Sovereignty, development and international economic law: some insights from WTO dispute settlement

Das, Sannoy (2017) Sovereignty, development and international economic law: some insights from WTO dispute settlement. National Law University Delhi Student Law Journal, 4. pp. 53-71. ISSN 2277-4009

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In this paper the author examines the relationship between developing nations and the WTO dispute settlement framework, focusing on the interpretative methods of and epistemic protocols employed by WTO adjudicatory bodies. The imperialist history of international law in general, and of international economic law in particular has meant that the sovereignty of developing nations has always been a negotiable commodity, subject to the interests of western capital. The author argues that this imperialist strain has cast its long shadow on the prevailing interpretative methods of the WTO dispute settlement bodies. By leaning in favour of a strict textualist approach, while failing to factor 'development'as a teleological aim of the international trade order, the WTO mechanism has prioritised vague notions of certainty over substantive justice in international trade. Aside from the inherent suitability of such a textualist approach to the furtherance of entrenched neo-liberal ideals, the adoption of formalistic reasoning by WTO dispute settlement bodies narrows the ability of States to claim broad regulatory justifications for their policy choices based on their development interests. Thus, despite the rhetoric of 'development 'being at the forefront of the political discourse of international trade in the 21st century, 'development 'as such is excluded from the process of WTO dispute settlement. In this way, it is argued that the international trade order retains, as any imperialist system ofa governance, a sense of liberal politics while acting through deeply conservative law

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Economic Law | WTO | Law
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 05:22
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 05:22


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