IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Institutionalizing Public Participation in WTO Decision Making: Some Conceptual Hurdles and Avenues


  • Yves Bonzon


This article assesses the potential of institutionalizing more structured mechanisms of public participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision making. It begins by developing a conceptual framework that distinguishes the four 'implementation parameters' of public participation: the goal, the object, the mechanisms, and the actors. Most proposals for more formalized public participation in the WTO view it as a way to mitigate an alleged legitimacy deficit in WTO decision making. This article questions the relevance of this goal. Turning to the object of participation, the article examines the institutional structure of the WTO and points to challenges in identifying those decisions, mostly pertaining to the elimination of nontariff barriers to trade, that should be opened to public participation. 'Sensitive' decisions are mostly reached by the dispute settlement bodies, sometimes by reference to rules adopted outside the institutional framework of the WTO. It is argued that the adoption processes of these external rules are a relevant object of public participation in the WTO context. Finally, administrative review of these adoption processes by the panels and Appellate Body as a mechanism to regulate public participation is considered. , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Yves Bonzon, 2008. "Institutionalizing Public Participation in WTO Decision Making: Some Conceptual Hurdles and Avenues," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 751-777, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:11:y:2008:i:4:p:751-777

    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.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Wolfe, Robert, 2013. "Letting the sun shine in at the WTO: How transparency brings the trading system to life," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2013-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

    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:751-777. 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.