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The G20 at the Cancun Ministerial: Developing Countries and Their Evolving Coalitions in the WTO


  • Amrita Narlikar
  • Diana Tussie


In large measure, the voice that developing countries were able to exercise in Cancun was a result of their effective coalition formation. In this paper we present a brief overview of the various coalitions that played an important role at Cancun. The greater part of this paper focuses on one among these various coalitions: the G20 on agriculture. The G20 presents an especially fascinating case of a coalition that combined a great diversity of members and apparently incompatible interests. All theoretical reasoning and historical precedent predicted that the group would collapse in the endgame. And yet the group survived. We investigate the sources of the unity of this group and trace them to a process of learning that allowed the group to acquire certain structural features and develop strategies that helped to cement it further. While our central dependent variable is the cohesion of the G20, we also address the derivative question of the costs and benefits of maintaining such coalitions. The Cancun coalitions give us an excellent case of coalitions that managed to retain their cohesion, but also ended up with a situation of no agreement rather than a fulfilment of even some of their demands. We examine some of the causes behind the impasse in the negotiation process and suggest ways in which future outcomes could be improved. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Amrita Narlikar & Diana Tussie, 2004. "The G20 at the Cancun Ministerial: Developing Countries and Their Evolving Coalitions in the WTO," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(7), pages 947-966, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:7:p:947-966

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    Cited by:

    1. Reisen, Helmut, 2010. "The multilateral donor non-system: towards accountability and efficient role assignment," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-22.
    2. Schor Adriana, 2014. "South–South Cooperation and IBSA: More Trade in Politics," New Global Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-19, July.
    3. Karmakar Suparna, 2009. "Developing Countries in the 21st Century WTO: New Contours of India's Global Engagement," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, January.
    4. Andrew Mold & Sebastian Paulo & Annalisa Prizon, 2009. "Taking Stock of the Credit Crunch: Implications for Development Finance and Global Governance," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 277, OECD Publishing.
    5. Cornelia Woll, 2008. "Strategies of the Emerging Countries in the World Trade Organization," Post-Print hal-00972849, HAL.

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