Professor Carmody addresses the interdependencies between international law, the global economy, and the WTO law.

Modern global economy and the international community have become heavily interdependent. The key question answered here is: how WTO has addressed this change? WTO law traditionally has difficulty dealing with interdependence due to the “atomized” way in which law is arranged. So far, many analyses of WTO law have neglected this aspect of the law – interdependence – because the law itself does not appear to conform to a model of interrelation. Much of the early experience with WTO law has, in fact, been seen through the filter of WTO dispute settlement which appears, superficially at least, to be concerned with singular, or clusters of, obligations. In 1964 Wolfgang Friedmann posited the view of international law as a ‘law of cooperation.’ The actual state of international law, at least in the realm of WTO law, as now surpassing Friedmann’s conception. Indeed, the WTO law is developing along a much steeper trajectory of collaboration and driven by a much more intensive degree of interaction than Friedmann foresaw, one that could be termed a ‘law of interdependence’. In contrast with Friedmann’s conception, the law of interdependence goes beyond a voluntary desire to cooperate and evidences an obligatory impulse to collaborate. Simply put, countries can no longer isolate themselves from the global trading system without putting themselves at a significant disadvantage. In important ways, they have become the subjects of interdependence. Interdependence is likewise a difficult subject to identify in WTO law. Although several descriptions offered by panels and the Appellate Body illustrate the material way in which interdependence generated by trade concessions is transforming the global economy, there is no clear picture of interdependence has emerged in WTO law yet. Indeed, with the increased interdependence of the global economy, which means that actions taken in one country are likely to have significant effects on trade and foreign direct investment flows in others, Members have a greater stake in enforcing WTO rules than in the past since any deviation from the negotiated balance of rights and obligations is more likely than ever to affect them, directly or indirectly. Overall, what this article seeks to draw attention to is that ‘interdependence’ is not a neutral value, not unreservedly positive. For example, critical legal scholars such as Martti Koskenniemi have condemned interdependence as simply another justification for communitarian thinking – thinking that is but one part of a flawed ‘international legal project.’ These reservations suggest that interdependence needs to be constantly questioned and re-evaluated going forward.