Awkward Partners: NGOs And Social Movements At The WTO

Jens Steffek

in The Oxford Handbook on The World Trade Organization

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586103
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Awkward Partners: NGOs And Social Movements At The WTO

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This article analyses the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social movements in the World Trade Organization (WTO). After providing a theoretical overview that outlines the rationale for NGO involvement in intergovernmental organizations, it discusses the role of NGOs in the multilateral trading system from a historical perspective. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) offered little scope for NGO involvement, but the WTO accorded some recognition to NGOs through a vague reference to the possibility for consultation by the General Council in the Marrakesh Agreement. This relationship was clarified through the 1996 guidelines on arrangements for relations with NGOs. Although the WTO offered more engagement with NGOs than the GATT, they still had no place in the ‘inner sanctum’ of its decision making. The article also looks at the determinants of interaction between WTO and non-state actors.

Keywords: non-governmental organizations; social movements; Tariffs and Trade; World Trade Organization; non-state actors; intergovernmental organizations; Marrakesh Agreement

Article.  9048 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Economy

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