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Democracy in the World Trade Organization

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Are some members more equal than others?

image of International Organizations Law Review

The WTO has become one of the key international organisations responsible for regulating international economic relations among states. At first glance, the WTO Agreement makes very democratic provisions with respect to decision-making. All formal WTO decision-making organs are open to all members. Independent of population size, economic might or contribution to international trade, each member of the WTO wields a single unweighted vote—i.e., ‘one member, one vote’. Thus, at the formal level, all appears to bode well with the WTO decision-making process. This seeming well-being, however, belies the true nature of the problems and challenges the decision-making process is encumbered with. This article undertakes analytical exegesis of the provisions on decision-making in Articles IX and X of the WTO Agreement. The article also explores possible options for reforming the WTO decision-making process and its implications for developing countries.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration,


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