The WTO and the Poorest Countries: The Stark Reality

26 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006

See all articles by Aaditya Mattoo

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Arvind Subramanian

International Monetary Fund (IMF); Center for Global Development

Date Written: May 2004

Abstract

Small and poor countries pose a challenge for the World Trade Organization (WTO). These countries have acquired a significant say in WTO decision-making. However, they have limited ability to engage in the reciprocity game that is at the heart of the WTO, and have limited interests in the broader liberalization agenda because of their preferential access to industrial country markets. Accommodating the interests of the small and poor countries is desirable in itself, but would also facilitate expeditious progress in the Doha Round. The stark reality facing the system is that the desirable ways of addressing their concernsproviding them additional financial assistance and nonpreferential market accessis proving infeasible. As a result, the system is gravitating toward the less desirable option of relieving these countries of obligations, including those that might be welfare-enhancing for them.

Keywords: Developing countries, Doha Round, preferences, single undertaking, WTO

JEL Classification: F1, F4

Suggested Citation

Mattoo, Aaditya and Subramanian, Arvind, The WTO and the Poorest Countries: The Stark Reality (May 2004). IMF Working Paper, Vol. , pp. 1-26, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=878904

Aaditya Mattoo (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/amattoo

Arvind Subramanian

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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