Trade Liberalization, Competition and the WTO

Trade Liberalization, Competition and the WTO

Edited by Chris Milner and Robert Read

The prospective WTO Millennium Round of negotiations will highlight critical economic issues regarding the application and implementation of the WTO rules to international trade in goods and services. In this book, a distinguished group of academic experts considers the agenda and areas of interest for the next Round in light of Seattle, the functions of the WTO and competition policy issues arising from trade liberalization.

Chapter 1: Introduction: The GATT Uruguay Round, Trade Liberalization and the WTO

Chris Milner and Robert Read

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics


1. Introduction: the GATT Uruguay Round, trade liberalization and the WTO Chris Milner and Robert Read The WTO Meeting in Seattle in November 1999 was intended to mark the start of the new Millennium Round of trade negotiations, the first since the completion of the GATT Uruguay Round and the creation of the WTO at Marrakesh in 1994. The primary purpose of the Seattle Ministerial Meeting was to agree upon the agenda for the new trade round over and above the ‘built-in’ agenda, the agenda for negotiations already agreed in the various Uruguay Round Agreements. The breakdown of the Seattle Meeting was the result of the failure of WTO member countries to agree upon a negotiated agenda for the next round of trade talks within the time available rather than anything to do with the high-profile anti-globalization protests outside. This failure was caused by a number of factors, notably the perception that the leading industrialized countries, particularly the USA and the EU, were setting the negotiation agenda to address their own particular concerns, including competition, foreign direct investment (FDI) and labour standards. Further, many developing-country members were effectively disenfranchised in that they were virtually excluded from the crucial ‘Green Room process’ in negotiating the agenda and were neither canvassed on their views concerning many issues of critical importance to them nor informed about the decisions taken on their behalf. In spite of the failure of the Seattle Meeting, negotiations based upon the built-in agenda began in 2000. The...

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