ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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World Trade Organisation at the Crossroads:The Legitimacy Dimension

The World Trade Organisation, created for the specific purpose of trade liberalisation, is faced with multiple problems that undermine its legitimacy. The article addresses this specific issue and delves into the policy initiatives undertaken by the organisation to counter criticism about its lack of legitimacy. There are doubts whether the organisation, with the meaningful participation of stakeholders, will effectively discharge its functions while ensuring that the rules of international trade lead to equitable outcomes.

NGOs at World Trade Organisation

This article discusses the role of NGOs at the WTO and analyses the interface in order to ascertain the democratic potential of the former, particularly at ministerial conferences. In practice, interaction with the WTO is confined only to a handful of powerful and networked groups, with limited access for most southern NGOs. Further, participating NGOs overwhelmingly include business associations and interest groups, whereas grassroot organisations have little or no presence. NGOs in themselves are not democratising forces and there are important issues of autonomy, transparency and accountability that they need to address. At a more fundamental level, the WTO?s method of alleviating the democratic deficit largely by involving NGOs has severe limitations.

Shrimp-Turtle Decision in WTO

This paper looks at the shrimp-turtle dispute between the US and shrimp exporting countries, including India. The US imposition of a ban on import of shrimps caught using methods endangering sea turtles has not affected Indian exports adversely. However, the ruling of the appellate body of the WTO has far-reaching implications as it virtually mainstreams environment in the world trade regime. It also legitimises the imposition of unilateral trade sanctions and process-related requirements to protect the environment.
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