The West has consistently told developing countries that the path to prosperity lies in opening up their economies to world trade. Yet the number of the poor continues to grow; almost all developing countries fall further and further behind industrial living standards; and inequality is soaring. How can the rules of the world trade be changed to foster development rather than, as at present, benefiting the already wealthy countries? Martin Khor explains how the world trade system came to be the way it is, and the disadvantages it poses for developing countries. He puts forward proposals for improving every aspect of the WTO agreements which enshrine its rules. He demands that the West lives up to its trade commitments. And he outlines the principles that ought to inform a world trade system that genuinely fosters human development throughout the world.
1. Trade, the Trading System and Development Introduction Trade, Liberalisation and Human Development Requirements and Objectives of the Trade System
2. History and Evolution of the Trading System Free Trade Theories and Myths The US-UK Agreements, the Havana Conference and the Origins of GATT The Harberler Report and After: Reluctance to Enable Developing Countries to draw GATT Rounds and the Claims of Fostering Growth The Tokyo Round The Uruguay Round
3. The Current Trading System: Instruments, Opportunities and Problems Coverage and Main Instruments of the WTO/GATT System Positive Elements Expectations from the System Objectives and Techniques of the System Significant Problems in the Agreements and their Operation Intellectual property rights, Dispute settlement process
4. The Impact of the WTO on Developing Countries General Lack of Benefits for Developing Countries Agriculture, Industrial tariffs, Problems for Developing Countries in Implementing their WTO Obligations The Agreement on Agriculture The TRIMS Agreement The General Agreement on Trade in Services Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development Proposals for Expansion of the WTO into New Areas Transparency and Participation in the WTO
5. Proposals for Improving the Global Trading System General Proposals for Improving the Basic Structure Proposals Relating to Specific Issues Proposal Relating to Implementation Problems Faced by Developing Countries in Specific Sectors Proposals to Improved the Dispute Settlement System Proposals on the Treatment of Trade and Environment Issues Proposals regarding New Issues and a New Round Proposals regarding Transparency and Participation in the WTO Proposals regarding Issues Currently Not Covered by the WTO The Appropriate Treatment of the Liberalisation Process and Policy Regional Trade Arrangements among Developing Countries
6. Towards a Trading System for Human Development Rethinking the Nature of Liberalisation and Development Reorienting the WTO towards Development as the Main Priority Rethinking the Scope of the WTO's Mandate The Role of Other Organizations Governance of the Trading System
Postscript: The Doha Ministerial Conference and After
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Martin Khor is the director of Third World Network in Malaysia. He is strong advocate for citizens' groups in the South on sustainable development, biosafety and the environment, and the impact of globalization on development. He trained as an economist at the University of Cambridge and is a board member of the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP), the South Centre in Geneva, and the International Forum on Globalization. His previous publications include Rethinking Globalization (Zed Books 2001, Global Issues Series).