Corruption and the WTO Legal System

Posted: 17 Jun 2008 Last revised: 27 Oct 2010

See all articles by Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer

Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer

Juristische Fakultät, Universität Basel; University of Bern - Institute of European and International Economic Law

Date Written: June, 13 2008


The World Trade Organization has no substantive rules directly addressing corruption in trade relations. There are, however, numerous legal provisions in the various WTO texts that offer indirect support to traders facing corrupt trade administrators. Whether these provisions are sufficient to address the bulk of trade-related corruption is questionable, given the narrow range of corrupt practices that are affected by these, mainly procedural, obligations. This article sets out a framework for further research into the question of how corruption affects trade liberalization, and puts forth a suggestion for how the WTO could take a step towards remedying its avoidance of the topic of corruption while not exceeding its functional scope of regulating trade relations among Members.

Keywords: World Trade Organization, WTO, Corrupt, Corruption, Corrupt Practices, Abuse of Office, Bribery, Agreement on Government Procurement, GPA, Transparency

JEL Classification: F02, F10, F13, F14, F15, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Nadakavukaren Schefer, Krista, Corruption and the WTO Legal System (June, 13 2008). Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) Inagural Conference 2008 Paper. Available at SSRN:

Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer (Contact Author)

Juristische Fakultät, Universität Basel ( email )

United States

University of Bern - Institute of European and International Economic Law ( email )

Hallerstrasse 6
Bern, CH-3012

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