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Development, Developing Economies and the Doha Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations

Dilip K. Das

CSGR Working Paper 207/06 

May 2006

The Global community’s commitment to the goals of economic growth and poverty alleviation is an old one. Over the last half century, several United Nations (UN) commissions have committed themselves to promotion of growth and development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the newest manifestation of the same worthy and noble objective. Trade expansion has a strong correlation with growth. Although the WTO is not a development institution, its operations have definite development relevance. There are certain facets of its mandate that decisively influence developmental endeavors of countries. The system of ruled-based conduct provided by the WTO reduces uncertainties in the multilateral trade arena, which in turn helps in promoting multilateral trade and domestic investment at lower risk. As the Doha Round is intended to be a development round, development concerns have remained an integral part of the Doha Round. The Group-of-Twenty (G-20) developing economies, which was born in Cancún, played a consequential role in the MTNs. No doubt a successful culmination of the Doha Round can help in poverty alleviation and achieving the first MDG. This article provides a detailed analysis of the growing participation of the developing economies in the evolving multilateral trading system. Their expectation is to integrate with the global economy and in the process accelerate growth. However, so far the task has seemed arduous, progress has been slow and the road appears to be long. That being said, a small sub-group of developing economies has managed to integrate well with the multilateral trade regime as well as the global economy.

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