In line with a general trend in contemporary global governance, the World Trade Organization has been developing increased links with civil society groups. If conducted well, these contacts can make important contributions towards greater effectiveness and democracy in the global trade regime. If handled poorly, however, the relations can undermine policy and undercut democracy. Already the WTO and civic associations have taken notable steps to increase the quantity and quality of their mutual exchanges. Yet major resource constraints and deeper structural impediments have to date prevented a fuller development of this dialogue.
Keywords: civil society, democracy, World Trade Organization.