IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

NGO Involvement in the WTO: A Comparative Perspective


  • Peter Van den Bossche


This article examines the nature and the extent of the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO). First, it looks at the arguments for and against NGO involvement in WTO activities. Next, the article discusses the legal basis for the involvement of NGOs in WTO activities and the various forms of involvement provided for. It compares the position of NGOs in the WTO with their position in other international organizations, in particular, the United Nations. Subsequently, the article explores the practice of WTO engagement with NGOs. Finally, it examines and compares the rules and procedures of the WTO and the United Nations for the selection of the NGOs with which to engage. This article concludes that a more open and engaged dialogue with civil society will make the WTO a more transparent and responsive organization, enjoying greater support among the general public in developed as well as developing country Members. Justified concerns about the legitimacy, accountability, and politics of NGOs could be eliminated, or at least mitigated, by introducing a system of accreditation in the WTO. While NGO involvement in the WTO definitely has its limits, the involvement of NGOs in other international organizations, in particular, the United Nations, suggests that these limits have not been reached as yet. , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Van den Bossche, 2008. "NGO Involvement in the WTO: A Comparative Perspective," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 717-749, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:11:y:2008:i:4:p:717-749

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel Esty, 1994. "Greening the GATT: Trade, Environment, and the Future," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 40.
    2. Arvind Subramanian, 1992. "Trade Measures for Environment: A Nearly Empty Box?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 135-152, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:11:y:2008:i:4:p:717-749. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.