Trade and Development Series No. 14

The Proposed New Issues in the WTO and the Interests of Developing Countries
by Martin Khor

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: 28
Size: 16.5 X 24 cm
ISBN: 983-9747-57-6
Year Published: 2001

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About the book:

Proposals have been strongly put forward by developed countries for injecting new issues into the ambit of the World Trade Organization (WTO). They advocate new WTO agreements on investment, competition and government procurement, as well as discussions on labour and environment standards. However, the introduction of these subjects in the WTO will divert attention from the need to review existing agreements that are giving rise to serious problems. Behind the developed-country proposals also lies an agenda to pry open Third World markets.

A procedure should thus be established under which a proposed new issue is assessed on whether its admission would benefit the developing countries and advance the goal of equitable and sustainable development. Otherwise, the multilateral trading system could be grappling with a host of new issues which complicate the workings of the WTO and bring with them potentially dire consequences for development.



1. The pressure for and danger of new issues

2. The proposed new issues and dangers for the South

3. The implications for developing countries of the new issues
Government Procurement
Industrial tariffs

4. Other issues at the door : Environment and Labour
Social and environmental issues seeking an entrance
Trade and environment
Trade and labour standards

5. Conclusion

About the author:

Martin Khor is the director of Third World Network, a network of several NGOs in different parts of the developing world. An economist trained in Cambridge University who has lectured in economics in the Science University of Malaysia, he is the author of several books and articles on trade, development and environmental issues. He is a board member of the South Centre and of the International Forum on Globalisation. He was also formerly Vice Chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission Expert Group on the Right to Development and a consultant in several research studies under the United Nations.