The multilateral trading system embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is adrift due to the prolonged and sluggish Doha Round. Eighteen years have passed since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round in 1993, and the Doha Round is nowhere near conclusion. Against this backdrop, we will examine the following issues with an aim to strengthen the foothold of Japan as an advocate for the WTO and global trading system.
1. Reform of the WTO
We will examine the necessary actions to conclude successfully the Doha Round and further reform the WTO system, based on which we will put forward our policy recommendations.
2. Plurilateral trading rules
Major achievements in WTO after its establishment include the Financial Services Agreement, the Basic Telecommunications Services Agreement, and the Information Technology Agreement (ITA)--all concluded under the plurilateral framework. In this research project, we will conduct case studies focusing on the ITA and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), another plurilateral agreement signed in October 2011, both of which the project leader was actively involved in and contributed to the rulemaking process. Using findings from the case studies as reference, we will examine the possibility and limitations of plurilateral agreements from multi-faceted viewpoints and put forward policy proposals.
3. Trading rules for the "new areas"
In addition to the stagnation in the negotiation process, the narrowness of the areas negotiated in the Doha Round has been a problem, causing the business and industrial communities to lose interest in the WTO. In this project, we will attempt to explore new areas of negotiation, focusing on some areas that are closely associated with international corporate activities such as standards and conformance. Specifically, we will examine and put forward basic ideas and prescriptions for how to deal with such new issues in multi-, pluri-, and bilateral frameworks.
October 25, 2011 - July 31, 2012