WTO & Civil Society
Dr. Sylvia Ostry — University of Toronto
WTO institutional building
WTO Secretariat was viewed as not being totally neutral and was seen
to be acting incorrectly by canvassing for a new round. Strong
concerns were raised about the transparency and inclusiveness of the
WTO decision-making process. These concerns reflect the
marginalization which certain developing countries feel in the WTO
and which is partly related to their problems of capacity.
other key issues were debated:
view was that :
A fundamental transformation is required of the WTO - the
present WTO cannot be compared with the old GATT system. WTO's
intrusion into domestic policy domain raises fundamental
questions about the objectives of the institution.
other view expressed was that:
The institution is flawed in several ways but it is by and large
functioning to serve the varied interests of its Members. The
best way to approach these flaws is through incremental change.
The work session started a discussion on how to deal with the
above two views of the WTO but it was not concluded. Sylvia
Ostry took the initiative of asking the participants if they
wanted to continue their discussion. The majority said yes.
Sylvia Ostry will independently explore how participants to the
session can continue their dialogue.