About the Book
The World Trade Organisation has been an extremely controversial and divided organisation ever since its establishment in 1995. The big battles are most evident at its highest governing body, the Ministerial Conference, where the Trade Ministers of member states convene to chart the WTO’s course.
This book is a compilation of contemporaneous reports and analyses of what unfolded at each Ministerial, as well as a few “mini-Ministerials”, that took place from the WTO’s inception up to 2017. As these articles reveal, the Ministerials have been the stage on which battles over the future direction of the WTO are most prominently played out. These clashes have mainly pitted developed member states pushing to expand the WTO’s ambit into new subject areas, against many developing countries which call instead for redressing imbalances in the existing set of WTO rules.
This book also shines a light on the murky decision-making methods often employed during Ministerials, where agreements are sought to be hammered out by a select few delegations behind closed doors before being foisted on the rest of the membership. Such exclusionary processes, coupled with the crucial substantive issues at stake, have led to dramatic outcomes in many a Ministerial.
The ringside accounts of Ministerial battles collected here offer important insights into the contested dynamics of the WTO and the multilateral trading system in general.
MARTIN KHOR (1951-2020) was Adviser to the Third World Network. He was formerly Executive Director of the South Centre (2009 to 2018). He was the author of several books on trade, development and the environment, including Globalization and the South. He followed the negotiations in the WTO for many years, including at most of the Ministerial Conferences.
Introduction: The Twists and Turns at the WTO Ministerials
First Ministerial Conference, Singapore, 1996
How the North got its way by Martin Khor
Reform of WTO functioning on the agenda? by Martin Khor
After Singapore, the battle of interpretations begins: Labour standards by Martin Khor
Trade and investment: Fighting over investors’ rights at WTO by Martin Khor
Competing views on “competition policy” in WTO by Martin Khor
Government procurement: The real aim of the majors by Martin Khor
Second Ministerial Conference, Geneva, 1998
South wants Ministerial to focus on implementation by Martin Khor
Broad preparations for new negotiations, and a PR offensive by Martin Khor
Third Ministerial Conference, Seattle, 1999
At Seattle, the WTO faces a serious crossroads by Martin Khor
The revolt of the developing nations by Martin Khor
The situation at the WTO a year after Seattle by Martin Khor
Fourth Ministerial Conference, Doha, 2001
An analysis of the WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, 9-14 November 2001 by Martin Khor
Fifth Ministerial Conference, Cancun, 2003
An account and analysis of the WTO’s Cancun Ministerial Conference by Martin Khor
Mini-Ministerial, Geneva, 2004
Comments on the WTO’s Geneva July-August 2004 decision by Martin Khor
WTO agrees on framework package on Doha talks by Chakravarthi Raghavan
Sixth Ministerial Conference, Hong Kong, 2005
“Recalibrating” the WTO’s Hong Kong Ministerial, and what comes after by Martin Khor
WTO Ministerial outcome imbalanced against developing countries by Martin Khor
How the Hong Kong Ministerial adopted its Declaration by Martin Khor
Mini-Ministerial, Geneva, 2006
As WTO Geneva Ministerial fails, new deadline and challenges loom by Martin Khor
Mini-Ministerial, Potsdam, 2007
New WTO impasse: Why the G4 Potsdam meeting failed by Martin Khor
Mini-Ministerial, Geneva, 2008
Behind the July failure of the WTO talks on Doha by Martin Khor
Seventh Ministerial Conference, Geneva, 2009
WTO’s Seventh Ministerial ends early with uncertainty ahead by Shefali Sharma
Seventh WTO Ministerial Conference almost a non-event by Kanaga Raja
Eighth Ministerial Conference, Geneva, 2011
MC8 another “non-event” Ministerial by Kanaga Raja
Ninth Ministerial Conference, Bali, 2013
WTO makes an imbalanced deal in Bali by Martin Khor
WTO food fight before and at the Bali Ministerial by Martin Khor
After Bali: Moving beyond the Doha Development Agenda? by D. Ravi Kanth
Tenth Ministerial Conference, Nairobi, 2015
Doha SU diminished, not dead, and retrievable by Chakravarthi Raghavan
South suffers a setback at Nairobi by D. Ravi Kanth
Eleventh Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, 2017
MC11 fails and ends in disarray by Chakravarthi Raghavan
US blocks outcomes, collapsing MC11 like house of cards by D. Ravi Kanth
CSOs disappointed over MC11 failure to deliver on PSH, development by Kanaga Raja
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