Richard Harold Steinberg (2002) argues that although the WTO's consensus governance model provides law-based initial bargaining, trading rounds close through power-based bargaining favoring Europe and the U.S., and may not lead to Pareto improvement.[71]


Why do some scholars believe that the WTO gives more bargaining power to Europe and the U.S. if they have no voting rights? Through what mechanisms does the U.S. and Europe end up getting more power than other countries?


1 Answer 1


In one word "money".

The USA and Europe have the wealthiest regions over the course of the GATT and WTO. And the biggest consumers of internationally traded goods. This gives them power. A small country can be pressured into an agreement that is against it's interest because the alternative is the loss of access to the markets of the USA and Europe.

Richard Steinberg's thesis is that in the early part of negotiations are "law-based", and this leads to agreements that are beneficial to all (Pareto improvement is an improvement in one party's conditions that does not harm another's) In the end part of each round, decisions are consensus-based, and this has the effect of "invisibly weighting the process" in favour of those countries that have the most extrinsic power (in terms of money, and hence in terms of military, espionage and diplomacy)

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