Can the WTO Bring More Teeth to the Global Anticorruption Agenda?

(2019) 53 Journal of World Trade, Issue 1, pp. 129–151

25 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2019

Date Written: July 9, 2018


In 1997, the Lima Declaration against Corruption made the first institutional cry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address the issue of corruption in international trade. In fact, international trade bears critical vulnerabilities to corruption, particularly concerning Customs interactions with private stakeholders and government procurement procedures. Corruption, in turn, hinders economic development, increases the cost of trading goods and services, and undermines the main objectives of the WTO. This article shows that, since 2012, the WTO has increasingly adopted a more clear-cut approach to this problem and finally took an open stand regarding the relationship of anticorruption measures and trade in its dispute settlement system. The revised text of the Government Procurement Agreement, the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and recent WTO cases like Colombia – Textile, illustrate some of the anticorruption principles, tools, and rulings within WTO context. Considering that anticorruption laws and WTO trade rules are mutually supportive and together contribute to a more effective fight against corruption, this article argues for the incorporation of the anticorruption mandates and values within the WTO through soft law initiatives. The actions suggested herein will bring more teeth to the global anticorruption agenda and reaffirm the importance of trade liberalization.

Keywords: WTO, Corruption, Anticorruption, Government Procurement, Trade Facilitation

JEL Classification: F13, F42, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Dutra de Oliveira Silveira, Luciana, Can the WTO Bring More Teeth to the Global Anticorruption Agenda? (July 9, 2018). (2019) 53 Journal of World Trade, Issue 1, pp. 129–151, Available at SSRN:

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