Corporate Power, National Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in a Global Economy
Post-Seattle Reflections: A Qualified Defense of the WTO and An Unqualified Defense of the International Rule of Law
John Michael Trebilcock
Professor of Law and Economics, University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Global Law Faculty, New York University School of Law

INTRODUCTION: The public perturbations leading up to and surrounding the Seattle Ministerial meetings of the WTO in late 1999, and the ensuing failure to launch a new "Millennium" round of trade negotiations, have confirmed dramatically, unambiguously, and probably irreversibly that trade negotiations and trade disputes have moved out of the quiet and obscure corners of trade diplomacy and become matters of "high politics". Despite the civil disturbances that attended the Seattle meetings, it is important to bring some measure of rigorous detachment to the evaluation of the criticisms that have been widely and vehemently directed at the WTO, especially by the so-called NGO community. While there are, of course, dangers in scholars seeming to abandon the Academy for the Acropolis to join issue directly with the critics, I believe that the stakes are so high for global welfare that there are larger risks entailed in trade specialists simply disregarding these criticisms on the grounds that they are ill-informed and ill-conceived (which in this paper I will argue is mostly the case).