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The Political Economy of WTO with Special Reference to NAMA Negotiations


  • Mehdi Shafaeddin

    (Institute of Economic Research, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. E-mails:;


This article argues that difficulties in negotiations on Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) are rooted in the economic philosophy behind the design of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, which suffer from double standards and asymmetries, as well as their lack of appropriate implementation by developed countries. The main cause of the bias against developing countries is the conflict of ideology/interests and imbalances in the power relationship between developing and developed countries inherited from the Bretton Woods System (which were in fact at odds with the proposals originally made by Keynes). Highlighting inconsistencies between the objectives/spirit of the agreed text of the Doha Round on NAMA and subsequent proposals made by developed countries, the article suggests that the agreement on these proposals would limit the policy space of developing countries, as many of them would be locked in production and exportation of primary commodities or, at best, resource-based and assembly operations. The article concludes by suggesting a number of potential changes to WTO rules that would render them more conducive to industrialization and development of developing countries.Cet article s’attache à démontrer que les difficultés rencontrées lors des négociations sur l’AMNA trouvent leurs origines dans la philosophie économique particulière à partir de laquelle ont été conçues les règles du GATT/OMC. Celles-ci souffrent d’asymétries de type ‘deux poids deux mesures’, ainsi qu'une mise en œuvre inappropriée dans les pays développés. Les conflits d’intérêts et d’idéologies ainsi que les déséquilibres caractérisant les relations de pouvoir entre les pays en voie de développement et les pays développés sont les causes principales de la discrimination à l’égard des pays en voie de développement; discrimination qui s’est introduite dès l’instauration du Système de Bretton Woods, et ceci en contradiction avec les propositions originales de Keynes. L’article met en évidence les incohérences entre les objectifs et la philosophie des accords du Cycle de Doha concernant l’AMNA et les propositions faites par la suite par les pays développés, démontrant en particulier qu’adopter ces propositions réduirait l’espace politique des pays en voie de développement. Ceci aurait pour conséquence d’enfermer ces pays dans des activités manufacturières à base de ressources naturelles, ou même, au pire, dans la simple production et exportation de matières primaires. L’article conclut en proposant des modifications potentielles aux règles de l’OMC qui les rendraient plus à même promouvoir l'industrialisation et le développement dans les pays en voie de développement.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehdi Shafaeddin, 2010. "The Political Economy of WTO with Special Reference to NAMA Negotiations," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 22(2), pages 175-196, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:2:p:175-196

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Susanna Kinnman & Magnus Lodefalk, 2007. "What is at Stake in the Doha Round?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(8), pages 1305-1325, August.
    2. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
    3. Antoine Bouët & Simon Mevel & David Orden, 2007. "More or Less Ambition in the Doha Round: Winners and Losers from Trade Liberalisation with a Development Perspective," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(8), pages 1253-1280, August.
    4. Shafaeddin, Mehdi, 2006. "Is The Industrial Policy Relevant In The 21st Century?," MPRA Paper 6643, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aliyev, Khatai, 2014. "Expected Macroeconomic Impacts of the Accession to WTO on Azerbaijan Economy: Empirical Analysis," MPRA Paper 55096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Shafaeddin, Mehdi, 2009. "Impact of Selectivity and Neutrality of trade Policy Incentives on Industrialization of Developing Countries; Implications for NAMA Negotiations," MPRA Paper 15037, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L90 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General


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