The Role of the Brics in the WTO: System-Supporters or Change Agents in Multilateral Trade?

Brendan Vickers

in The Oxford Handbook on The World Trade Organization

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586103
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 The Role of the Brics in the WTO: System-Supporters or Change Agents in Multilateral Trade?

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This article explores the evolving role of Brazil, India, and China (BIC) in their twin roles as system supporters and change agents in multilateral trade. All three, while still presenting themselves as members of the developing world, have come to acquire an unprecedented influence in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Their rise offers several new opportunities for the trading system, but also poses serious and unanticipated challenges. There are two reasons for studying the WTO diplomacy of the BICs: economically, the three have captured large shares of global trade; and politically, their growing voice in the WTO is reshaping at least some of the rules of the game. After a brief overview of the trade policies of the BICs, the article investigates the impact of the rising powers on the WTO along three fronts: rule making, rule enforcement, and coalitions. While all three countries show greater activism in the organization, activism does not equate with leadership.

Keywords: Brazil; India; China; multilateral trade; World Trade Organization; diplomacy; world trade; trade policies; coalitions; rule making

Article.  9300 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Economy

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