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The WTO and the Poorest Countries; The Stark Reality

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  • Aaditya Mattoo
  • Arvind Subramanian

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian, 2004. "The WTO and the Poorest Countries; The Stark Reality," IMF Working Papers 04/81, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. John Baffes, 2011. "Cotton Subsidies, the WTO, and the ‘Cotton Problem’," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(9), pages 1534-1556, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Andrew Brown & Robert Stern, 2005. "Concepts of Fairness in the Global Trading System," Working Papers 544, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Developing countries; World Trade Organization; Trade; Doha Round; preferences; single undertaking; WTO; preferential access; market access; trading partners; mfn; nonpreferential access;

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