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The Making of International Trade Policy

NGOs, Agenda-Setting and the WTO Hannah Murphy, University of Tasmania, Australia
This book investigates the contributions of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to policymaking at the WTO, challenging the idea that NGOs can be narrowly understood as potential ‘democratic antidotes’ to the imperfections of Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs).
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: $128.00 Web: $115.20
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84980 018 1
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  • Economics and Finance
  • International Economics
  • Political Economy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Public Policy
This book investigates the contributions of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to policymaking at the WTO, challenging the idea that NGOs can be narrowly understood as potential ‘democratic antidotes’ to the imperfections of Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs).

The book highlights the significance of interactions between states, NGOs and IGOs, in order to understand their contributions to international trade governance. Based on case studies in the areas of labour standards, intellectual property and investment rules, the author finds that NGO activities serve an agenda setting function: they publicize neglected trade-related issues, persuade others to support their positions, enhance the resources of less developed member states and highlight normative rationales for policy change. In evaluating NGO campaign tactics and emphasizing relations between NGOs and WTO member states, this book advances understandings of the parameters of NGO agency in global governance.

The Making of International Trade Policy will appeal to scholars and students with an interest in NGOs, research institutes and thinktanks, as well as policymakers, national trade negotiators, government departments and the trade policy community. NGO personnel active on WTO and trade policy issues – both researchers and activists – will also find this book thought-provoking.
‘The discipline of international relations is in disarray, now that sovereign national states are no longer its exclusive actors. But what can non-state, non-governmental actors accomplish – or prevent from happening? In this pioneering work, Hannah Murphy explores both the potentialities and limits of NGO intervention in the substantive arena of international trade policy.’
– From the foreword by Philippe C. Schmitter, European University Institute, Italy

‘Hannah Murphy provides a refreshingly realistic account of NGO influence in international trade policy. Carefully argued and persuasive, her book lays out the possibilities and limits of advocacy. Throwing cold water on overheated claims about NGO power to democratize the WTO, Murphy emphasizes how WTO rules shape NGO activities. As she deftly shows, this leaves room for activists to help set the WTO agenda even as they often legitimate, rather than challenge, state interests.’
– Clifford Bob, Duquesne University, US
Contents: Foreword 1. Introduction: NGOs and the WTO 2. NGOs, States and the WTO: Towards a Governance-centred Perspective 3. Conceptualizing NGO Activity in the WTO Contex 4. The Campaign for International Core Labour Standards at the WTO 5. Safeguards Pending: TRIPS and the Access to Medicines Campaign 6. The NGO Campaign Against a WTO Investment Agreement 7. Understanding the Agenda-setting Roles of NGOs at the WTO 8. Conclusion Index