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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Negotiating from the margins: How the UN shapes the rules of the WTO (Forthcoming)
Authors: Margulis, Matias
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Keywords: World Trade Organization (WTO)
United Nations (UN)
food security
trade negotiations
international law
right to food
international organizations (IOs)
non-state actors
Citation: Margulis M (2018) Negotiating from the margins: How the UN shapes the rules of the WTO (Forthcoming), Review of International Political Economy.
Abstract: World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on agriculture are among the most contentious issues in the international political economy due to agriculture’s importance in the production of tradable commodities as well as economic development and food security in developing countries. In this article, I analyse a surprising and unexpected actor playing an important role in shaping WTO rules on agriculture – the United Nations (UN). While UN actors do not have a seat at the bargaining table, I argue that they invoke their delegated and moral authority and initiate actions to shape global trade rule-making. I demonstrate that UN actors have influenced the discourse, agenda and outcomes of trade negotiations by analysing three cases: 1) the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) orchestrating a Uruguay Round agreement in favour of food insecure developing countries; 2) the World Food Programme’s (WFP) blocking of trade rules on international food aid during the Doha Round negotiations; and 3) a proposal by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food for a legal waiver to protect public food stockholding that was taken up by WTO member states in 2013.
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