Differentiation between developing countries in the WTO

Differentiation between developing countries in the WTO

The reality of developing country differentiation within the WTO

This paper analyses ways to differentiate between developing countries in the WTO, with special relevance to discussions on special and differential treatment and the ongoing multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture in the Doha Development Round.

The author argues that differentiation between the developing countries within the WTO is almost the rule, rather than the exception and emphasises that there is an apparent contradiction between the principle of non-discrimination and equal treatment in the WTO, and the arbitrary differentiation between countries in different bilateral and regional trade arrangements. These contradictions are seen as becoming more apparent with the expansion of the multilateral trade system, the accession of more developing countries to the WTO, as well as the greater interest in different development-related issues.

The paper notes that if new differentiation between developing countries in the WTO leads to a new agreement on agriculture, it is possible that such an initiative would also generate positive results in other areas of the WTO negotiations. The process could benefit a large number of developing countries with export interests in other areas than agriculture.

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