This Article evaluates the uncertain legal status of two ministerial declarations approved at the Doha Conference. The Article proceeds by explaining the broad meaning and purpose of ministerial declarations, as well as the specific implications of the Doha Declarations. I conclude that the Doha Declarations may be considered either (1) the political statements or moral commitments of trade ministers or (2) as part of the constitutive process of decision-making by the WTO organization. Under the first view, the WTO Declarations are analogous to G-7 Declarations or the Malmö Declaration of environmental ministers. Under the second view, the Ministerial Conference can exercise its constitutional authority to set WTO policy, or perhaps to enact secondary law.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-4; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-4
Steve Charnovitz, The Legal Status of the Doha Declarations, 5 J. of Int'l Econ. L. 207 (2002).