Chapter 1: World trade law and changing fundamentals in the global architecture
In recent decades, international law, and in particular international economic law, has been greatly impacted by globalisation and the emergence of global governance. Unlike other processes of norm-making in international economic law, the influence of globalisation on international trade law is sometimes very subtle but also very far-reaching and usually goes unnoticed. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an engine for trade liberalisation and the promotion of economic growth, and is therefore considered to be firmly rooted in the idea of globalisation and interconnectivity. While the notion of globalisation is not new, the increasing integration of commodity, capital and labour markets has undoubtedly altered the landscape of the global trading system over the past few decades. Globalisation is a multidimensional construct whose meaning largely depends on the context in which it is discussed. While it is viewed in this volume in the light of greater economic integration of the different factors of production, academic scholarship has also approached it from other perspectives. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics for his outstanding work on the ‘theory of market with asymmetric information’, described the concept of globalisation in his seminal work entitled Globalization and its Discontents (2002) as ‘the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which has been brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and (to a lesser extent) people across borders’.