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Better Rules for a New Millennium: A Warning against Undemocratic Developments in the WTO.

  • Communication
  • Political Science


The theme of this article is that the quality of WTO rule-making needs to improve, particularly as the WTO expands into new areas in the upcoming Millennium Round. The quality of existing WTO rules is deficient. This is illustrated with examples taken from the WTO agreements on intellectual property and telecommunications services. Furthermore the article shows that, in view of institutional constraints, it is particularly difficult within the WTO to clarify or replace inadequate rules. Now that the WTO's dispute settlement machinery is so effective, rule-makers may be tempted to leave the resolution of difficult problems to litigation. This, however, leads too easily to undemocratic surprises and, therefore, a weakening of the organization. The article concludes with recommendations for the negotiators of the new Round to ensure the adoption of better rules. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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