The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century

The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century

The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century

The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

The failure to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference in Seattle in December 1999 has clearly demonstrated that, at present, no clear perspective for the future course of international trade policies exists. The issues that may enter the agenda of a 'millennium round' under the auspices of the WTO therefore merit careful analysis of their likely economic, social and political impact.

THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION MILLENNIUM ROUND covers these substantive issues and the broader implications of a potential trade round. The contributors argue persuasively for meaningful reforms at both national and international levels, and a clear case for freer trade emerges from their analyses. This comprehensive and up-to-date volume provides:

-- a guide to the policies, interests and perspectives of the major players;

-- broad coverage of the economic issues and the politics involved in the various areas of international trade policymaking;

-- an analysis of the necessity and the likelihood of further liberalization in both old and new sectors as well as of systematic and institutional issues; and

-- recommendations for change urgently required to reform both the WTO as an organization and the international trading system in order to meet the demands of a global economy.

This book is a significant resource that will be indispensable to students, professionals and all people seeking to increase their understanding of this highly topical subject.

Excerpt

The multilateral trading system has not developed along a smooth path since the early 1980s. On the contrary, trade policy has experienced long periods of only minimal progress, occasional full stops and sudden leaps forward. In December 1999, trade policy ground to a halt again at the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which was held in Seattle in the United States of America. Hopes for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, a ‘Millennium Round’, did not materialise.

The Uruguay Round, whose long and winding road stretched from Punta del Este in 1986 to Marrakech in 1994, took place around the time we were studying at the Free University of Berlin, while the early years of the WTO roughly coincided with our PhD dissertations. Trade policy again leapt forward in the late 1990s, when several sector liberalisation agreements were reached. All seemed to develop pretty well.

When, in the summer of 1999, our lunchtime talk again reverted to the prospects for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO, we wondered what kind of economic benefits a new round might yield and how the politics might evolve. We concluded that we, on our own, did not have a clear picture of several complex issues that would be of importance. We therefore decided to launch a book project on the ‘Millennium Round’.

We gratefully acknowledge the commitments that the authors have made. All were asked to explain the issues in a non-technical way, to discuss the interests of the main players in their respective fields, to offer recommendations and to give judgements on the likely course of action. We are particularly thankful that all authors upheld their commitments after the ‘Battle in Seattle’, occasional pessimism (realism?) notwithstanding.

Many thanks are due to Robert Langham at Routledge, whose work has made a speedy processing and production of this volume possible. We also gratefully acknowledge the help of Victor Bright and Gareth Jones, who substantially improved the English of several contributions, including our own.

Klaus Günter Deutsch and Bernhard Speyer

Berlin

May 2000

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