Reflecting on the rule of law contestations narratives in the world trading system

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Contestations have emerged over the nearly three decades of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the narratives on the rule of law (ROL) as a central tenet of the Multilateral Trading System. One of such contestation is whether the idea of ROL was ever internalized in the WTO at its formation or has been exaggerated. This article critically explores this narrative and locates it in the context of the events of the past two decades in the WTO. It challenges the notion of ROL in the world trading system. It argues that although significant progress was made in mainstreaming ROL in the Uruguay Round project, it would be an exaggeration to claim that ROL was embedded in the trading system from its inception. The article concludes that sceptics of the ROL project in the WTO have arguably been vindicated by how things have unfolded in the past two decades.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Dispute Settlement
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2024


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