Multinationals, WTO, International Trade, Global Economic Development.


While most studies examining the weaknesses of the WTO (World Trade Organization)  focus on shortcomings of its institutional arrangements and structural tensions between the two fundamental principles of the WTO - the single undertaking and the decision-making by consensus - this work takes a different view. It attributes the WTO's limitations to the neglect of essential subjects on the negotiating agenda and the omission of important actors at the negotiating table. The world trade system is in trouble -  it has become divided between the organization that supposed to efficiently manage international trade  and corporate actors who engage in global trade practices. Consequently, the article argues that to be relevant the WTO has to adapt to the changing nature of international trade by opening its doors to the business community and by allowing negotiations of plurilateral agreements among interested parties. The very idea that the WTO should remain exclusively an intergovernmental organization where only states propose and negotiate contracts appears to be more fitted for the nineteenth century mercantilist world.  The globalizing economy of today is driven by powerful players that are not only states but also corporations. However, under the WTO's current arrangement , corporate actors are completely outside the WTO's institutional structure. The organization deals only with states, manages inter-state multilateral agreements, and resolves  inter-states disputes   Consequently, suggestions are offered on how to revitalize the organization, which still presents opportunities for improving economic development worldwide and making the global economy function more efficiently and cooperatively.

Full Text : PDF

  • Abbott, F.M., 2002.  " The TRIPS-legality of measures taken to address public health crises:
  •  Responding to USTR-State-industry positions that undermine the WTO" in The Political
  • Economy  of International Trade Law, Kennedy, D.  L.M. and  Southwick, J.D., (eds.)
  • Cambridge University Press, pp. 311-342.
  • Anderson, S and Cavanagh, J., 2000. The Top 2000: The Rise of Corporate Global Power, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC.
  • Bremmer, I., 2010. The End of the Free Market - Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?,  Portfolio,
  • Buckely, R.,  Vai lo L. and Boulle, L., 2008.  "Challenges to Multilateral Trade - The Impact of Bilateral, Preferential and Regional Agreements" Published by Wolters Kluwer.
  • Chowla, P., 2005. "Comparing Corporate and Sovereign Power," Developments - Journal of the Development Studies Institute, 1(1).
  • Thomas Dietz (2014) "Does International Commercial Arbitration Provide Efficient Contract 
  • Enforcement Institutions for International Trade?" in Mattli, W. and Dietz, T., (eds.)
  • International Arbitration and Global Governance: Contending Theories and Evidence.Oxford University Press, pp.168-195.
  • Feketekuty, Geza., 2000.  "Assessing and Improving the Architecture of GATS" in GATS 2000 -
  • New Directions in Services Trade Liberalization, Sauvé P. and Stern, R.M.,  (eds.) Published by the Brookings Institution, pp. 85-111.
  • Fuller, L.L., 1978. "The Forms and Limits of Adjudication", Harvard Law Review, 92 (2), pp. 353-409.
  • Hale, T., 2014. "What is the Effect of Commercial Arbitration on Trade? in Mattli, W. and Dietz,
  • T., (eds.) International Arbitration and Global Governance", op. cit., pp. 196-213.
  • Hoekman, B., Martin, W. and Mattoo, A., 2010.  “Conclude Doha: It Matters!,” World Trade Review, 9 (3), pp. 505-530.
  • Hoornweg, D. P., Bhada, M., Freire, C.L. Trejos Gomez, R. Dave., 2010. Cities and Climate Change:An Urgent Agenda. World Bank, Washington, DC.
  • Johnston,  A  M.  and Trebilcock, M.J.,  2013. "Fragmentation in international trade law: insights from the global investment regime"  in World Trade Review , 12 ( 4)  pp. 621-652.
  • Lanoszka, A., (2009) The World Trade Organization - Changing Dynamics in the Global Political Economy. Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Mattli, W., and Dietz, T., 2014. "Mapping and Assessing the Rise of International Commercial
  • Arbitration in the Globalization Era: An Introduction" in Mattli, W. and Dietz, T., (eds.)  International Arbitration and Global Governance" op. cit, pp. 1-21.
  • Mattoo, A. and Subramanian, A., 2009.  ‘The world must go beyond Doha’, Financial Times, 6 January.
  • Monks, R.A.G and Minow, N., 2011. Corporate Governance (5th ed.) Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Palmeter, D., 2003. The WTO as a Legal System - Essays on International Trade Law and Policy, London, UK: Cameron May.
  • Schelling, T.S., 1980. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Schultz, T., 2014. Transnational Legality - Stateless Law and International Arbitration, Oxford  University Press.  
  • Smith, F., 2009.  Agriculture and the WTO – Towards a New Theory of International Agricultural  Trade Regulation, Edward Elgar.
  • Weaver, C.,  2008. “Hypocrisy Trap – The World Bank and the Poverty of Reform.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Wolfe, R.,  2005. “See you in Geneva? Legal (Mis) Representations of the Trading System,” European Journal of International Relations. 11(3), pp. 339-365.