Working Paper
Developing Countries and the Political Economy of the Trading System

This paper analyses a number of the challenges confronting developing countries seeking to use the WTO Doha negotiations to promote their economic growth and performance. A precondition for success is to have clear objectives and to take a pro-active stance. But a key necessary condition for success will be to recognize the political economy of reform – both at home and in partner countries. Little progress will be made on key issues unless there are major stakeholders within countries that perceive the overall package to be beneficial. A number of possible focal points that could be used both as targets and as benchmarks for reciprocal negotiations are discussed, as is the need for mechanisms to increase the domestic ‘ownership’ of WTO agreements.