Title:Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy
Hardcover Dimensions:6'' x 9''
- 300 Hardcover pages
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Well-organized protests turned the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization in December 1999 into a widely publicized fiasco. Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy addresses important questions that are being slighted in the controversy over globalization that was sparked by the events in Seattle. The book takes a penetrating look at major challenges to the WTO and the future of trade liberalization. But it also shows how the WTO is moving in a direction at odds with basic democratic principles. No other study addressing these issues takes into account international legal theory and international relations theory along with the more traditional evaluations of international trade policy by political scientists and economists.
Barfield analyzes the structural flaws of the WTO's new dispute resolution system and focuses on the imbalance between the highly efficient judicial arm of the WTO and the inefficient and unwieldy legislative or rule-making capacity. He describes several specific examples of "judicial creativity" on the part of the WTO Appellate Body, details the difficulties presented by particular disputes, and discusses the pressures to introduce "soft" law and customary law as guiding principles to be utilized in WTO dispute settlements.
Barfield caps his trenchant analysis with policy recommendations that set the course for the WTO in the twenty-first century. He argues that the WTO will have to adopt less judicial, more flexible means of resolving disputes, as well as a blocking mechanism for panel decisions that a substantial number of WTO members oppose. He examines and refutes the claims of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and some multinational corporations that they have a presumptive right to participate more directly in the WTO decisionmaking and dispute settlement processes. For the WTO to achieve continued democratic legitimacy, the study argues, it must remain a "government-to-government" organization, one in which governments make decisions only after sorting through and resolving the demands of competing interests in the domestic political process.
Claude E. Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI, where he is director of trade policy studies, as well as science and technology policy studies.