Title

State Transformation and the Role of Lawyers: The WTO, India, and Transnational Legal Ordering

Abstract

This article explains the impact of India’s engagement with the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on both the Indian state and on the WTO itself. In each case, it explains the role of Indian lawyers within the larger transnational context. In engaging with globalization and the WTO, India has transformed itself. The Indian state has moved toward a new developmental state model involving a stronger emphasis on trade, greater government transparency, and the development of public-private coordination mechanisms in which the government plays a steering role. We show that it has done so not as an autonomous policy choice, but rather in light of the global context in which the WTO and WTO law form an integral part. Reciprocally, the article shows the ways that India has built legal capacity to attempt to shape the construction, interpretation, and practice of the trade legal order. Indian private lawyers play increasing roles, although they remain on tap, not on top. The article builds from fieldwork in India and Geneva (the home of the WTO), including over one hundred and fifty interviews with key Indian officials, lawyers, and business and civil society stakeholders, regarding changes in the Indian state and the increased role of private lawyers as mediators in the legal order for trade.

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