Beyond crisis: multilateralism in the World Trade Organization in the second decade of the XXI century


  • Julieta Zelicovich Universidad Nacional de Rosario


The aim of this paper is to analyze the dynamics of performance of the World Trade Organization in the second decade of the twenty first century, as a multilateral institutionalized cooperation mechanism. While academic literature has emphasized the ‘crisis’ and deficits of this Organization in this work we argue in favor of a perspective that acknowledges a complete assessment of the processes that take place in this area of International Relations. Thus we propose to conceptualize the performance of the WTO from the perspective of multilateralism, identifying a triple process where there are elements of weakening, but also power disputes and pragmatism. The paper presents evidence to support how these three features of multilateralism at the international trade regime affect the main functions of the WTO: legislative, administrative and dispute resolution. The findings reaffirm the relevance of a non-binary approach to multilateralism that goes beyond the notion of crisis/non-crisis; and advance in the recognition of a more complex conceptualization of multilateralism as an expression of international order. In addition, the results encourage the specific research on the participation and influence dynamics of the actors with less relative power, that become visible in this broaden narrative of the WTO functioning.


Multilateralism, World Trade Organization, Global Governance, International Order


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