Multinationals, WTO, International Trade, Global Economic Development.
While most studies examining the weaknesses of the WTO (World Trade Organization) focus on shortcomings of its institutional arrangements and structural tensions between the two fundamental principles of the WTO - the single undertaking and the decision-making by consensus - this work takes a different view. It attributes the WTO's limitations to the neglect of essential subjects on the negotiating agenda and the omission of important actors at the negotiating table. The world trade system is in trouble - it has become divided between the organization that supposed to efficiently manage international trade and corporate actors who engage in global trade practices. Consequently, the article argues that to be relevant the WTO has to adapt to the changing nature of international trade by opening its doors to the business community and by allowing negotiations of plurilateral agreements among interested parties. The very idea that the WTO should remain exclusively an intergovernmental organization where only states propose and negotiate contracts appears to be more fitted for the nineteenth century mercantilist world. The globalizing economy of today is driven by powerful players that are not only states but also corporations. However, under the WTO's current arrangement , corporate actors are completely outside the WTO's institutional structure. The organization deals only with states, manages inter-state multilateral agreements, and resolves inter-states disputes Consequently, suggestions are offered on how to revitalize the organization, which still presents opportunities for improving economic development worldwide and making the global economy function more efficiently and cooperatively.
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