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date: 20 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) is the main transparency instrument of the World Trade Organization (WTO), affording opportunities for a process of collective evaluation of the trade policies and practices of individual members. The TPRM was founded to some degree in public choice theory, and Annex 3 of the Marrakesh Agreement recognizes the inherent value of domestic transparency of government decision making. Efforts to enhance transparency have been a feature of the multilateral trading system since its creation in 1947, as denoted by the various requirements concerning notification and publication of information contained in the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This article discusses the purpose, main features, functioning, and limitations of the TPRM. It traces the evolution of the TPRM from the ad hoc surveillance schemes of the GATT in its early years to its establishment on a provisional basis in 1989, and its institutionalization on a permanent footing with the creation of the WTO.

Keywords: Trade Policy Review, transparency, World Trade Organization, trade policies, Tariffs and Trade, surveillance, multilateral trading system

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