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The human rights issues raised by the WTO are intimately connected with the power and influence of multinational enterprises within the international economic law system.
This book argues that the effect of the WTO agreements is to increase the global power of private enterprise at the expense of other possible powers, such as the nation states. It therefore considers human rights within the WTO system through the prism of the growth of corporate power and the resulting balance of global power.
In the first chapter the author argues that there is an underdeveloped legal relationship between the systems of public international law and international economic law, and this central theme of the book is pursued in the succeeding chapters. Chapter two examines the emergence of the WTO as an international institution, while chapter three provides an overview of it in the context of the international economic law system. Chapter four critically considers how the human rights construct should or could be applied to the WTO.
The relationship between escalating corporate power and the protection of human rights is at the core of chapter five while a series of chapters then consider the application of human rights within the WTO system thematically. The final chapter analyses the effect of the changing balance of global socio-economic and political power on the future (and meaning) of human rights protection.