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Do Non-State Actors Enhance the Accountability of Global Governance? – The case of WTO Dispute Settlement

Michael Strange

Abstract


The World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body provides the teeth of the global trade regime – empowering it with substantial means to adjudicate in disagreements between Member-states over the implementation of WTO law.

The WTO’s teeth have, however, also helped make the organisation controversial as part of a general critique from civil society groups concerned that global trade governance has become unaccountable to the societies it affects. Could the growing presence of NGOs and other non-state actors in WTO dispute settlement – empirically identified within a growing body of literature – solve this apparent accountability deficit?

Drawing upon existing findings and new research, the article argues that non-state actors have significant consequences for the accountability of WTO dispute settlement, but to whom the system is accountable and whether these consequences are good or bad is not pre-determined. Rather, as the burgeoning literature on accountability shows, the term itself is multi-faceted. Only by engaging with specific cases, as is done here in the case of WTO dispute settlement, can research properly draw out the shape of accountability in global governance.


Keywords


Accountability; Non-state actors; World Trade Organization; WTO Dispute Settlement; Global governance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14666/2194-7740-3-1-007

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"Journal Global Policy and Governance" ISSN online 2194-7740 / ISSN print 2194-7759

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