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Developed Countries' Trade Policies: Disguised Unilateralism

| Social Science Research Council | July 1, 2005

A look at the recent WTO reports on the periodical Trade Policy
Reviews of the United States will show that the concern about a
resort to unilateralism has become a recurring feature of WTO discussions.
The relatively recent but growing resort by the U.S. to bilateral
and regional trade arrangements has caused widely shared concern
in the WTO. Developing countries have repeatedly expressed
their concern about the U.S.Trade Policy’s departures from multilateralism.

It has also been a refrain of the EU and some other developed
countries.2 Not that the EU itself is free of blame in this regard.The
EU’s bilateralism and regionalism is not new.The EU’s recent initiatives
in the same direction have also attracted similar attention in the
WTO.Despite these voiced concerns, there appears to be a general
scramble, as it were, to initiate or get on board the preferential trade
arrangements. These trends have received attention in academia, and
the political, legal and economic implications have been analyzed
within theoretical frameworks.

By S.P Shukla

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