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The WTO and the poorest countries: the stark reality

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  • MATTOO, AADITYA
  • SUBRAMANIAN, ARVIND

Abstract

Small and poor countries pose a challenge for the World Trade Organization (WTO). These countries have acquired a significant say in WTO decision-making. However, they have limited ability to engage in the reciprocity game that is at the heart of the WTO, and have limited interests in the broader liberalization agenda because of their preferential access to industrial country markets. Accommodating the interests of the small and poor countries is desirable in itself, but would also facilitate expeditious progress in the Doha Round. The stark reality facing the system is that the desirable ways of addressing their concerns- providing them additional financial assistance and nonpreferential market access-is proving infeasible. As a result, the system is gravitating toward the less desirable option of relieving these countries of obligations, including those that might be welfare-enhancing for them.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mattoo, Aaditya & Subramanian, Arvind, 2004. "The WTO and the poorest countries: the stark reality," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 385-407, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:3:y:2004:i:03:p:385-407_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William R. Cline, 2004. "Trade Policy and Global Poverty," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 379.
    2. Bernard Hoekman & Francis Ng & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2002. "Eliminating Excessive Tariffs on Exports of Least Developed Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(1), pages 1-21, June.
    3. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
    4. Aaditya Mattoo & Devesh Roy & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and its Rules of Origin: Generosity Undermined?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(6), pages 829-851, June.
    5. Marcelo Olarreaga & Çaglar Özden, 2005. "AGOA and Apparel: Who Captures the Tariff Rent in the Presence of Preferential Market Access?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 63-77, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Limão & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2006. "Trade Preferences to Small Developing Countries and the Welfare Costs of Lost Multilateral Liberalization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 217-240.
    2. John Baffes, 2011. "Cotton Subsidies, the WTO, and the ‘Cotton Problem’," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(9), pages 1534-1556, September.
    3. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian, 2009. "Currency Undervaluation and Sovereign Wealth Funds: A New Role for the World Trade Organization," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(8), pages 1135-1164, August.
    4. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
    5. Claudio Paiva, 2008. "Assessing protectionism and subsidies in agriculture-a gravity approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 628-640.
    6. Das, Dilip K., 2005. "The Doha Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and the Developing Economies," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 6(2).
    7. Andrew Brown & Robert Stern, 2005. "Concepts of Fairness in the Global Trading System," Working Papers 544, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    8. Bamou, Ernest & Tchanou, Jean Pierre, 2006. "Impact assessment of the multilateral agricultural trade negotiations on CEMAC countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 333-349, April.

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