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The Sutherland Report

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 January 2006


In early 2005 a Consultative Board presented a report (the Sutherland Report) on the functioning of the WTO and means to improve its efficiency. The author summarizes the Board's key findings and reflects on its main recommendations. The Board discusses sovereignty and globalization in the context of the world trading system. In addition it finds that the WTO needs to reconsider its institutional framework and some concepts underlying the organization. The Board particularly urges the WTO to address the erosion of the most-favoured-nation treatment through the proliferation of the preferential trade agreements. Transparency and civil society, dispute settlement, decision-making, efficiency, and the role of the Director-General and the secretariat are also discussed. The author concludes that the Board focuses on economic consequences of trade liberalization but fails to address the harmful effects of globalization. He agrees with the Board that institutional reform is required, but concludes that it would have been helpful if the Board had offered clearer direction on how to improve the decision-making process.

2005 Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law

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