BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER

The WTO and the Multilateral Trading System - Past, Present and Future
By Bhagirath Lal Das
Publisher: Third World Network and Zed Books
Year Published: 2003
No of Pages: 249
Price: First World - $16.00 (postage by air mail, add $5.00); Third World - $11.00 (postage by air mail, add $3.00)

This book charts the evolution of the multilateral trading system over the last half-century and explores the future outlook for the intergovernmental body that constitutes its institutional base and which is responsible for governing the conduct of global commerce, the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The author, a leading authority on international trade, identifies the distinct trends that have characterised the historical progression of the system, from the formulation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947 through the WTO’s inception in 1995 to the present day. He examines how the GATT/WTO framework has traditionally been used by the major industrial nations as a vehicle to pursue their narrow economic and political interests, at the expense of Third World countries’ development prospects. This North-South imbalance continues to pervade the multilateral trade regime today, in the form of inherent inequities in the WTO agreements and their implementation, and attempts to insert potentially damaging new issues into the WTO agenda. Further, this book traces the intimate links between these substantive deficiencies and the WTO’s murky decision-making processes, which are dominated by its developed-country members to the detriment of the developing countries.

Looking to the future, the author asserts that such one-sidedness cannot and must not persist if the WTO is to foster a healthy stability in international economic relations. Towards this end, he advances concrete suggestions for radical reform in the basic structure, rules and practices of the trade body, and for complementary actions on the part of other institutional, governmental and non-governmental actors. The analysis and proposals laid out in this book are throughout grounded in a practical perspective aimed at yielding the cooperation and mutual gain among nations that are required to harvest the full benefits of international trade.

Contents

Abbreviations

Preface

CHAPTER I

THE LONG STRIDE: FROM HAVANA TO DOHA

Foundation
Background     

Important Milestones    
Rounds of Negotiations      
Interim Steps        
WTO Ministerial Conferences        

Important Informal Processes   
Introduction           
Consultative Group 18       
Morges Group on Agriculture        
“7 Plus 7” Consultations     

Distinct Trends
Cast in Developed Countries’ Mould         
A Vehicle for Developed Countries’ Interests        
Monument of Hypocrisy    
Primacy of Unilateral Action           
Politicisation of GATT/WTO         

Changing Colours on the Horizon         

CHAPTER II

MAIN FEATURES OF GATT/WTO

Introduction   

Provisions Relating to Goods Trade   
Basic Features       
Restrictions on Imports      
Unfair Trade          
Procedural Matters
Agreements in Specific Sectors      

International Transactions in Services   
Protection of IPRs       
Dispute Settlement Process      
Mismatch Between Objectives and Instruments

CHAPTER 111

IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPLICATIONS

Types of Action     
General     
Laws, Procedures, Institutions    
Elimination of Measures     
Notification

Problems and Implications       
Handicaps in Developing Countries
Adverse Effects in Developing Countries    
Unsatisfactory Implementation by Developed Countries   
Subsidies and Anti-dumping           
Workings of Some Other Important Agreements    

Workings of Enforcement Machinery   
Introduction           
Substantive Additions to Rights and Obligations      
Assumption of Inappropriate Role  
An Abnormal Conclusion   
Writing of Appellate Body Report  
Role of Secretariat 

Implementation Issues in the WTO       

Background           
Importance

CHAPTER IV

NEW ISSUES IN THE WTO

Emergence of New Issues        

Environment    
Reconciliation Between MEAs and WTO  
Process and Production Method (PPM)     
Eco-labelling          
Precautionary Principle    
Environmental Measures and Market Access         
Access to Technology        
Export of Domestically Prohibited Goods   
Liberalisation of Trade in Environmental Goods      
Process of Negotiation       

Investment       
Background           
Implications           
Study Process in the WTO
Doha Ministerial Declaration
Preferred Options

Competition Policy
Desirable Objectives
Background in the WTO
Implications
Elements for Clarification

Government Procurement
Background
Implications
Preferred Course

Trade Facilitation
Electronic Commerce
Background
Implications
Preferred Course

Social Clause, Labour Standards
Basic Unfairness in Initiating New Issues

CHAPTER V

WTO PROCESSES

Introduction
From Proposals to Conclusions
From Proposals to Agreements

Strength, Strategies and Methods of Developed Countries
Strength and Strategy
Methods and Motivation

Functioning of Developing Countries
Complex Task and Adverse Environment
Compulsions to be in the GATT/WTO
Actual Experiences of the Developing Countries
Strategy and Approach of Developing Countries

Conduct of Meetings and Conferences
Formal and Informal Meetings
Singapore Ministerial Conference (December 1996)
Seattle Ministerial Conference (November-December 1996)
Doha Ministerial Conference (November 2001)
Clean-text Strategy
Role of Secretariat

CHAPTER VI

TOWARDS THE FUTURE

Need for a Multilateral Trading System
Relevance of a System       
Relevance of the GATT/WTO System     
Preconditions for Reform   

Role at Multilateral Level    
Principal Role        
Basic Structure      
Improvement in Rules        
Improvement in Implementation     
Decision-Making Process  

Developed Countries’ Role  
Link with Developing Countries’ Development    
Initial Burden         
Institutional Mechanism to Fight Protectionism        
Confidence and Credibility 

Developing Countries’ Role     
General     
Determining National Interest      
Preparation
Building Coalitions 
Participation in Negotiations           
Result of Negotiations: Agreement  
Need for an Intergovernmental Institution   
Strength of Developing Countries   

WTO Secretariat’s Role   
Need for Total Neutrality  
Broad-based Recruitment  
Servicing of Panels/Appellate Body
Role of UNCTAD 
Role of NG0s        
Prospects for the Future     

Endnotes   
Bibliography          
Index         

 


BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER