Regulating International Trade in the Age of Rising Economic Nationalism

This paper aims to test the adequacy of the non-adjudicatory compliance control mechanisms of the WTO to tackle the new challenges brought about by the rise in economic nationalism in the United States and elsewhere. The WTO survived similar past challenges due partly to its effective dispute settlement system. However, the dispute settlement system itself is now facing an existential crisis. The United States is holding it hostage by blocking the appointment of new Appellate Body Members. Unless Members find a way to break the deadlock soon, the Appellate Body will become defunct by December 2019. The eventual death of the Appellate Body will leave the WTO without its most effective tool to keep protectionism in check. This raises the question whether there are non-adjudicatory mechanisms that help the trading system fight the rise of protectionism. This paper will examine the extent to which such mechanisms help tackle the growing use of trade protectionist measures.