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The World Trade Organisation, Poverty and 'Global Apartheid'

Tuesday 1 July, 6pm
Old Theatre, Old Building  

Prior to the 2002 Johannesburg Summit, Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, described the present international distribution of wealth as 'global apartheid'. To what extent is the trade law system complicit in the creation of a system of 'global apartheid'?

Professor Joel Trachtman, Tufts University, will be speaking on The World Trade Organisation, Poverty and 'Global Apartheid' on Tuesday 1 July at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Joel Trachtman will explore three main issues:

  • That the trade law system holds promise for reducing global apartheid. The Doha Ministerial Declaration refers to a number of important market access obligations and other issues of interest to poor people in poor countries, and yet, history suggests a degree of scepticism. Furthermore, if we consider the trade law system in terms of its permission for national barriers to movements of factors, including goods, services, labour and capital, we can understand the trade law system as limiting the ability of the poor to trade out of poverty.
  • That, turning to the requirements of liberalisation, if these limit the ability of poor states to choose policies that will maximise growth, and best ameliorate poverty, do they not perpetuate poverty?
  • Looking beyond the traditional trade concern of contestable markets, the remit of trade law has not yet run in any significant way to non-market governance: to poverty redistribution. If the trade law system - the WTO - is viewed as responsible for the management of international economic relations, the WTO will be subject to criticism until the needed redistribution is implemented.

Joel Trachtman is professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is a member of the boards of the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, and the Berkley Journal of International Law. He was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in 2002. He has also consulted for many organisations including the United States and the World Bank.

Dr Deborah Cass, senior lecturer in law, LSE, will chair this event, which is free and open to all with no ticket required.


To reserve a press ticket, contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or email j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk| 

18 June 2003