The range of global challenges faced today - from economic
integration to climate change and food security - has highlighted
the need for effective international governance. The WTO plays a
key role in the governance of world trade, which has grown almost
200% since the WTO's beginning. Moreover, the role of trade in
driving international economic integration means that formerly
domestic regulation, on issues as varied as human health and
labelling standards, directly affect international trade and are
increasingly subject to WTO rules. The scope of the WTO's power and
role in international economic governance highlights the need for
this power to be legitimate. Only legitimate governance - where the
exercise of power is accepted by those subject to its power - is
sustainable and ultimately effective. A legitimacy deficit reduces
the ability of the WTO to drive liberalisation or develop rules to
address new challenges, and ultimately leads to non-compliance by
countries with their WTO commitments. Drawing on different
democratic theories to analyse the legitimacy of the WTO, its rules
and jurisprudence, this book examines the question of legitimacy
and proposes how current limits to the WTO's legitimacy can be
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