chapter  1
34 Pages

Growing power meets frustration in the Doha round’s first four years

ByJOHN S. ODELL

Developing country governments obviously face a highly skewed power structure in multilateral trade negotiations, but they greatly increased their preparation, organization, and active participation after the Uruguay round (UR) and creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. More governments reinforced or established missions in Geneva. In 1999, during preparations for the WTO’s ministerial conference in Seattle, developing countries voiced concerns and injected dozens of formal proposals into the negotiation process. This participation explosion drew in many small trading countries that had been passive or not signatories at all prior to 1994. The European Union was attempting to convince others to launch another major round of liberalizing negotiations. Seattle was a debacle, however, and some developing country ministers publicly denounced the United States and the WTO for the way they had been treated.