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Consensus and majority voting in the WTO

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2009

JAIME TIJMES-LHL
Affiliation:
Faculty of Law, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany

Abstract

This article's subject is the implications that consensus/unanimity and majority voting might have for the World Trade Organization's (WTO) decision-making system. First it looks at some consequences that replacing the consensus rule with majority voting might have for the WTO, including justice concerns, legitimacy, homogeneity of WTO membership, and international enforcement. Second, it summarizes some solutions found in the European Union (EU) for coping with unanimity and majority rule, including constructive abstention, reallocation of contractual responsibilities, and the Luxembourg compromise. Finally, it considers some reform options for the WTO and offers some conclusions, namely expanding majority voting on certain areas only, redefining competences, multi-speed proposals (rethinking the single undertaking, constructive abstention, and the scheduling approach), redefining consensus, combining consensus and majority voting, and issuing interpretations.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © Jaime Tijmes-Lhl 2009

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