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A Qualitative Analysis Of The WTO's Role On Trade And Environment Issues

Rachel McCormick

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This article examines the role of the WTO in addressing trade and environment issues and considers how NGO and industry activities could complement this role. I interviewed over seventy experts and analyzed the responses using a grounded theory methodology, and present the findings within the context of existing literature on trade and environment issues. This approach allowed for an interdisciplinary and qualitative analysis of the underlying factors that have contributed to past successes and challenges in dealing with environmental issues within the WTO, as well as assessing current opportunities for progress and identifying misperceptions that could foster increased expectations of what the WTO is able to achieve. I conclude that the role the WTO plays in addressing trade and environment issues will be tested by the outcomes from the Doha round of negotiations, and by the willingness of WTO members to examine past work and identify a way forward. Survey results suggest that increased consideration of NGO perspectives and industry strategies would provide insight into ways of moving forward that are not hindered by political constraints.