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Failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference at Cancun: Reasons and Remedies

  • Robert E. Baldwin

This paper first discusses four general developments in the world trading system that have made it increasingly difficult in recent years for nations to reach multilateral agreements aimed at further liberalising international trade, namely: (1) the increased technical complexity and disruptive domestic economic effects of the issues being negotiated; (2) the shift in relative bargaining power among the negotiating participants in favour of the developing countries; (3) the proliferation of bilateral and regional free trade agreements in contrast to multilateral agreements, and (4) the increased emphasis on achieving 'fairness' rather than reciprocity in trade liberalisation. Differences in negotiating positions of the participants on the major specific negotiating subjects of the Doha Round, such as new rules covering investment, competition policy, government procurement policy, and trade facilitation, agricultural liberalisation, changes in anti-dumping and countervailing duty rules, the tariff-cutting rule to increase access to non-agricultural markets, and further liberalisation in the services sector, are then considered as well as the likelihood of reaching compromises on these matters. Finally, the possibilities of reaching acceptable balances of concessions and gains are considered for such key participants as the Group of 20 developing countries, the European Union, the United States and other industrial countries. Copyright 2006 The Author Journal compilation 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d04-53.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d04-53
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