WTO: The Competitive Dynamic of Globalisation at Work

Joseph A Camilleri and George Myconos, ‘WTO: The Competitive Dynamic of Globalisation at Work’, Law in Context, Volume 21, 2003, Special issue: Balancing Act: Law, Policy and Politics in Globalisation and Global Trade.

Tensions associated with globalisation intersect within the World Trade Organization (WTO), the principal coordinating body of the inter­national trading regime. The focus in this article is on three levels of such tension. The authors illuminate conflict as it occurs on North-South, and North-North axes, before turning to a third source of tension, the attempt to reconcile a regulatory framework with a governing ethos premised on deregulation. With reference to the fields of agriculture, steel and intellectual property, as well as to bilateral and regional interstate relations, the authors show how the WTO has come to represent a multidimensional site, an arena of conflict and co­operation, of hegemonic control and resistance, of negotiation and adju­dication. They also show how the competition for legitimacy between the WTO and other regional or global formations adds to the fluidity, complexity and uncertainty of the international trading regime, and to the larger dilemmas associated with global gover­nance.