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Special and Differential Treatment, The Multilateral Trading System and Economic Development in the 21st Century


  • Singh, Ajit


The principle of “non-reciprocity” in international trade negotiations, together with the concept of Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) for developing countries (DCs), were considered by the latter at the time to have been some of their important achievements in the 1950s and 1960s. Non-reciprocity indicated recognition by the international community that playing fields between developed and developing countries are not level. In order to provide some kind of parity advanced countries (ACs) were urged to give access to their markets to DCs without requiring them to open their own markets to AC goods on a reciprocal basis. The evolution of the doctrine of S&DT had its ups and downs during the various rounds of trade negotiations in the post-war period. In the event, in the important 2001 Doha ministerial declaration the concept of S&DT received an unqualified endorsement from the ministers. The main purpose of this paper is to look afresh at the concept of S&DT and revisit its economic rationale in the current context of the world economy. Unlike many advanced country evaluations and studies, which take a generally negative view of S&DT in terms of its benefits either to the DCs or to the multilateral trading system, this chapter presents a rather different view. It acknowledges the failure of some current and previous approaches to S&DT but nevertheless argues that the full support of S&DT by ministers at Doha provides a basis for working toward realising the inherent potential of S&DT for economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Singh, Ajit, 2003. "Special and Differential Treatment, The Multilateral Trading System and Economic Development in the 21st Century," MPRA Paper 24653, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24653

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Income: Evidence and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 3-18, February.
    2. Amsden, Alice H. & Singh, Ajit, 1994. "The optimal degree of competition and dynamic efficiency in Japan and Korea," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 941-951, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Singh, Ajit, 2007. "Globalization and Industrial Revolutions in India and China: Implications for Advanced and Developing Economies and for National and International Policies," MPRA Paper 24286, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Shafaeddin, Mehdi, 2006. "Does trade openness helps or hinders industrialization?," MPRA Paper 4371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Singh, Ajit, 2005. "The Doha development agenda: what special and differential treatment?," MPRA Paper 53438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Alex Izurieta & Ajit Singh, 2008. "Does fast Growth in India and China harm U.S. Workers? Insights from Simulation Evidence," Working Papers wp378, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    5. Shafaeddin, Mehdi, 2006. "Is The Industrial Policy Relevant In The 21st Century?," MPRA Paper 6643, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    S&DT; special and differential treatment; WTO; Doha round;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values


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