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Les tâches de l'OMC :. Évolution et défis


  • Thomas Cottier


THE TASKS OF WTO : DEVELOPMENT AND CHALLENGES As of today the rules developed within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are no longer limited to market access, undistorted competition and coordination of domestic trade policies. More and more WTO law affects the internal politics of members in a wide array of areas formerly typically considered as purely of domestic relevance. This leads to a new challenge for the WTO : It must take into account non-economic values (such as environmental protection, social issues or fair competition) without allowing them to unduly reduce the important achievements in the traditional areas of GATT and WTO negotiations of the last almost sixty years. This essay looks at the traditional functions or activities of the WTO as an organisation : negotiations, dispute settlement and outreach. With regard to the traditional model of GATT/WTO negotiations (negotiating rounds, consensus) it is argued that this model does not longer suffice in view of the new issues and the complexity of the social problems touched upon. This should, among other things, also lead to the creation of a judicial committee which could finally tackle systemic issues in a more coherent way than this has been possible so far. The dispute settlement of the WTO is one of the areas most discussed in the years after the coming into effect of the Marrakesh Agreement. Here issues like the (partial) professionalisation of the dispute settlement panels and their secretariat, a strengthening of the legal service within the WTO towards the establishment of a true WTO legal adviser, interim measures and monetary sanctions could improve the current system and help to overcome some of the current criticism. Also in this area a legal committee and possibly an advisory body with representatives from academia could be very helpful. With regard to outreach it is recommended that the WTO works more through regional offices, like other international institutions. Local presence and a better understanding of local problems would increase the credibility of the organisation and its acceptance by constituencies worldwide. This could also be achieved by creating a net of partner universities and academic institutions involved in teaching and research regarding world trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Cottier, 2004. "Les tâches de l'OMC :. Évolution et défis," Revue internationale de droit économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 273-291.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_183_0273

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