has been suggested as a possible way forward for present and future WTO negotiations. Through case study analysis, this thesis examines to what extent a critical mass-based approach to trade negotiations can apply and be useful in the WTO negotiating context generally. The thesis concludes that due to various requirements implicit in its model the ‘critical mass’ approach may not be a suitable substitute negotiating format for every present and future WTO trade negotiation.
Adeyemi, Temitope O., "A 'Critical Mass' Approach to Negotiations in the WTO: A Case Study Analysis" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8139.