Ian Johnstone

in The Power of Deliberation

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195394931
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894543 | DOI:

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This chapter looks at whether the World Trade Organization (WTO) really is a “technocracy” through the lens of “trade-environment” issues, focusing on the Shrimp-Turtle case. It begins with an overview of the democratic deficit critique as it applies to the WTO. It then turns to describing the deliberative features of two of the three principal functions of the WTO-dispute settlement, and what has been called the “missing middle” between the negotiation of treaties and dispute settlement. The fourth section is devoted to an analysis of the Shrimp-Turtle case. The chapter concludes with an assessment of how “technocratic” the WTO really is. It argues that it is not dominated by a “trade elite” to the extent that critics have charged, but the impact of environmental activists does not necessarily make it a more deliberatively democratic institution.

Keywords: World Trade Organization; Technocracy; Shrimp-Turtle case; dispute settlement; international trade; environmental activists

Chapter.  9153 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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