World hunger, jobs, the overall economic prospects of developing and developed countries alike are all being influenced by the international negotiations about trade, agriculture, services, investment and intellectual property rights going on at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Based on interviews with the participants, this remarkable book lifts the shroud of secrecy surrounding these ostensibly democratic negotiations.
What emerges is a disturbing account entirely at odds with the official picture of a rules-based consensus emerging out of multilateral trade discussions in which all WTO member countries are equal participants. In reality:
Closed doors rather than open access and public information is the preferred mode of negotiation;Decisions are often being made without the full approval of developing countries;The tiny delegations of the poorest and smallest countries have only a limited capacity to calculate in advance the implications of what they are being asked to sign up to;More seriously still, there are instances of illegitimate pressures and inducements being offered by the US and EU delegations - including threats to report non-compliant Third World delegates to their superiors, and hints that aid to countries refusing to kow-tow may be withheld.
The revelations contained in this book are of enormous importance to all those concerned that international institutions should be more transparent and democratic, and that the rules being developed for the world economy should primarily be geared to solving the pressing humanitarian problems of poverty, hunger, jobs and improvements in the standards of living of all those being left behind by the process of globalization.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 404 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 30 mm
Edition: 2nd Revised edition
'This timely book effectively counters the myth that developing countries are well-served by the WTO and usefully exposes the often brutish methods employed by the world's powerful states to impose their agenda on the poorest.'
Mark Curtis, Christian Aid
'Jawara and Kwa have written the essential first chapter in what is sure to be the WTO's fascinating history'
International Affairs, July 2004
'Recounts what happened before, during, and the after the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, exposing how the political and decision-making processes of the WTO really work and what its members really think...drawing on semistructured interviews with thirty-three Geneva-based missions to the WTO and with ten WTO Secretariat staff members..'
Journal of Economic Literature
'Behind the scenes at the WTO is a richly detailed look at how the United States and other developed countries exercise power in the World Trade Organization, from the controversial ministerial meetings at Doha, Qatar, in 2001 to the equally contentious Cancun meetings in 2003. Based on extensive interviews both with delegations from member countries and with staff in Geneva, it tells the raw truth about how the developed countries get their way despite some trappings of debate, negotiation and democracy.'
Review of Radical Political Economics
'A clearly-written view of WTO injustices.'