The Waiver Power of the WTO: Opening the WTO for Political Deliberation on the Reconciliation of Public Interests

This paper analyses the potential of the WTO waiver as a legal instrument to reconcile conflicting norms and interests. It is argued that conflicts between WTO law and other international legal regimes are often an expression of underlying interest conflicts and that these should be addressed in political processes. The paper proposes that the waiver process could be a forum for political debate on the reconciliation of competing interests which is not only open to economic interests, but also other public interests and perspectives. This thesis is explored with reference to the Kimberley and TRIPS waiver decisions.