This Centad publication explains everything you ever wanted to know about the WTO negotiations and its impact on development.

As its name suggests, ‘Demystifying WTO and Development: Frequently Asked Questions’ is a handy guide to some of the more complicated issues in World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations that are critical to developing countries, namely agriculture, Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) and development, and services. It has a reader-friendly question-answer format and each chapter has a useful glossary attached (click here to download the full guide).

The first chapter, ‘WTO and Developing Countries’, gives a broad overview of the WTO, with particular reference to the role of trade as a facilitator of development. It explains:

  • The origins and structure of the WTO.
  • The basic principles that underlie negotiations.
  • The agreements that come under its purview.
  • The role that non-governmental organisations, businesses and civil society can play.

The chapter ‘Agriculture and Development’ concentrates on the issues surrounding the impact of trade on development in developing countries with large agricultural populations. It clarifies how liberalising trade in agriculture can help developing countries, and how trade distortions can hinder development. It clarifies the issue of subsidies, how they are classified and how they are used. It answers the question of whether agriculture should be removed from WTO negotiations. It explains the provisions of the Doha Round and the July framework and other milestones in the agriculture negotiations.

‘Non Agricultural Market Access and Development’ explains why NAMA negotiations are related to development and how they will work for developing and least developed nations. It gives examples of the positive developments in textiles, clothing, footwear and electronics for developing countries. It looks at the record of liberalisation in NAMA negotiations so far and how it should be carried forward. The glossary explains in simple language the complicated tariff reduction formulae that are on the table at NAMA negotiations.

‘Services and Development’ simplifies Trade in Services negotiations. It explains the various modes of delivery and assesses the benefits that can accrue to developing countries from liberalising, and also the pitfalls in ongoing negotiations. It explains the basic obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the different ‘approaches’ such as benchmarking and request-offer. It also identifies the sectors and modes of supply that are important for developing countries and for India in particular.

This publication is for use by the UNCTAD India Programme under the UNCTAD-Ministry of Commerce, Government of India-DFID Project on ‘Strategies and Preparedness for Trade and Globalisation in India’.