The World Trade Organization is a key facilitator of globalisation. It provides the legal framework for the regulation of international trade in goods and services through the pursuit of progressive reduction in barriers to trade. Underpinned by binding dispute settlement, its rules constitute a significant body of Law, the effects of which are substantial both within international trade law and beyond.
This module explores the economic rationale for the WTO, its governance, substantive rules and core principles. It also identifies, assesses and considers potential solutions to selected contemporary challenges facing the WTO. Some such challenges arise internally, for example relating to WTO decision-making and recent challenges to its dispute settlement. Further challenges are outward looking, including its relationship with other branches of international law such as international environmental and human rights law, and, increasingly, questions relating to its very legitimacy.