oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The threat posed by the World Trade Organisation to developing countries

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Towards the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1993, an ominous work by the World Bank indicated that sixty-four per cent of the benefits of the round would accrue to developed countries, against only thirty-six per cent to developing nations. In fact, during the last two years of the negotiations, developing countries practically ceased demanding concessions from their developed trade partners and proceeded with a frenzy of unilateral liberalisation in the name of globalisation. Developed countries, with justified glee, reaped the profits. They had secured major tariff reductions from the developing countries, as well as the liberalisation of the services' sectors, which was a major strategic objective, together with the inclusion of new treaties regulating matters such as investments and intellectual property. The author explains how, during the six years of operation, the dispute resolution system of the WTO has become a travesty of justice and an effective means of subjugation of developing countries, against whom the system has proved to be directed.

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