Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation

Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation

Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation

Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation

Excerpt

What can trade agreements do to promote development? How could rules be designed to benefit poor countries? Should such rules be adopted? Can multilateral trade cooperation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) help developing countries create and strengthen institutions and regulatory regimes that will enhance the gains from trade and integration into the global economy? These are questions that confront policy makers and citizens in both rich and poor countries. They are the subject of the contributions to this volume, a collection of studies that analyze how the trading system could be made more supportive of economic development without eroding the core function of the WTO: the internalization of cross-border policy-induced spillovers. While many of the chapters deal explicitly with subjects that are on the agenda of the Doha Round of negotiations, the focus of this book is broader and the questions addressed more fundamental. They revolve around the design of agreements and negotiating modalities; the need for, and feasibility of, differential application of multilateral norms; international policy coherence; possible linkages between development assistance and trade policy commitments; and alternative approaches to enforcing negotiated commitments. In addressing these questions, the contributors summarize and analyze the status quo in a given area and propose approaches that in their view would promote economic development prospects.

Enhancing the “development relevance” of the trading system became a formal objective of WTO members with the launch of the Doha Development Agenda at the WTO's Ministerial Conference in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar. Whether the WTO is an organization that can and should be used to pursue development objectives is not uncontroversial. Some are of the view that the WTO's focus should be limited to increasing market access opportunities and negotiating away . . .

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