Copyright © 2002 International Development Options
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Volume Two Winter 2000-Spring 2001 Numbers 3-4.
MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE ROLE OF THE WTO?
American University and International Development Options
Published Online February 15, 2017
The Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Doha, Qatar raised several important institutional, conceptual, and policy issues. The primary objective of this article is to examine these issues in light of what has been described as the “Doha Development Agenda.” The principal institutional issue addressed is the appropriate role of the WTO in the discussion and formulation of broader multilateral development policy issues. Despite the current focus on the relationship between trade and development, the study argues that there is still the absence of an appropriate analytical and policy framework which reflects the divergent interests and performance of the “developing countries.” Such a framework should recognize the different stages of economic development and the challenges within each stage. There is still an important ambiguity relative to the use of the term “developing countries.” The term has lost its conceptual, analytical, and policy relevance, and its use should now be abandoned. The central inherent weakness of the “Doha Development Agenda” is its failure to address the development consequences of the current scientific revolution. In this context, the study examines four critical gaps which continue to impede economic development and transition. For most developing countries, the burden of tropical diseases continues to impede productivity, economic growth, and transition. The benefits to be gained by eliminating these non-trade social and economic impediments will far outweigh the benefits to be derived from increased trade and market access.