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Between Theories of Trade and Development: The Future of the World Trading System

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This article traces the role of developing countries in the GATT/WTO trading regime, and the evolving legal framework for their participation. It then maps onto this framework evolving schools of thought amongst development economists on strategies for economic development. It goes on to argue that the paralysis in the current Doha Round of the WTO, primarily reflecting fault-lines between developed and developing countries, and paralleled by the dramatic proliferation of preferential trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, requires fundamental rethinking of the orientation of the multilateral (WTO) trading system, in particular the need to be more accommodating of plurilateral agreements amongst sub-sets of members that are open to subsequent accession by other members, primarily on a conditional most-favored-nation basis.

Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada,


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