Multilateralism and the World Trade Organisation: The Practice of Regulating International Trade

by Wilkinson, Rorden Michael

Abstract (Summary)
Restricted Item. Print thesis available in the University of Auckland Library or available through Inter-Library Loan. Recently the regulation of international trade has undergone a significant change. The GATT, previously the means by which international trade was regulated, has been replaced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the practices prescribed by the Agreements administered by the newly-established WTO, and the activities that have arisen as a result of these prescriptions in the first two years of its operation. In order to achieve this objective a conception of multilateralism is developed. This conception is derived, in the main, from the work of John Ruggie on the practice of multilateralism. It is, however, modified by the work of Robert Cox on the role of multilateralism in world order. This conception is further enriched, though not notably modified, by the work of Robert Keohane, Andy Knight, and Philip Cerny. For the purposes of this thesis multilateral forms are conceived of as embodying certain constitutive and authoritative rules that specify the practice of organising inter-state relations in accordance with the principles of indivisibility and diffuse reciprocity. Furthermore, as a means of ensuring that the type of behaviour required by these rules occurs, multilateral forms also embody a means of rule enforcement. This conception of multilateralism is then applied to the WTO. In this application three questions are addressed. First, how is the principle of indivisibility applied in the WTO? Second, in what manner is the principle of diffuse reciprocity employed in the WTO? And third, what provisions does the WTO make for the enforcement of its rules? In seeking answers to these questions a thorough examination is made of the practices prescribed by the rules embodied in the WTO, the manner in which negotiations take place within such a forum, and the role played by the dispute-settlement mechanism. By addressing each of these questions in turn this thesis examines the manner in which international trade is regulated under the auspices of the WTO, it highlights those areas wherein further modification is required, and it determines the value of the transformation of international trade regulation from GATT to WTO.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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