Conflict, Chaos and Confusion
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Conflict, Chaos and Confusion

The Crisis in the International Trading System

William A. Kerr

After 15 years the WTO is not functioning as envisioned and is faced with many new trade challenges − climate change, terrorism, pandemics, genetically modified organisms, food safety − which it is ill-equipped to handle. Conflict, Chaos and Confusion sheds light on this deep and acute crisis, focusing on contentious and complex new trade issues and how they will affect international trade in the future.
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Chapter 7: Special and Differential Treatment: A Mechanism to Promote Development?

William A. Kerr


2. International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the need for all our peoples to benefit from increased opportunities and welfare that the multilateral trading system generates. The majority of WTO members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration … [W]e shall continue to make positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least-developed among them, secure a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of economic development. Doha Ministerial Declaration World Trade Organization, 2001 44. We reaffirm that provisions for special and differential treatment are an integral part of the WTO Agreements. We note the concerns expressed regarding their operation in addressing specific constraints faced by developing countries, particularly least-developed countries … We therefore agree that all special and differential treatment provisions shall be reviewed with a view to strengthening them and making them more precise, effective and operational. Work Programme, Doha Ministerial Declaration World Trade Organization, 2001 As a multilateral organisation that requires consensus among numerous members that have disparate objectives and agendas, it is not surprising that the official pronouncements of the World Trade Organization sometimes exhibit internal inconsistencies.1 In some cases, these inconsistencies have little impact on the efficacy of the underlying agreements, the ability of the Secretariat to undertake its work or the evolution of the organisation through negotiations. In other...

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