University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series
Last Updated: 20 October 2009
Trade and Equality: A Relationship to Discover
Gillian Moon, University of New South Wales
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This paper was published in the Journal of International Economic Law 12(3), 617–642.
There is conspicuous inequality among World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries. WTO law has responded to this by creating a set of rules (Special and Differential Treatment or S&DT) which permit specially favorable trading treatment to support the participation of developing countries, even though equality of treatment is a central principle and objective of WTO law. Yet, it is widely agreed that S&DT has not succeeded in its aim of advancing trade equality. Insight into the reasons for this relative failure may be drawn from another body of international law which has equality as a core principle and objective and which also permits special treatment, human rights equality law. Analyzing commonly identified flaws in S&DT from the perspective of the theoretical, conceptual and strategic framework of human rights equality law enables the flaws to be understood more deeply. It also offers a new perspective on the impasse which has been reached in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and provides robust guidance as to how S&DT may be made stronger, more effective and more operational.