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Global Companies as Agenda Setters in the World Trade Organization

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Abstract

This chapter examines business lobbying at the WTO. It argues that the role of companies in multilateral trade is tightly linked to the evolution of the trading system, with the most decisive influence during the creation of the WTO institutions. In an initial phase, business lobbying concentrated on tariff barriers. As the GATT expanded its scope during the Uruguay Round, large US companies became very active participants and crucially shaped the agenda, in particular with respect to service trade and intellectual property rights. In other areas, however, active lobbying was less effective, most notably investment protection and textiles. With the establishment of the WTO, lobbying has begun to partially shift to the supranational level. Some relationships exist between the WTO secretariat and companies, but the most important new pillar of political activity relates to dispute settlement. At the same time, the WTO secretariat tries to reach out to a more diverse set of stakeholders. In many ways, the influence of global companies on WTO affairs is much more indirect today than it was during its creation.
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hal-02286094 , version 1 (13-09-2019)

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Cornelia Woll. Global Companies as Agenda Setters in the World Trade Organization. The Handbook of Global Companies, John Wiley & Sons, pp.257 - 271, 2013, 9780470673232. ⟨hal-02286094⟩
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