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Rethinking special and differential treatment in the WTO

Listed author(s):
  • Yanai, Akiko
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    Special and differential treatment (S&D) allows differentiated treatment for developing countries within the WTO system by justifying a deviation from the most-favoured-nation obligation. Since it was incorporated into the GATT (the predecessor of the WTO) in the 1960s, S&D has played a significant role in promoting the integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system. However, S&D is undergoing complicated and entangled discussion at the current multilateral trade negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda. There are a number of reasons to make opposing arguments in developed and developing countries, among which this paper focuses on two elements: diversification of developing countries and instability of preferential schemes. In order to overcome these problems and in order to make S&D more effective and operational, this paper considers the following alternative approaches: differentiation among developing countries applying the common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) principle by analogy and codification of a preferential scheme as a multilateral agreement in the manner of North-South RTAs with flexibility.

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    Paper provided by Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO) in its series IDE Discussion Papers with number 435.

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    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2013
    Publication status: Published in IDE Discussion Paper = IDE Discussion Paper, No. 435. 2013-12-01
    Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper435
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    1. Keck, Alexander & Low, Patrick, 2004. "Special and differential treatment in the WTO: Why, when and how?," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2004-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
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