The WTO Constitution: Tertiary Rules for Intertwined Elephants


Constitutions have many dimensions. These dimensions include at least the following:

• an economic constitution in the sense of a set of rules for exchange of value and authority,

• an interfunctional constitution that allows for the integration of various social values,

• a political constitution that reflects the cultural and democratic integrity of a group of people,

• a legal and judicial constitution that provides rules for the making of other rules, and for determining supremacy and the scope of judicial application of rules,

• a human rights constitution that limits the sphere of governmental authority, and

• a redistributive constitution founded on social solidarity.

The WTO constitution has already grown along some of these dimensions. As we assess the constitutional development of the WTO, we must first analyze these dimensions separately. Second, we must examine how these dimensions relate to one another. Third, we must examine how these dimensions of the WTO “constitution” relate to the general international legal system’s constitution. Finally, we must examine how these dimensions of the WTO “constitution” relate to the domestic constitutions of the WTO’s member states.


Constitutional Law | International Law | International Trade Law

Date of this Version

September 2005