The WTO is in decline but not by its design. As an international organization, it promotes nondiscrimination towards developing countries through practices such as Most favored nation and national treatment, however, the world is shifting from one economic system to another and this may mean that the efforts of the WTO to provide a forum of communication between states has become flawed. Just as the world economy shed itself from the Bretton Woods system and entered the world of neo-liberal trade practices, this inefficiency in this trade apparatus may be the warning sign that an open market economy is not the solution for all problems. This process is triggered by an unset and has a transitional period, not a moment in time. It may take a decade for the world to identify the new economic system. I argue that the 2008-2009 Great Recession was an unset to a change in the world economic system, thus, international economic organizations which have promoted a free open market economy will have to adapt or lose its influence.
The WTO exists to provide a forum for trade negotiations, administer the trade agreements that governments conclude, and provide a mechanism through which governments can resolve trade disputes. The absence of this kind of forum would trigger an abundance of regional trade agreements, which could trigger regional disputes leading to political conflicts. For example, if two nations set up a trade agreement that isolates another nation, that other nation will not have an outlet to express its concerns over market disparities. Without a place for countries to present their issues, developing countries would be worse off.
The Doha Round, which started in November 2001 and continues today, has had many obstacles. The largest obstacles: 1.) Developing countries were demanding deeper liberalization of agriculture than the U.S. and the EU were willing to accept. 2.) The EU was insisting that negotiations on the Singapore issues be initiated in 2004 but developing countries were unwilling to negotiate on new issues until they had achieved substantial gains in agriculture. These obstacle illustrate the global north and south equality problem but maybe also the decline in the ideas of neo-liberalism in the economy.
Just like Bretton Woods, economic systems die out because of the changing politics ; The WTO will not end tomorrow. But similar to the Bretton Woods system, its influence will fade and nations will no longer turn to the WTO to solve trading issues and will depend on Regional Trade agreements.