Committee 5: Enhancing the Effectiveness of WTO Transparency Obligations

To provide the Applicants with the best possible and most relevant experience, the Model WTO has decided this year’s topic to be the Reform of the WTO as this topic has become more relevant in recent months.

Committee 5 

Enhancing the Effectiveness of WTO Transparency Obligations

The WTO’s transparency obligations ensure that all member countries’ policies and regulations affecting trade are made available to all other governments and traders. Each member country is obliged to report all trade policies that might affect other members. However, these notification obligations have not been met by multiple members in the past.

The problem is thus multifaceted. Reasons why members are not meeting transparency obligations could include a lack of clarity, a lack of familiarity with WTO obligations and their trade implications, or simply the misbelief that these notifications only benefit other countries and not the own state. Possibilities to enhance the effectiveness of transparency requirements should thus address multiple issues. Suggestions include incentives to comply with notification obligations, for example by making them a requirement to receive Special and Differential Treatment, or sanctions for non-compliance. Alternative approaches include revising the format of notifications to ensure clarity and facilitate the notification process, or empowering the Secretariat or the Trade Policy Review Body to collect more information on trade practices. The committee on Enhancing the Effectiveness of WTO Transparency Obligations shall discuss these approaches to find solutions for the currently unsatisfactory notification practices.

Author of the Committees 2019:
Cara Stromeyer (cara.stromeyer@model-wto.org
)
Model WTO Head of Simulation Design