Special and Differential Treatment of Developing Countries in the WTO: Moving Forward after Cancun
26 Pages Posted: 26 May 2004
The issue of special and differential treatment (SDT) for developing countries in the WTO has become a source of tension in North-South trade relations. The absence of an effective SDT regime clearly contributed to the failure of the Cancun Ministerial meeting of the WTO. This paper argues for a new approach that puts the emphasis on efforts to improve the development relevance of WTO rules and create mechanisms which allow greater differentiation across WTO members in determining the applicability of WTO disciplines; complemented by non-discriminatory liberalisation of trade in goods and services in which developing countries have an export interest. The former is key in allowing the WTO to expand its reach to new 'behind the border' policies; and the latter is important to establishing a development dimension in multilateral trade negotiations.
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