Global Tariff Negotiations as a Stumbling Bloc to Global Free Trade?

By James Lake (Southern Methodist University) and Santanu Roy (Southern Methodist University)

The principle of non-discrimination lies at the heart of the WTO. GATT Article I mandates that, for a given product, a country cannot set different tariffs on different trading partners.… read more ...

The GATT/WTO’s Special and Differential Treatment of Developing Countries

By Ben Zissimos (University of Exeter Business School)

Special and differential treatment (SDT) is effectively a set of exemptions from MFN extended to developing country members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/World Trade Organization (WTO).… read more ...

Economic Development through Export Promotion

If economic development is essentially about an economy’s transition from agricultural to industrial production, then the attainment of a comparative advantage in industrial products is widely regarded to be the hallmark of successful development.  Against this backdrop, governments aiming to promote development often seek to do so partly through the promotion of industrial exports.  In light of this, a literature has developed in economics recently to understand whether and under what circumstances policy to promote exports has been successful.… read more ...

How Applicable is An Economic Theory of the GATT to Developing Countries?

According to “An Economic Theory of the GATT” by Bagwell and Staiger (1999), the main purpose of a trade agreement is to escape from a terms-of-trade driven prisoner’s dilemma. This is where all countries have a collective incentive to liberalise trade but an individual incentive to adopt protectionist measures such as tariffs.

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The TRIPS Agreement and Industrial Development

The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement is an undertaking by members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to respect each others’ property rights.  At its inception, its main purpose was to protect the intellectual property rights (IPRs) of Northern firms, who have historically tended to be the main innovators, in Southern markets where imitation was prevalent.

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Reforming the World Trading System to Better Integrate Developing Countries

Ever since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994, there has been a growing sense that the GATT, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that has superseded it, favours the interests of developed countries.  In response to this, a line of research has developed to investigate possible reforms to the world trading system (the set of rules that forms the basis of the GATT/WTO) so that it better represents the interests of developing countries as well.… read more ...

Do we know that the WTO increases trade?

The stated mission of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that preceded it is ‘to open trade for the benefit of all’.  Rose (2004) questions whether the GATT/WTO is actually accomplishing its mission by showing that, surprisingly, member countries’ trade patterns are little different from those of non-members.… read more ...