Trade and Development Series No. 11

The Implications of the New Issues in the WTO
by Bhagirath Lal Das

The TWN Trade and Development Series is a series of papers published by Third World Network on trade and development issues that are of public concern, particularly in the South. The series is aimed at generating discussion and contributing to the advancement of appropriate development policies oriented towards fulfilling human needs, social equity and environmental sustainability.

No. of pages: 16
Size: 16.5 X 24 cm
ISBN: 983-9747-52-5
Year Published: 2001

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Other foreign countries US$6.00
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About the book:

New issues have frequently entered the ambit of the multilateral trading system over the last two decades, invariably at the instance of major developed countries. Before possible commitments and obligations on these issues are set in the World Trade Organization (WTO), developing countries, this paper advises, have to examine the motives of developed-country proponents in introducing these subjects, and clarify their own ideas and objectives thereon.

This paper looks into four important new issues currently under consideration in the WTO: investment, competition, government procurement and electronic commerce. It cautions developing countries to be on guard against possible moves to negotiate rules in these areas that would constrain their domestic policy options and discretion to guide the process of national development. Third World countries should, suggests the author, promote matters of interest to them in discussions on these new issues, ensuring that their development concerns and objectives are adequately addressed.


1. Introduction
Long-term implications

2. Investment

3. Competition policy
Conflicting interests
Points for attention

4. Government procurement
No particular advantage

5. Electronic commerce
Missing the point

About the author:

Bhagirath Lal Das served in the Indian Administrative Service, from where he retired as a Secretary to the Government of India. He has had a long association with international trade issues, participating directly in a large number of bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. He was India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to GATT and Deputy Permanent Representative to UNCTAD in Geneva. During that period he also functioned as Chairman of the GATT Council and of the GATT Contracting Parties. Later he spent five years with UNCTAD as its Director of International Trade Programmes. In that capacity, along with his other responsibilities, he organised and coordinated UNCTAD's technical assistance programme for developing countries to facilitate their participation in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations which culminated in the setting up of the World Trade Organisation. His earlier books include An Introduction to the WTO Agreements, The WTO Agreements: Deficiencies, Imbalances and Required Changes and The World Trade Organisation: A Guide to the Framework for International Trade. He is currently consultant and advisor to several intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.