The Role of the World Trade Organization in Global Governance

By Gary P. Sampson | Go to book overview

12
Building a WTO that can contribute
effectively to economic and social
development worldwide

General Secretary, International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions
Bill Jordan

Since the collapse of efforts to launch a new round of trade negotiations at the third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle (30 November—3 December 1999), public confidence in the multilateral trading system has fallen extremely low in both the developing and the industrialized countries. Most developing countries remain apprehensive about the international trading system, concerned that areas such as intellectual property, investment, market access, and transparency of WTO decision-making stand to work against their interests. Worldwide, there is concern that the WTO dispute settlement mechanism undermines domestic sovereignty, particularly in areas where trade can have a socially and environmentally damaging impact. The WTO's trade disputes system places enormous pressure on its members' ability to maintain a domestic consensus in support of trade liberalization. Further trade disputes conducted under existing WTO rules risk to result in a continued series of rulings (in disputes such as bananas and hormones, and potentially in areas such as genetically modified organisms) that will be socially and environmentally damaging and

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