What the Developing Countries Want from the WTO

There is a very strong consensus among economists that developing countries have the most to gain from movements towards freer trade under the WTO. But the Seattle WTO meeting was suspended in part because of vocal NGOs who charged that free trade and globalization were not in poor countries’ interests. This paper makes three points. First, developing countries do have much to gain from general trade liberalization. Trade expansion is positively linked to growth. Second, agricultural trade liberalization offers even greater gains than liberalization in other sectors because of the heavy dominance of agriculture in poor countries’ economies. Third, not all developing countries are poor, food-deficit, importing countries. They are a heterogeneous group and many are agricultural exporters. An open-economy development strategy has historically paid off for developing countries and is still the best bet for the future. Therefore, a WTO agreement which provides a fair, open, transparent, and rules-based international trading environment is absolutely critical to reducing poverty in these countries. They need access to markets and protection from predatory practices by large rich countries. The WTO is the best game in town.

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Journal Article
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Estey Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Volume 02, Number 1
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-21

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