I stumbled across this very interesting news article:
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.
Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of lat-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch--free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be "a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons."
One question that occurred to me was: Will these new countries accede to the WTO? In search of information, I looked at the Seasteading Institute's web site, where I found this:
Would the seastead city-states eventually seek international recognition?
In short, yes. But we do not expect this to happen for several decades. In the interim, seasteads will first operate using flags of convenience. Eventually they will create alliances and negotiate treaties with other nations. When there are enough seasteaders—as well as mutual respect among the various seasteads and major world powers—seasteads are likely to seek recognition from the United Nations, and ultimately recognized sovereignty.
In addition, there were some interesting details related to trade:
In what ways will seasteads be autonomous? Will seasteads provide their own food/power?
Seasteads will be autonomous in that they will set their own local policies. We don't think achieving material self-sufficiency is desirable or necessary. Diesel fuel costs are reasonable to operate generators for electrical power. Importing meat will cost less than raising cattle on a seastead. Rather than seek material self-sufficiency by producing everything themselves, we expect seasteads to specialize in industries where they have a competitive advantage (such as fish farming) and trade for goods that can be produced more efficiently elsewhere.
Could seasteading be self-sustaining?
Eventually a seastead could be designed which can be completely self-sustaining, but early seasteads will rely on trade for most of their goods. It will be more efficient to import foods and fuel than it will be using today’s technologies to try to farm and create one’s own power sources.
So, nothing specific on WTO accession, but clearly trade is important to them, and thus I would think trade agreements might be a priority (along with protection from pirates). Of course, while libertarians are generally free traders, there are different libertarian views on trade agreements: Ron Paul opposes them, but the Cato Institute supports them. So we'll have to wait and see what kind of libertarians these are.