Document Type : Review


York University, Osgoode Hall Law School


The World Trade Organization (WTO) is facing a legitimacy crisis due to changing power configurations in global politics and rapid economic integration. Dissatisfied with slow progress and outmoded trading rules, the United States (US) has systematically blocked appointments to the Appellate Body of the WTO dispute settlement system, thereby rendering it inoperable. As a middle power, Canada benefits from the rules-based multilateral order but, as a country dependent on larger players, Canada yields limited influence when it comes to international institutional change. Canada should make the effort to re-engage the US by seeking to appease recent anxieties and show a willingness to take on the task of reimagining a more modern and functional WTO. This paper considers some factors causing the current crisis (including the criticisms of the WTO Dispute Settlement System) and suggests a role Canada can and should take in defence of our ailing system of multilateral trade.


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