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The north-south cleavage in the World Trade Organization: an analysis of selected issues


The project of world trade liberalization undertaken by the WTO is subject
to heavy criticism from many different international actors. This paper
suggests a way to analyze a problem of many widely differing subjects
opposing a complex, ambitious and far-reaching project. First the conflict
over the trade liberalization project is introduced, the most relevant
subjects of international politics identified and selected subjects' most
relevant interests and goals are discussed. The analysis then focuses on the
common belief that the main divide over the trade liberalization project lies
between WTO officials, developed countries, their pressure groups and
multinational corporations on one side, and nongovernmental
organizations and developing countries' representatives on the other. This
hypothesis is tested according to definitions of stakeholders' interests, and
a subsequent prediction of likely coalitions on each key issue. Finally, an
alternative division is suggested.


Liberalization of world trade, cleavages, World Trade Organization, lines of dispute, developed countries

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