How to Reform WTO Decision-Making? An Analysis of the Current Functioning of the Organization from the Perspectives of Efficiency and Legitimacy

23 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2008

See all articles by Andreas R. Ziegler

Andreas R. Ziegler

Law School - University of Lausanne; University of Bern - NCCR Trade Regulation - Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research; University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Yves Bonzon

University of Bern - NCCR Trade Regulation - Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

This paper describes a close analysis of the functioning of WTO decision-making intended to provide a better view on the various reform proposals put forward in recent years. After explaining that these proposals are meant to enhance either the efficiency or the legitimacy of decision-making, we consider separately what we identify as the three components of decision-making: the object, the organ and the procedural mode. We first enumerate WTO powers and define the characteristics of the legitimacy requirements that result from the nature of these powers, pursuant to the idea of a varying legitimacy requirement. Then we take a close look at the WTO procedural modes and the composition of its organs, and assess to what extent the features of these two components fulfill the legitimacy requirements discussed earlier. We then examine some reform proposals and their potential impact on the efficiency and the legitimacy of WTO decision-making, arguing that a balance must be struck between the two imperatives since they can sometimes collide. We conclude that the scope for reforming the WTO organs and procedural modes is limited and that combining the three components of decision-making in a manner that would fulfill legitimacy requirements may imply making some corrections on the object of decision-making; which would mean limiting WTO powers.

Keywords: WTO, Decision-making, Institutional Setting, Procedures, Organs, Legitimacy, Efficiency

Suggested Citation

Ziegler, Andreas R. and Bonzon, Yves, How to Reform WTO Decision-Making? An Analysis of the Current Functioning of the Organization from the Perspectives of Efficiency and Legitimacy (May 2007). NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2007/23, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1049441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1049441

Andreas R. Ziegler (Contact Author)

Law School - University of Lausanne ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.unil.ch/unisciences/AndreasRolandZiegler

University of Bern - NCCR Trade Regulation - Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research ( email )

World Trade Institute
Law School
Bern
Switzerland

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, 2052
Australia

Yves Bonzon

University of Bern - NCCR Trade Regulation - Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research ( email )

Hallerstrasse 6
Bern, 3012
Switzerland

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