It is interesting to learn from a recent article that the world is now deploying the old tactic and moving to critical mass and plurilateral agreements where smaller deals and selected countries are now taking the center stage in trade negotiations. What is interesting to note is that “subset of countries can agree to take on such discipline; the rules and negotiations only need to be unobjectionable to the other 100-plus WTO members, so that they do not seek a veto”. In other words, “under a critical mass agreement, countries must then take the import tariff cut that they gave to each other and extend them free to each of the other 100+ WTO members that were not involved in the negotiations.”
The article is just making me wonder on how free trade benefits would flow from such negotiations to members who are not in the negotiating club but who are in the 100+ WTO members and those who aren’t in the 100+ WTO members! I guess I need to think harder to make sense out of it!