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Acceding to the Norm: The Accession of LDCs to the WTO

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Least-developed countries (LDCs) have been included in the multilateral trade regime since the days of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), with the majority joining during the 1960s and 1970s following their independence. The Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has focused significant attention on the role and impact of LDCs that are currently WTO members as well as the process of accession for those remaining outside the organization.

This article examines the accession experiences of LDCs joining both the GATT and the WTO with regard to international development norms, and demonstrates that the manner in which the majority of LDCs acceded to the multilateral trade regime has enabled them to have a greater impact on the multilateral trade organization than would otherwise have been possible.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for International Politics, City University, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB, United Kingdom;, Email:


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