From Doha to Cancún : an analysis of the multilateral trading system

This paper is about the WTO and the multilateral trading system crisis. It puts forward the main characteristics of the WTO trade regime, which shows that the collective and structural preferences of the member States are the main issues of multilateral trade negotiations. The Development Agenda consolidates this reality. This paper refutes the thesis that attributes the failure of the WTO to the number of States. It formulates the proposition that a change in the nature of multilateralism is the main factor explaining the double crisis of the WTO and the multilateral trading system. The notion of competitive multilateralism is developed to explain the logic of trade negotiations and their current standstill. – Summary AFRI 2005