A more subtle argument, and I want to say to my trade colleague, Scott Miller, that he has explained this argument, is that multilateral agreements discourage countries from making multilateral concessions. If, for example, you are in Vietnam and, as a result of the comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement, you now have zero tariffs with Japan (and other partners) on a wide range of issues, you are much less interested in a multilateral agreement that would reduce tariffs for all , because it would sweeten the advantage you have with Japan. There are advantages to being in the tent, so to speak, but the more you let the tent in, the smaller your particular advantage will be. A multilateral treaty is a particular form of multilateral treaties. A multilateral treaty is a contract between a limited number of states that have a particular interest in the subject of the treaty. [2] The main difference between a multilateral treaty and other multilateral treaties is that the availability of reserves is more limited by a multilateral treaty. Given the limited nature of a multilateral treaty, full cooperation between the parties is necessary for the purpose of the treaty to be respected. Therefore, reservations about multi-lateral contracts are not admissible without the agreement of all other contracting parties. This principle is codified in international law by Article 20, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention on Treaty Law: at the World Trade Organization, the term “multilateral agreement” is used.

A multi-lateral agreement implies that WTO member states would have the choice of adopting new rules on a voluntary basis. This runs counter to the multilateral AGREEMENT of the WTO, to which all WTO members are parties to the agreement. The public procurement agreement is a typical multi-lateral agreement. Finally, there is the argument that all of this makes no difference, because there is virtually no real choice. The Doha Round has failed and is unlikely to return. A fisheries agreement remains a possibility, as is an agreement on e-commerce, but these are problematic and far more limited than the Tokyo round or the Uruguay Round agreements or what the Doha Round should be. The argument that the plurilateral does not undermine the trading system consists of two parts. First, while multilateral agreements can hijack a trade in conscience, they create net trade and governments should do what they can. In addition, the agreements cover not only tariffs and market access, but also rules and standards. Multilateral negotiations, in which participants may be more likely to share the same ideas, offer a better opportunity to conclude “gold standard” agreements that go much further in the direction of open, rules-based trade than multilateral agreements, which inevitably lead to more compromise. The digital trade language is an example of this, both in the U.S.-Japan agreement and in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA).

Of course, there are fewer people involved, but the very existence of the agreement makes it a model of use in other agreements. In other words, countries could do a significant liberalization of trade, little by little, not all at once. The curve has slowed in recent years, but the trend is evident and coincides with the difficulties of the Doha Round. In 2001, 91 cumulative regional trade agreements were in force and 305 are in force. This certainly indicates that the failure of one has influenced the success of others, but that does not mean that we have to choose. It is useful to continue efforts towards multilateral agreements, but knowing that failure will likely lead to more regional agreements. This is not to say that Europeans are not Pharisees, but it does indicate that it could be a smart policy to follow both paths at the same time. The argument is that multilateral agreements undermine the trading system by diverting the interest of more complex and difficult multilateral negotiations and diverting trade to multilateral partners.

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