The WTO’s objectives

“But beyond this lies a more fundamental political objective. The Doha Round is about renewing the affectio societatis – the vows of the original WTO contract. Its two fundamental principles being: one, that contributions to more open trade be made on the basis of a members level of development and, two, that members be bound by a set of international obligations.”  Keynote speech at the WTO Public Forum, 2008

Do you agree that this is the objective of the Doha Round or that these are the ‘fundamental’ principles of WTO? My answer is: ‘No, on both counts’.

Lamy’s curious latin tag—’collectio societatis—is apparently a term used in the French ‘Code Civil‘ meaning an active, interested, voluntary collaboration, or perhaps a desire to unify or even more simply a ‘convergence of interests’.

This is one of the most viewed entries on my website in 2009. I hope that it’s what you were after. But please also explore the ‘tags’ just below this story. You might find more helpful material there (especially in the ‘objectives’ tag-group).

One Comment

  • Simon Lester wrote:

    Peter,

    The language Lamy uses is a bit vague, but I think I agree with your view.  For example, Lamy seems to describe one of the fundamental principles as follows:  “members be bound by a set of international obligations.”  To me, this is not a principle at all, but rather a means to achieving certain principles, such as non-discrimination in trade.

    I hear this kind of talk quite often, and I’m never sure what to make of it.  It suggests to me that the speaker is more of an “internationalist” than a “free trader,” in that being bound by international obligations (any obligations) is more important than deciding what the international obligations should be.

    Simon

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