Raj Bhala


This Essay is an experiment — a try-out — of an argument. The argument concerns what I regard to be the most serious of the claims made by the critics, namely, the claims concerning the relationship between the WTO and international trade law, on the one hand, and the Third World, on the other hand. The claim is this: the WTO is anti-development, and international trade law helps tilt the playing field on which the great game of trade is played against developing countries. It is the "most serious" of the claims, I think, because the giant and still growing divide between the First World and the Third World is the most important challenge facing the multilateral trading system in these first few decades of the new millennium. Trade officials representing the governments of nearly four or five billion people, and the critics that sympathize with them who work in various United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions, seem to harbor doubts about the extent to which the system can accommodate the development needs, or even promote sustainable, balanced growth.