The High Stakes of WTO Reform
Behind the Scenes at the WTO: The Real World of Trade Negotiations/The Lessons of Cancun. By Fatoumata Jawara and Aileen Kwa. London: Zed Books. Updated Edition, 2004. Pp. vi, 329. Cloth, $58.95; paper, $19.95.
Behind the Scenes at the WTO definitively exposes how the trade-negotiation process makes it possible for a few rich countries to dominate the trade agenda at the expense of all other countries. It is one of the first studies that authoritatively shows how trade negotiations have developed into “a game for high stakes, between unequally matched teams, where much of the game is played with few rules and no referee.” The book attributes the deadlocked nature of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and the recent disruptions of the World Trade Organization’s (“WTO”) ministerial meetings to the secretive and noninclusive nature of negotiations and decisionmaking at the WTO. Authors Jawara and Kwa base their conclusions on semistructured interviews with a broad cross-section of trade officials from all over the world who represent their governments in thirty-three missions at the WTO, on interviews with staffers of the WTO Secretariat, and on their own research.