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Fine Tuning Trade - a review of the Warwick Commission

The Literary Review of Canada recently published a review of the Warwick Commission report “The Multilateral Trade Regime: Which Way Forward?”

The review, entitled “Fine Tuning Trade” by Rohinton Medhora claims that the commission’s strategy to make the case for the feasible rather than the supremely desirable provides it a better chance of success.

“With is dispassionate analysis, pragmatic recommendations and modest ambit, it manages to be balanced and useful, and is a refreshingly smooth, mostly jargon-free read”.

Medhora supports the work of the commission and suggests that the Warwick Commission “gets many things right”. He applauds the Commission for making achievable recommendations that would benefit the future of the trade system: “Rather than grandly pronounce on globalization, the commission concentrates on recommendations that would make the WTO and the processes around it function better”.

The commission report begins by outlining five challenges facing the multilateral trading system and Medhora suggests “each of these challenges is treated in the report with care and dispassion. This allows for some minor myth-busting for example around the issue of popular support for globalization”.

Medhora ends his review with a comment on the successor to this first Warwick Commission – a Commission on climate change: “Even more so than with trade and globalization, this is a subject where everything really is connected to everything else. It will be hard for the members of this second commission to stick to their knitting”.

More details of this second Commission on Technology and Climate Change will be made available soon.

This review was published in the Literary Review of Canada, Sept 2008. The author, Rohinton Medhora is vice-president of programs at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa. The views expressed in his review are his own and not necessarily those of the IDRC.