The failure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 3rd Ministerial Meeting in Seattle to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations was a setback for the development of a liberal international trade system governed by multilaterally agreed rules. This failure should be a cause of concern to developing countries since they benefit greatly from a rules-based trading system. The lack of agreement in Seattle to review existing rules that are not helpful to development will not cause the problems faced by developing countries to disappear; nor will their reasonable concerns be addressed about the implementation of the Uruguay Round (UR) agreements or their needs for additional assistance. At the same time, WTO negotiations on Agriculture and Services, already mandated under the UR, will go forward, as will a review of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement, scheduled for 200O. Thus, in the months and years ahead, developing countries will need to develop strategies regarding the ongoing negotiations, identify topics that they themselves want to bring to the WTO as well as positions on issues that others propose for multilateral trade negotiations. No single strategy will suit them all. Their varying trading interests require that they develop different strategies and pursue them in the context of coalitions with other WTO members.
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