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WTO Negotiations

In addition to a close monitoring of the ongoing WTO negotiations and to assessments of their evolution at critical times, GEM work addresses the two following broader questions.

Firstly, WTO negotiations last long: nine years for the Uruguay Round (1986-1995) and already four years for the Doha Round. Why such a long and difficult process? This issue seems closely related to coalition building. Because it includes almost all the countries of the world, the WTO offers endless possibilities of coalitions. This is a crucial benefit for the small countries -- The WTO offers them a bargaining power that they cannot enjoy in preferential agreements. However, this benefit comes with a cost: building stable coalitions is not an easy task.

Secondly, WTO negotiations show a roller-coaster pattern of failures and successes. Is it then possible to improve the functioning of the WTO? A recent Report (the “Sutherland” Report) has provided a series of recommendations. GEM work is contributing to this debate by offering some variations on the Sutherland Report recommendations and by beginning more systematic work on the role and impact of non-governmental organizations (ONGs) in the trade context.



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