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The WTO struggles to remain the world’s trade rule-maker

Once hailed as steward of a new economic order, the body risks becoming a monument to a future that never arrived

By Guy de Jonquières  

Photo: Xu Jinquan/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Brexit enthusiasts like to claim that if Britain ends up leaving the European Union without a deal, it has nothing to fear because it can count on World Trade Organisation rules to safeguard its trading rights and keep foreign markets open. However, they are wrong twice over.

First, relying just on the WTO would condemn Britain to trading on more disadvantageous terms than any of the organisation’s 164 members. All of them have forged preferential trade deals that offer better access to other…

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