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Accession to the World Trade Organisation: Challenges and Prospects for the Least-developed Countries (LDCs)


  • Delelegn, Mussie


A significant number of countries - many of which are least-developed countries (LDCs) - are not members of the multilateral trading system (MTS) as yet, and for many the accession process has taken an undesirably long period of time to complete. This lack of participation has important implications for national and global policy making in the field of international trade. However, there is a growing tendency to disregard accession challenges and difficulties facing the weakest members of the international community - the LDCs. The main purposes of this article are to a) discuss the substantive, normative and institutional complexities and requirements surrounding the WTO accession process from the perspective of LDCs, b) assess the possible costs and benefits of joining or not joining the WTO and c) reflect on the challenges facing poor countries in initiating, managing and negotiating their terms of accession in a manner that protects and promotes their developmental and trade interests. The objective of accession should be viewed from the perspective of the long-term trade and development interests of acceding countries. Hence, every effort should be made not only to ensure the "universality" of the MTS but also to enhance informed and effective participation of acceding LDCs so they will be able to pursue their trade and development agendas in an increasingly complex and overly entrenched multilateral trading system.

Suggested Citation

  • Delelegn, Mussie, 2005. "Accession to the World Trade Organisation: Challenges and Prospects for the Least-developed Countries (LDCs)," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 6(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:23890

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, January.
    2. Martin, W. & Winters, L.A., 1995. "The Uruguay Round and the Developing Countries," World Bank - Discussion Papers 307, World Bank.
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