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Redesigning the World Trade Organization for the Twenty-first Century

Debra P. Steger, editor

Studies in International Governance Series

Paper 498 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-156-6

Release Date: December 2009

Online discount: 25%

$44.99  $33.74


eBook availability

Two high-level commissions—the Sutherland report in 2004, and the Warwick Commission report in 2007—addressed the future of the World Trade Organization and made proposals for incremental reform. This book goes further; it explains why institutional reform of the WTO is needed at this critical juncture in world history and provides innovative, practical proposals for modernizing the WTO to enable it to respond to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Contributors focus on five critical areas: transparency, decision- and rule-making procedures, internal management structures, participation by non-governmental organizations and civil society, and relationships with regional trade agreements.

Co-published with the International Development Research Centre and the Centre for International Governance Innovation

Debra Steger is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, where she teaches international trade, international dispute settlement, and international investment law. She is also the founder and director of the EDGE Network on the emerging, dynamic, global economies—a multidisciplinary research network focused on institutional reform of the World Trade Organization. She served recently as chair of a WTO panel and from 1995 to 2001 was the first director of the Appellate Body Secretariat of the World Trade Organization in Geneva. She is the author of Peace through Trade: Building the World Trade Organization (2004) and co-editor of Law in the Service of Human Dignity: Essays in Honour of Florentino Feliciano (2005).


“I enjoyed reading this important book. It presents a good overview of the critical issues facing the WTO and discusses most of the recently proposed reforms of the organization.”

— Anna Lanoska, University of Toronto Quarterly

“This volume addresses the need to reform the WTO as protectionist forces mount after the economic and financial turbulence of the 2000s as as the most recent trade liberalization initiative ... has run aground and individual countries busily cut their own bilateral trade deals. Contributors do an excellent job laying out the key issues. The book begins with the underlying rationale for WTO reform and then discusses in detail the WTO;s decision-making machinery and its internal management; the role of transparency and public participation in its workings; and the threats and opportunities caused by regional trade initiatives, which have now been around long enough to asses their efficacy.... This is an important resource for readers interested in this crticial dimension of the global economy.... Highly recommended.”

— I. Walter, New York University, Choice

“This book makes a valuable contribution to a critical debate: How can the WTO fulfill its intended role as the leader in trade liberalization? Debra Steger and her colleagues bring an impressive range of knowledge and experience to the topic, examining the issues from every angle.”

— Craig VanGrasstek, President of Washington Trade Reports

“Rather than simply analyzing the current functioning of the WTO, its problems and challenges, this volume is also a call to action. It lays out proposals that are likely to become a blueprint for reform of the WTO as an institution. Its contents are abundantly worthy of reflection and subsequent action. I recommend it highly to anyone who is concerned about the future of the global economy.”

— Julio Lacarte Muró, first Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body and Chair of the Uruguay Round negotiations