Developing countries'participation in the World Trade Organization
In the 1960s and 1970s developing countries viewed UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade&Development) rather than the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs&Trade) as the main institution through which to promote their interests in international trade. But beginning with the Uruguay Round in the mid-1980s, their attitude changed, many more of them became members of the GATT, and a significant number played an active role in negotiations. The author analyzes developing countries'representation and participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) as of mid-1997 to determine how developing countries can effectively promote their interests and discharge their responsibilities under the rules and agreements of the new organization. He concludes that although many developing countries are actively participating in the new process, more than half of the developing countries that are members of the WTO participate little more than they did in the early 1980s and have not increased their staffing, despite the vastly greater complexity of issues and obligations. Institutional weaknesses at home are the main constraints to effective participation and representation of their interests at the WTO. To make their participation more effective, he recommends that the developing countries establish adequately staffed WTO missions based in Geneva; failing that, pooling their resources and representation in Geneva; and being sure to pay their dues, which are typically small. He also recommends that the international community place higher priority on programs of assistance in support of institutional development of poorer countries aimed at enhancing their capacity to participate in the international trading system and the WTO -- and that the WTO review its internal rules and procedures to ensure that inadvertently they do not make developing countries participation more difficult.
Economic Theory&Research,Decentralization,Economic Conditions and Volatility,Country Strategy&Performance,Labor&Employment Law,Trade and Services,Poverty Assessment,Economic Theory&Research,World Trade Organization,Country Strategy&Performance
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