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A New Round of WTO Trade Negotiations: A Tool for Poverty Reduction?

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A New Round of WTO Trade Negotiations: A Tool for Poverty Reduction?

Published: November 5, 2001

In November 2001, the Trade Ministers of all country members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will meet in Doha, Qatar for its Fourth ministerial meeting. Wide differences remain among members on whether a new round of multilateral trade negotiations should be launched at the meeting and what should the agenda of a new round be. The Canadian government officially supports a new round with a broad agenda, as it believes the gains from trade liberalisation resulting from such negotiations would benefit Canadians and citizens of other nations alike. However, several groups and citizens challenge this view.

This paper reviews the arguments from the supporters and the detractors of a new round of trade negotiations from a development perspective. What are the risks and benefits developing countries face with and without the launch of a new round? Would it contribute to poverty reduction in the poorest countries? In our conclusion, we evaluate if the case for a new round has been made and what should be on the trade agenda.

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